Rodgers ready to pick up where Favre left off

The timing of Brett Favre's retirement announcement could not have come at a better time for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, says PackerReport.com's Todd Korth

Aaron Rodgers must have spit up his Cheerios when he heard the news of Brett Favre's retirement from football Tuesday morning. The backup, like many in the football world, was surprised over Favre's decision, even a little concerned when coach Mike McCarthy called with the news.

"I think he was a little surprised, but we really didn't talk much about Brett's decision," McCarthy said today. "(Rodgers') comment to me was how is Brett doing? He asked me is he OK, and things like that. We talked briefly."

The two will be speaking to each other much more from here on out. Rodgers' three-year apprenticeship under Favre is over, and now the heir apparent is the main man.

With Rodgers' promotion comes a new wave of doubt. Oddsmakers already have raised the odds of the Packers winning the Super Bowl next season due to Favre's retirement. It doesn't mean that the Packers don't have a chance. How many people were picking the New York Giants to win it all in 2007 behind Eli Manning at this time last year?

The jury is out on Rodgers, and will be probably till this time next year. But Rodgers has given the Packers snapshots of his ability in the limited playing time that he has received thus far in Green Bay. But he is prone to injury as well. Rodgers broke a bone in his foot in his only extended playing time during the 2006 season against New England. Last year, he injured his hamstring in practice after he played well against the Dallas Cowboys Nov. 29 and missed the final four games of the season.

What we do know is that Rodgers has a very good command of the offense and has gotten stronger mentally and physically in the last three years. He has participated in McCarthy's quarterbacks school the last two springs, as well as the team's off-season conditioning program. He rarely misses any offseason practices, and he's a regular in the locker room. He seems to get along well with everyone. His presence in Green Bay in past offseasons, and this spring and summer will be a big benefit toward proving the doubters wrong.

The timing of Favre's announcement couldn't have been any better for Rodgers. He has more than six months to prepare for the season opener. Credit Favre for making the decision now instead of in April. He has always said that when he decides to retire he won't leave the Packers hanging, and he was true to his word.

Though Rodgers is entering his fourth season, he is still only 24 years old. So he has his youth and the experience that he has accumulated going for him all at once. It should add up to an ability to help the Packers win games in 2008. How many games? That's the big question, but there is no reason to think that Rodgers cannot be just as effective as Favre.

The Packers surely will miss Favre's experience, but in return they get a quarterback with a more spring in his step and confident in his ability to lead the team.

It's tough to follow a legend. Packers fans have been spoiled by Favre for the past 16 seasons. Rodgers can never be compared to Favre, but he will be given every chance to lead the Packers to the Super Bowl. Can he do it? We'll find out this fall, but he is more than ready to pick up where Favre left off.

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


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