Performance gives Rodgers confidence

After throwing for 313 yards with no practice against Atlanta, there's no doubt he'll play on Sunday in a must-win game at Seattle.

Aaron Rodgers hopes he won't have to follow the no-practice regimen much longer, but his play last week against Atlanta gives him no reason to believe he can't succeed on Sunday at Seattle.

"Realizing the pain that I went through last week and pushing through it, I think that just told me I can play with it," Rodgers told a swarm of reporters at his locker on Wednesday. "I'm hoping the pain and the soreness will be less, but either way, I'm going to go."

Coach Mike McCarthy said the extent to which Rodgers practices this week will be based on how Rodgers feels on Thursday. Rodgers took snaps but did not throw during the jog-through segment at the start of Wednesday's practice, then departed for an extensive rehab session.

Rodgers, even with significantly less velocity on his passes, completed 25-of-37 passes for 313 yards with three touchdowns but one costly interception in a 27-24 loss to the Falcons. With the Packers at 2-3 and facing a must-win against the Seahawks, last week's performance was important for his psyche.

"I've proved to the staff, and really to myself — although you don't want to have this be a precedent, but I can play effectively without practicing all week," Rodgers said. "I want to be as much as I can, but you've got to be realistic with the state of my body. But it is a little easier."

What won't be easier is a road trip to Seattle. The Seahawks — fighting through a bunch of injuries, just like the Packers — are 1-3 and also facing a must-win game. Seattle is 37-13 at home since Qwest Field opened in 2002. While an outdoor venue, it's one of the loudest stadiums in the league, and Rodgers' absence at practice could impact the timing of an offense that likely will have to use a silent count.

"We've been on the road twice already this season. We've used a silent count," Rodgers said. "When you go on the road in a tough environment, the biggest thing is you've got to start fast. You've got to get the crowd out of the game early, and that will open up the ability to use the regular cadence. I think that's going to be the focus this week. It should be. We've got to put together a four-quarter game, and it starts with the opening drive."

While the Packers strive to play a complete game that has eluded them all season — especially in the first quarter last week against Atlanta — the Seahawks were blasted 44-6 at the New York Giants. Rodgers expects to face a much different team this week, noting the Seahawks are a "different team at home with their 12th man." That means the Packers can't lay another 10-yard egg in the first quarter.

"We've got the talent and the ability in this locker room, and the character, as well," Rodgers said. "We just need to stay the course. I don't think anybody's panicking. There's a sense of urgency this week that we have to put together a four-quarter game, which we feel like we haven't done yet this season. It's about consistency and the work we put in during the week, and transferring it over during the game."

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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