Training camp preview: Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers is excited to pick up where Brett Favre left off with Green Bay's offense

A Packers fan wearing a Brett Favre baseball game and Packers uniform with Favre's No. 4 got right in general manager Ted Thompson's face at the annual shareholders' meeting at Lambeau Field.

"With Aaron Rodgers we're going to the Toilet Bowl and with Brett Favre we can go to the Super Bowl," the fan, shrugging his shoulders, told Thompson. "Why don't you want Favre?"

Thompson politely declined to elaborate, but how does that fan know that Rodgers will take the Packers to the Toilet Bowl? C'mon!

True, Favre is coming off a great season, but he's 38-years-old and still not sure he wants to play football this year. He has yet to request that he be reinstated to the league.

Rodgers is entering his fourth season after watching and learning the last three behind Favre. Rodgers is stronger and wiser about the team's offensive scheme than he was when the Packers selected him in the first round (24th overall) of the 2005 NFL draft.

After a strong offseason, the Packers are sticking with Rodgers as their quarterback, despite Favre's "itch" in June to continue his football career.

"I'm around Aaron all of the time, so I think he has been very steady and very consistent throughout his offseason, his quarterback school involvement," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think he has done a nice job in his new role. He just needs to be the same guy and be consistent every day, and he has done that so far."

Rodgers has played little, but when he got a chance behind Favre, he gave the Packers a snapshot of his ability. His main knock so far is durability. If he can avoid any major injuries, the Packers will have a good shot at picking up where they left off with Favre. But Rodgers has earned the trust of his teammates this offseason, which will help him heading into the season.

Rodgers, who already has arrived in Green Bay for the start of training camp, can't wait for the chance to be the No. 1 guy.

"I've taken the No. 1 reps in practice throughout the last three years, but to know that I'm the guy going into the season is pretty exciting, because guys are starting to rally around my leadership style and the way I do things," Rodgers said.

"Like I said, I've been waiting for this experience, this opportunity, my whole life, so it's pretty exciting."

Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn were selected in April's NFL draft by the Packers to back up Rodgers. Both come from high-profile college programs at Louisville and LSU, respectively, and have a winner's mentality.

Brohm might have been a steal as a late-second-round choice. He's a West Coast-savvy QB and has the potential to be an eventual starter.

"Brian has been exceptional," said McCarthy after a OTA practice this spring. "Matt has really turned it on. It's a lot of information to process in four weeks. You have four weeks, 12 practices, nine installations, and they have held up very, very well. I have been impressed with both of them, so that is the first part of it.

"The second part of it is now the footwork, the timing, and all of the other stuff and you can't have enough practices for them. We'll continue to work toward that, but I'm pleased with the progress they have made. We have a ton of work to do and I'm not ready to clear anything with that whole group. It's really a benefit to only have three quarterbacks because every rep is so valuable, and I think all three of our guys have taken advantage of it."

Unless Favre returns to the Packers, Green Bay will go with Rodgers, Brohm and Flynn in training camp. That should give Brohm and Flynn plenty of reps with the second and third units behind Rodgers, the new leader of the Pack.

"It's exciting knowing my leadership role has increased," Rodgers said. "The last few years I've really taken the leadership role on the scout team, encouraging those guys and doing what I can as a backup quarterback. But now being the guy and having a little more 'oomph' behind my words, it's a good feeling."


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