Armed and dangerous

PackerReport.com's Todd Korth has watched quarterback Aaron Rodgers practice with the Packers since he was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft by Green Bay. Korth insists, after watching Rodgers put on an aerial display at a recent OTA practice, that there is nothing 'weak' about Rodgers' ability to throw the deep pass and connect with his receivers.

Maybe once and for all, Aaron Rodgers will be able to silence his critics who insist that he doesn't have a strong throwing arm. Rodgers has returned to participate in team scrimmages during Green Bay's Organized Team Activities practices and, thus far, there is no reason to believe that Rodgers has a weak throwing arm.

It is possible that Packers fans have been spoiled by Brett Favre, who has long had one of the strongest throwing arms of any quarterback in the National Football League, and still does. But if the deep passes that Rodgers has thrown during OTA practices are any indication, it is clear that he is perfecting that part of his game this off-season.

"I think if you asked the guys in the locker room, I've got a lot of supporters on my deep ball," said Rodgers. "I don't want to speak for them, but I've really worked hard since college. Coming out (of California), I thought I had a pretty good deep ball, but that's one of the things they knocked me on. I want to make sure I prove to people that I can throw a deep ball. I've been working on it, but I've been working on a lot of things, arm strength especially, and I feel like I've made some good strides."

Rodgers went on explain that there is more to throwing a deep pass than stepping back and heaving it as far as possible downfield. That is where his participation in the team's off-season workout program, which began March 19, and all of the team's minicamps and voluntary practices will eventually pay off for him and his receivers.

"It's really just working with the receivers and trying to figure out their speed and their body language, and being able to put it up to give them a chance to catch it," said Rodgers.

"I like throwing the ball deep. I'm not going to lie."

It has helped that Rodgers has experienced no ill effects from a foot injury that sidelined him last season. He resumed on-field work a month ago, and last week began participating in 11-on-11 drills. He also is leading the first-team offense for three of the 12 scheduled voluntary OTA practices that Favre will not attend.

"I don't feel like I'm 100 percent yet mentally, as far as mentally is the key," Rodgers said about his foot. "Do I feel confident that I can take off whenever I want? I'm really close. I don't really ever think about it, but I'm just not quite all the way there."

Fortunately for Rodgers there is more than three months before the first regular season game. While he will be playing a familiar role in backing up Favre, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he can throw the ball deep, and with accuracy. When he's able to do that in game situations, rather than practices, his critics should finally be impressed enough to quit knocking Rodgers' arm strength.


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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