Sydney Speaks! Pleasant surprise

Packer Report's Harry Sydney provides an assessment of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the team's preseason opener earlier this week against Cincinnati.

I know it was only one preseason game and you never what to make too much of a big deal about what you saw, or at least if you have followed me you know I don't give anything undeserved. I try not to but I did like what I saw from the Packers against the Bengals. No, I'm not talking about every aspect of the team. I'm talking about Aaron Rodgers, the new starting quarterback for your Green Bay Packers whether you, I or anyone likes it or not.

Don't get me wrong, he still has a long way to go and against the Bengals he did miss a couple of throws that he shouldn't have, like the corner pass to James Jones, but I saw so much more from Rodgers. I saw a player start to get the monkey of his back or elephant whatever you want to call it. I saw a young man seize the moment when he very easily could have fallen on his face. The pressure could have been too much. I also saw the Packer nation put its differences aside and assess the situation, realizing that he now is their leader. They stood and cheered him. Brett is gone; he is now going to be a distant memory because he isn't coming back. The start of the Aaron Rodgers era has just begun and he gave us a glimpse of what could be. He showed us just a little of the skills necessary to hopefully warrant that first round draft pick in 2005.

I'll tell you what I saw, if you don't mind. I saw a backup become a starter and I saw his team get the answers it needed from him. I saw a coaching staff not scale down the offense to protect him. I was wondering just how Mike McCarthy would call the game and to be honest with you there wasn't much change in his game plans.

As much as Mike McCarthy talks like he wants to make this a slugfest and run the ball down people's throats it just amazes me how that doesn't seem to happen. Against the Bengals I believe he threw it roughly 50 times. In Aaron's four series we saw him drop back, we also saw him bootleg to his left and throw across his body on target. We also saw Aaron step up in the pocket on a third and long and deliver a strike to Donald Driver that unfortunately Donald dropped, but the fact is Rodgers showed that he does have a strong enough arm to fit the ball in tight places, which I know many might have doubted.

They will never say it but you better believe that after the game when it was all said and done and the media were gone Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson and, for that matter, Mark Murphy had to thank their lucky stars because they couldn't have asked for a better showing by the guy that they have chosen to replace the legend. Aaron's showing made it easier, at least for the short time, to distance themselves from what has happened in the last month.

Like I said before, no one wished for this situation to happen. No one wished it, wanted it or needed it. It happened and it was nice to see just how Aaron handled it, because all the eyes of the football world were watching to see just what he was really made of. Again, it was just one a preseason game but, then again, wasn't it much more? It was Aaron's opportunity to silence some of his critics, especially when on the sack he went down gingerly and fell on his hand and came to the sideline shaking it. I heard so many fans say they were thinking, "Here we go again," like the injury bug was going to jump up and get him again but that didn't happen did it?

Regardless of whether or not you are a Brett Favre fan and wished he was still the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers or not, if you are a football fan you have to appreciate the fact that Rodgers really handled this situation very well. He let his playing do the talking he never got in the way of what was going on between Brett and the organization he acted like a professional. He played his first game showing nothing but poise and acted like he understands that his time is now. Again, please don't get me wrong, he still has a long way to go, but so far I will say his play has been a PLEASANT SURPRISE!!!!!

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

Packer Report Top Stories