Rodgers progressing quickly

First-year quarterback already playing similar to idol, predecessor in their prime, says Packer Report's Todd Korth

Hopefully all those doubters who booed Aaron Rodgers during the team's annual Family Night intrasquad scrimmage in early August are now convinced he is the real deal. Many of those boo-birds wanted the great Brett Favre, who happened to conveniently arrive in Green Bay about the same time the scrimmage began, to lead the Packers this year. As Favre took a peek at the team from his luxury box in Lambeau Field, Rodgers struggled to complete passes, and many were shouting for Favre's return.

That was then, this is now. And what a difference a month makes. For the second straight week, Rodgers put together an impressive performance, making the most die-hard Favre fans ask, "Brett who?"

What is even more exciting for Packers fans, especially those backing Rodgers all along, is that coach Mike McCarthy admitted he is taking it kind of slow with Rodgers. That's right, slow. And that's pretty encouraging for a quarterback who threw for 328 yards in Green Bay's 48-25 win Sunday over Detroit and 178 yards in a Monday night victory over Minnesota. Rodgers has completed a whopping 70 percent of his passes (42 of 60) and is looking every bit of his childhood idol Joe Montana and predecessor Favre when they were in their heyday.

For McCarthy, it's like being behind the wheel of a new sports car, wanting to punch it, but patiently driving the speed limit.

"We kept pushing the envelope, and I think that speaks volumes about the coaches and everybody involved and the confidence within to stay aggressive, and I think we managed it very well," said McCarthy after the game. "I think it's part of the growing process."

Rodgers will be encountering many firsts in his first full season as a starter. Against the Lions, he faced his first fourth-quarter deficit after leading 21-0 early. The Lions rallied to take a 25-24 lead, and Green Bay's offense had three straight three-and-outs. The Ford Field crowd had suddenly arisen from its slumber and Rodgers quickly found himself in the middle of a firestorm.

No problem. He put himself in Montana's shoes.

"Joe Montana was a guy who could always bring his team back in the fourth quarter; a guy who his teammates trusted with the ball in his hands late in the game, and you don't want to have a lot of comebacks because you want to be ahead in the game, but unfortunately our lead dwindled," Rodgers said.

Soon after guard Daryn Colledge was penalized for a false start, moving the Packers to their 17-yard line, Rodgers hit wide receiver Greg Jennings on a quick slant over the middle, and Jennings burst 60 yards to Detroit's 23. Running back Brandon Jackson's dropped pass that would have gone for a first down forced the Packers to settle for a field goal, but Green Bay regained the lead and never looked back. Rodgers' patience and leadership played a big part.

"Obviously, it shows that he's very poised, and as an offense, that we can settle in and actually move the chains when we need to," Jennings said. "We were able to just make plays and get ourselves out of some situations that we shouldn't have had ourselves in, but we did."

The Packers are 2-0 when many Rodgers' doubters prior to the season felt they might be 0-2 without Favre at quarteback. Instead, Rodgers is quickly showing everyone that he made the most of the past three years to prepare this opportunity and it glaringly evident. The Packers took somewhat of a gamble on trading Favre away after he waffled on retirement, but that it was calculated and now we all know why McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson were insistent on proceeding with Rodgers.

"I thought Aaron put together a fine performance," McCarthy said. "There are a couple of things he can learn from. I thought he did a really good job of using his feet to stay out of bad situations; very decisive with the ball. I thought he threw the ball very well today. I thought he had a real nice day today."

Rodgers certainly wasn't perfect. He tried to run upfield with the ball during a scramble when he should have stepped out of bounds. "He's not to do that again," McCarthy said. "I'll say it over and over again till he get's the message." Rodgers also was sacked for the first time this season when he held the ball too long. Other than those two hiccups, he has yet to throw an interception and hasn't thrown too many bad passes, period.

Rodgers will be a fun quarterback to watch this season and for many to come. At times, he looked a lot like Favre when Favre was in his prime. With all respect to Favre, it is refreshing to see the Packers with a quarterback who has the mobility to make plays with his feet, which is exactly what Rodgers is doing.

In two weeks, Rodgers is proving he can be consistent from week to week. No doubt he will have a poor game here and there, but for the most part, look for him to lead the Packers to many more victories this season.

Todd Korth writes for and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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