Competition will make Rodgers better

The history of Packers quarterbacks shows what competition can do. Packer Report's Bob Fox examines the dynamic between Starr and McHan, and Favre and Brunell.

It was apropos the Green Bay Packers ended up selecting quarterback Brian Brohm in the 2008 NFL draft. Brohm slid down in the draft, similar to what happened to Aaron Rodgers in 2005.

Rodgers was selected in the first round, compared to the second round for Brohm, but Rodgers was talked about as being a possible No. 1 overall selection in 2005. Brohm was considered a first-round pick by many experts.

The history of the QB position in Green Bay says the selection of Brohm will help make Rodgers a better quarterback.

Rodgers is definitely the starter in 2008 after the retirement of Brett Favre in March. Rodgers showed he had excellent comprehension of Mike McCarthy's offense in the preseason of 2007 and in a regular-season game at Dallas, where Rodgers almost led the Packers to a win after a Favre injury.

In the Dallas game, Rodgers threw 20 completions in 28 attempts (71.4 percent) for 218 yards, with one touchdown and a passer rating of 106. McCarthy and quarterback's coach Tom Clements would take those stats every week.

Brohm does not have Rodgers' arm strength or athleticism, but he does have great touch and is accurate (66.2 percent at Louisville). A lot of scouts felt Brohm would be a natural for the West Coast offense and he would be a quick learner adapting to the NFL.

Let's take a look at some QB history for the Packers. Bart Starr became a Hall of Famer by leading the Pack to five NFL titles in seven years, including the first two Super Bowl victories, in which Starr was MVP in both games. However, it was not easy for Starr to win the trust of coach Vince Lombardi.

Lombardi came to the Packers in 1959, and up until that point, Starr had been mediocre after being drafted in 1956. In three seasons, Starr had thrown 13 touchdowns to 25 interceptions. Lombardi felt he needed better options at QB, so he traded for veteran Lamar McHan from the Chicago Cardinals in 1959.

McHan ended up starting 11 games in 1959 and 1960. But it was Starr (12 starts) who led the Packers to winning streaks to close each season, including a trip to the 1960 NFL championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles. By 1961, Starr was the guy at QB for Lombardi, and helped lead the Packers to the first of five titles.

McHan helped Starr become a legendary quarterback. The same thing happened to another quarterback you may have heard of ... Brett Favre.

Favre led the Packers to a winning season in his first year on the team, 1992, and to the 1993 playoffs. But Favre was inconsistent, and in 1993 threw 24 interceptions to just 19 TD passes. That was the year when the Packers drafted Mark Brunell, and by 1994, Brunell had shown the coaching staff enough to perhaps grab the starting role away from Favre.

Favre started out slowly in 1994. After an early-season loss to Minnesota in which Favre was sidelined by an injured hip, coach Mike Holmgren polled the coaches to see who should start at quarterback the next week. Brunell won the vote, but Holmgren stuck with Favre.

The competition of Brunell helped Favre lead the Packers to one Super Bowl victory and develop into a certain Hall of Famer.

Rodgers will enter training camp as the unquestioned starter, something Brohm understands.

"Obviously, Aaron Rodgers is the starter right now," Brohm said, "but I'm just going to come in and work as hard as I can and do whatever I can, and do what the coaches ask me and hopefully show them some stuff that they like."

This is a win-win situation for the Packers. Hopefully, Rodgers will utilize the competition from Brohm like Starr and Favre did, and have a successful career in Green Bay. If not, or if the injury bug should happen again, the Packers have another quarterback in Brohm who has the skills to be successful in the McCarthy's system.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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