All Rodgers needs is time

First-year starter can take another big step on Sunday night, says Packer Report's Todd Korth

Aaron Rodgers can take another big step in his fledgling career Sunday night as a starter with the Green Bay Packers. The quarterback has quickly gotten the attention of many as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. However, with a win over the Dallas Cowboys, he can show the so-called experts out there that he belongs among the elite.

Some of those so-called experts at Scouts Inc. say that Denver's Jay Cutler, New York's Eli Manning, San Diego's Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Dallas' Tony Romo are the top quarterbacks in the league right now. Rodgers, Cleveland's Derek Anderson and Buffalo's Trent Edwards received honorable mentions.

Romo's back-to-back 300-yard performances this year certainly qualify him. Cutler leads the league in passing with 650 yards. Eli Manning is coming off a Super Bowl season and Rivers has a lofty 122.5 passer rating. That's all fine and dandy. The aforementioned QB's have worked hard in recent seasons to gain the respect of the experts. In time, however, Rodgers, who has a sizzling 70.0 percent completion percentage, 117.8 passer rating and four touchdowns with no interceptions, will bump one of those top guns from the top of the totem pole.

There is doubt that many national experts out there can't get over the fact that the Packers are not rudderless without Brett Favre. We'll hear more about Favre and his saga from the announcers on Sunday night. In the meantime, Rodgers has the Packers playing like a playoff team. And if he can keep it up on Sunday night before a national cable television audience, more and more of the skeptics will buy into the fact that he can lead the team as well or better than Favre.

"He's off to a good start," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. "We're only two weeks into it. There's a ton of football ahead of us. Obviously he's put together two good games from a performance standpoint, but handling the everyday No. 1 spot, it's different. It's a bigger responsibility."

The starting experience that the top quarterbacks ahead of Rodgers possess certainly plays in their favor. In only two games, however, Rodgers has showed the poise and decision-making of a fourth-year pro, which just happens to be how long he has been in the league. And he hasn't given anybody around Green Bay any indication that will change.

In Rodgers' case, he is putting the time that he spent on the bench in the last three seasons to good use.

"I think it was my attitude in those three years," Rodgers said. "How I handled myself in practice, the offseason work I put in in the coach's quarterbacks school, working with (quarterbacks coach) Tom Clements on the fundamentals, on my reads in the offense, studying tape ... I think a lot of stuff has added up to getting me ready for this year. The preparation during the week has allowed me to make plays on Sundays.

"It's a lot of fun being the quarterback of this team. I'm excited about the season," he said.

In the last two seasons, Romo has risen among the elite of NFL quarterbacks. With another solid performance on Sunday night, Rodgers will put himself in position for a rapid rise, which may prompt some of those so-called experts to revise their rankings.

Todd Korth writes for PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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