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Wednesday, October 22, 2008 3:47:55 PM(UTC)
[size=18]Some may forget his shoulder is injured[/size]
[img_r]http://graphics.jsonline.com/graphics/packer/img/news/oct08/saaron101908.jpg[/img_r]Green Bay - About 90 minutes before kickoff Sunday, Aaron Rodgers went with wide receiver Ruvell Martin into the Green Bay Packers' gymnasium to warm up.
"He was in pain . . . a lot of pain," Martin said. "To the point where he just gave me the 'cut it' sign after about 10 minutes."
Since suffering a sprained shoulder in Tampa, Rodgers has posted passer ratings of 109.4 against Atlanta, 111.5 in Seattle and 104.2 Sunday at Lambeau Field in the Green Bay Packers' 34-14 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Rodgers is playing so effectively, many have forgotten the fact that his throwing shoulder continues to be a problem for him, if not a major problem. But limited practice time hasn't limited him on game day.
"He's showing a lot of character and toughness playing with an injury and not making that an issue," tackle Mark Tauscher said. "I just think he's exceeded everybody's expectations."
As a first-year starter, Rodgers' passer rating stands at 98.8 through seven games. His predecessor, Brett Favre, had a career-best 99.5 rating in 1995 and an overall mark of 85.8 in 16 seasons for Green Bay.
"I thought he played very well today but he has played very well throughout the year," said Bill Polian, the Colts' president who had the foresight to draft Peyton Manning over the entreaties of some to take Ryan Leaf with the No. 1 selection in 1998. "No surprise there.
"He was a good player coming out of college. I don't know why anyone would question this.
"I like his poise. He delivers the ball well. He has a great arm and is accurate. He clearly has a grasp of the offense. But his poise, that is what is rare in a young quarterback."
Dwight Freeney, the Colts' elite defensive end, said Rodgers was "very composed" and possessed "a lot of up side."
"A solid guy," middle linebacker Gary Brackett said. "Very smart. Mobile in the pocket. He made a lot of good choices. We had a hard time getting to his feet."
Polian pointed to salary-cap factors for why Rodgers slipped to the 24th pick in 2005.
"If you have a quarterback, then you cannot invest first-round money in another one," Polian said. "Unless you are planning on making a change, you just don't have the room to have both. Ted (Thompson) and company made a great pick, and it has been borne out in his performance."
The challenge for Rodgers against the Colts was letting the game come to him.
"They rolled their coverage to Greg (Jennings) a lot and tried to take away our down-the-field pass game," Rodgers said. "I just told myself to be patient."
Translated, that meant completing nine check-down passes to running backs, utilizing the often-vacant flats in the Colts' defense and directing traffic. How did Rodgers handle his assignment?
"Oh, perfect," fullback John Kuhn replied. "He had checks at the line and he checked it. He didn't try to do anything special. I saw he only had 180 some yards passing and it might seem like he didn't play a great game. But he managed the game and controlled the ball, and that's the idea of a quarterback right there."
Rodgers made one lousy throw, a red-zone forced slant to Jennings that almost was intercepted. Otherwise, he got the ball out quickly to the open man with almost pinpoint accuracy, and didn't take a sack.
"He's just smart," Tauscher said. "If he feels pressure, he'll roll and get out. When you first start playing you expect some tough sledding. Other than the one game he had a couple picks, he's been on the money."
His quarterbacking opponent, Peyton Manning, finished with a rating of 46.6. In 166 regular-season games, he had a better rating in 162.
"Peyton's a great quarterback," Rodgers said. "He's established. He's been in a number of Pro Bowls. He's won a Super Bowl, he's won MVPs.
"I hope one day to be mentioned in the same sentence. . . . I haven't proven anything that he's proven yet."
Two months shy of his 25th birthday, Rodgers will press on trying to win games and win over fans.
"He does everything you want in a quarterback," Tauscher said. "I think guys have really seen that he's the real deal."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 3:58:23 PM(UTC)
Rodgers' courage and grit makes him an inspiration to all of the Packer players, fans, and the coaches.
I hope he gets healthy with the bye week and all. When he does, look out!
We need an inspirational leader like him on defense...
Heck, I am just looking forward to a healthy Packer team out to kill the Titans in two weeks.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 4:22:02 PM(UTC)
"I am just looking forward to a healthy Packer team out to kill the Titans in two weeks."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 6:13:36 PM(UTC)
i think you will see a-rod play very good ball against the titans in 2 weeks he has time to rest his arm :icon_smile:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 6:41:21 PM(UTC)
Getting respect from the opposing teams players says so much.
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