Sydney Speaks! He doesn't have to be Brett!

Rodgers is no Favre, but is ready to take over and lead the Pack, says's Harry Sydney

Since the retirement of Brett Favre from the NFL and the Green Bay Packers, all eyes have turned to Aaron Rodgers. Everyone is trying to figure out if he can be the guy, haven't they? They have been trying to determine if what they have seen from him is enough. I say enough for what?

If you think he's going to make you forget when Brett did this or did that, you are setting yourself up for failure because Aaron Rodgers will never be Brett. Why should he be? This is a different time and different place with different needs for their quarterback. Let me explain:

When Brett arrived on the scene in Green Bay in 1992, it was up to him to lead the way. Whether the Packers won or lost depended on the play of number 4, but Aaron doesn't have to do that. Ted Thompson has had the luxury of having basically three years to prepare for this moment. When they drafted Aaron they didn't really know Brett's time frame, so because of that he has been able to draft guys like A.J. Hawk, James Jones, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Aaron Rouse and just think of how many other guys got a chance to get experience and still win? Or Thompson has gone out and signed free agents like Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett. At the same time, Thompson picked up a player like Ryan Grant who was simply the best running back in the second half of last season.

By the way, did I mention that Mike McCarthy has proven in two short years that he understands what it takes to be a top-notch coach in the NFL? You must understand that Aaron Rodgers doesn't have to do anything other than just listen and use his strengths that he has been working on since he has been here in Green Bay.

I know many have a little feeling of hesitation because last season when he had the opportunity to play at Dallas, we all saw a guy that looked sharp and ready to play. He showed poise, arm strength and an ability to scramble and get out of trouble with his feet, but now many are questioning his toughness because he missed some time because of a pulled hamstring and toe injury. This is one of the problems where you can't compare him and these injuries to the iron man. Brett Favre is one of a kind. He played 17 years and started every game once he took the "Magic Man's" place. What he did won't be done again, so at this time how about giving Aaron Rodgers a chance to earn his stripes before anyone says he can't?

Injuries will be part of the game. Please understand, fans, that we have been spoiled. One of my hobbies is playing golf and let's just say I have the itch real bad, but it's hard to scratch it, especially living in Green Bay. The only way I do that is go out to a driving range. While there on Sunday I heard a Bears fan say to a friend of his, ‘Now the Packers get to feel what we have felt for years.' I walked away from them understanding just how bad it must have been for them all those years.

Think of how far ahead Aaron Rodgers is in his maturation process compared to where Brett Favre was when he became the starter. Brett was in his second offense and his gunslinger style gave many of his coaches gray hair and many of you fans nightmares. Aaron Rodgers won't be forced to do anything but run the offense. In my opinion, we will see a shift in the philosophy of the Green Bay Packers and this team will and should be about defense. For so many years people questioned whether Ted Thompson was doing everything to help Brett win NOW, and I believe that because Brett stuck around two years longer than anyone thought, and this team has advanced faster than even Ted anticipated. Because of that, Aaron Rodgers inherits a team that was 13-3 with a pass rusher away from another Super Bowl appearance.

So when I hear people already questioning Aaron's ability, I just want to say if not him who? Who else is ready to step in and replace Brett? Who else has been waiting his time learning everything he could? Which other quarterback has been in the meeting room with Brett and Mike learning everything necessary preparing him for that moment to come? Aaron Rodgers has been waiting for this moment for a long time and now it's here and all he has to do is just be himself. He's not Brett, but then again HE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

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