Game Managers Need Not Apply

Aaron Rodgers has played very well in his first year as a starter replacing Brett Favre, but don't call him a game manager. There's got to be a better way to describe a quarterback with a passer rating of 98.8 through seven games. Get the Inside Slant from the NFL experts at

Aaron Rodgers is debunking the bad rap given to QBs who are pigeon-holed as game managers.

Rodgers isn't fond of the term, but he has been thriving in his first year as a starter by adhering to the basic tenets espoused by someone who manages the game at the most important position on the field.

"I think game managers often are looked at as guys who can't make a lot of plays, just kind of guys you can plug in and get the job done," Rodgers said Tuesday before he and his Packers teammates were excused for the rest of the bye week. "I think that doesn't tell the whole story. We talk about it in the quarterback room all of the time about being a good manager of the game. Maybe that's a better way to say it."

"You're basically saying you're making good decisions," he continued, "you're throwing at a high completion percentage, and you're not making the serious mental mistakes or physical throwing errors that can often plague quarterbacks and cause you to have turnovers."

In making good in all of those areas through the first seven weeks of the season, Rodgers has emerged as one of the better game managers, er, quarterbacks in the NFL.

General manager Ted Thompson's handpicked successor for Brett Favre, whom the team traded to the New York Jets after a bitter soap opera in the summer, is a bona fide top-10 passer in every major statistical category.

Rodgers is tied for fourth with an efficiency rating of 98.8, tied for fifth with 12 touchdown throws, seventh with 1,668 passing yards and ninth with a completion percentage of 65.6.

Perhaps most telling of Rodgers' quick ascension, although he's been in the league for four years, as a highly-efficient quarterback is he's had only four passes intercepted. To break it down further, only 1.8 percent of Rodgers' 221 pass attempts have been picked off – he ranks ninth in that category.

"He's played very well," head coach Mike McCarthy said.

Rodgers has arguably done his best work so far in the last three games, when he's played in pain because of a sprained right shoulder he sustained in Week 4 at Tampa Bay.

He has eclipsed the 100-point plateau for passer rating in all three outings, completing 67 of 95 passes (70.5 percent) for 707 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception. The lone miscue was an ill-advised throw late in the game as Rodgers tried to rally the Packers to a Week 5 win over the Atlanta Falcons, who prevailed 27-24.

Since then, Rodgers has made 64 straight mistake-free passes and helped Green Bay get back on track after a three-game losing streak with effectively manageable performances in wins over the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts the last two games.

The Packers entered the bye at 4-3, tied for first with the Chicago Bears in the NFC North.

Rodgers has been the antithesis of how Favre regularly threw with reckless abandon in his 16-year run as Green Bay's starter.

QB Aaron Rodgers
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In the most recent game against the Colts, Rodgers was under control, exuded patience by frequently taking his checkdowns and completed 75 percent of his 28 throws to outduel high-profile counterpart Peyton Manning. Eight different players were on the receiving end of a Rodgers throw.

"I tell 'em all of the time, 'Run every route like you're going to get it every time,'" Rodgers said. "I think if the guys know anything about me through seven games is that I'm going to go through my progressions, and hopefully get it to the guy who's open. I'm not going to force the ball on 'em. I'm going to try to throw it high percentage and try to throw it to the guy who's open."

A cerebral Rodgers gave an honest assessment of how he's played so far.

"The biggest thing is just consistency," he said. "I think I've put together five pretty good performances out of the seven games. I'd like to really have nine of the last nine be performances where I make good decisions, smart with the football, limit my turnovers and put ourselves in situations where we can have a successful play every time. Hopefully, that'll equate to a lot of wins."

Head coach Mike McCarthy had a good excuse to break away from his staff at midweek from early game planning on the next opponent and self-scouting of their own team.

McCarthy's wife, Jessica, gave birth to daughter Gabrielle Kathleen early Wednesday morning in Green Bay.

The timing of the arrival of McCarthy's second child – he has a teenaged daughter from a previous marriage – couldn't have been better. The Packers are in their bye week.

McCarthy excused the players for the rest of the week after they reported Tuesday for meetings and a workout. He also gave the coaches a few days off after Wednesday. …

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn't quibbling about where the bye on the schedule fell this season. Rodgers, who has been playing effectively in pain the last three games with a sprained throwing shoulder, is one of several injured players who were in need of extra time off to heal for the second half of the season.

As such, Rodgers wasn't fretting that the one-week break could be a momentum stopper for the team. The Packers rebounded from a three-game skid by winning their last two games, including a 34-14 whipping of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, to run their record to 4-3 and tie the Chicago Bears for the NFC North lead.

"Momentum is week to week," Rodgers said. "You can't carry anything over, except the confidence from game to game. And if you're having trouble with your confidence, then you need to check yourself."

Rodgers is rehabbing his injury throughout the bye week. He planned to return to his native Northern California the latter part of the week and watch little brother Jordan, a freshman quarterback, make his starting debut for Butte College.

Big brother played at Butte, a junior college, for a year before transferring to Cal. …

Cornerback Charles Woodson revealed Tuesday that the broken right toe he sustained in the season opener and on which he's continued to play is all but a thing of the past.

"The toe is not even an issue anymore," Woodson said. "Remarkably, it was able to heal during the time I played. And the last X-ray that I took showed new bone growth. I've been able to play the last couple of weeks [without pain]."

Woodson wasn't adversely affected by the injury, which kept him out of practice the last six weeks. He has a co-league-high four interceptions, as does Packers safety Nick Collins.

When asked whether his improved condition means he'll be back in practice next week following the bye, Woodson responded tongue-in-cheek, "I don't think the coach wants me to practice at this point."

Woodson, though, indicated that he might be put on a limited practice schedule as he was last year, when he practiced only on Fridays. …

Safety Aaron Rouse was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.

Rouse, a second-year player, is the first Packers safety to earn the honor since LeRoy Butler in 1996.

Rouse tied a franchise record for longest interception return – set by Tim Lewis in 1984 – when he picked off a pass from the Colts' Peyton Manning and ran 99 yards for a touchdown to complete the scoring for the Packers on Sunday.

"A lot of the younger guys got opportunities, so with that we've increased the experience of our overall football team. I think there are a lot of positive experiences that could come out of this tough stretch that we went through, and hopefully we won't have to go through another one." – Head coach Mike McCarthy on the Packers' coping with an injury-filled first seven weeks of the season and looking forward to having possibly everyone healthy after the bye.

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