Rodgers accepting of role

Patient backup quarterback ready to lead Packers when the time comes

In a perfect world for Aaron Rodgers, he would have sat a season behind Brett Favre, then taken over in his second season and Mike McCarthy's first as head coach of the Packers. The Packers would be coming off an 8-8 record behind Rodgers and primed to take that next step.

The Packers are ready and willing to take that next step, but it obviously will be behind Favre, who is returning for his 17th NFL season.

Meanwhile, Rodgers continues to prepare himself mentally and physically to be the starting quarterback of the Packers, but that may be a year or two away, depending on how long Favre wants to extend his football career.

If Rodgers is frustrated by the situation, he has yet to show it publicly.

"The way I look at it is I'm two years out of being a first-round draft pick and I'm behind a first-ballot Hall of Famer," said Rodgers after a recent minicamp practice. "Hopefully, they'll give me a shot once he moves on, be it next year, or the year after. After that, my five years (contract) will be up, so then we'll have to make a decision."

Rodgers was limited in Green Bay's recent mandatory minicamp. He threw the ball in 7-on-7 drills but didn't participate in team drills. He has recovered from a broken left foot that he sustained last November, though, the team's medical staff is being extra cautious, so they held him out of team drills.

Rodgers has been in Green Bay since the team's off-season workout program began on March 19. He attended coach Mike McCarthy's quarterbacks school for the second straight off-season, furthering his knowledge of the offensive scheme. He said that he also has worked on strengthening the small muscles in his throwing shoulder as well as the rest of his body.

There were plenty of rumors floating around this off-season of Rodgers getting traded to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for Randy Moss. Many also felt that the Packers might select former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in the NFL draft, then deal away Rodgers. Of course, neither scenario occurred, and with good reason. Rodgers has yet to get an opportunity to start for the Packers. Though he only has three more seasons, including 2007, remaining on his rookie contract, expect Green Bay to retain Rodgers until he finally gets a chance to lead the offense on a regular basis.

"Everything I've heard from Mike (McCarthy) and Ted (Thompson) is that they fully endorse me and support me, and they feel like I'm making good improvements," Rodgers said. "I feel like I've improved a lot on the field. They took me a couple of years ago with success in mind, and hopefully I'll have success on the field."

Rodgers should get a chance to start for the Packers, whenever that day comes. He is quietly putting in his time studying and working out without any whining, at least publicly. He knows the offense, perhaps better than Favre because of the time he has spent in Green Bay the last two off-seasons studying film, and will provide the team with a new energy once Favre walks away.

"I think Aaron looks great," said McCarthy. "We do the body scans every six weeks, he's had a lot of progress he's made in the off-season program and in the conditioning. I think his arm looks stronger than ever. I think he looks very good."

At this pace, Rodgers may be one of the first players in NFL history to receive a contract extension without ever having started a game. The Packers have that much confidence in him.

If iron man Favre is forced to miss any games this season due to an injury, the Packers are in good hands with Rodgers, who appears to be as ready as ever to play on a regular basis.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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