Aaron Rodgers is a guy that I have always rooted for and he probably doesn’t get the kind of attention that he should.
At the beginning of his career, he had to deal with a ton of adversity and has overcome it quite nicely. It started on draft day before he even got to the NFL when he was left in the green room for hours until he was finally selected by Green Bay with the 24th overall pick. Then once he got to Green Bay he had to sit behind a Hall-Of-Fame quarterback in Brett Favre, who was a very reluctant teacher to Rodgers. However, when Green Bay decided to move on from the soap opera that was Brett Favre, Rodgers took over at quarterback and has performed brilliantly. I don’t think that I can say that he is in the conversation of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or even Brett Favre as of yet, but I think he is a tier below those guys, I think he is one of the ten best quarterbacks in the NFL and the type of player that a team can build their franchise around. At the beginning of the season, the Green Bay Packers had Super Bowl aspirations. However, at one point when the Packers were sitting at 4-4 and coming off a loss against Tampa Bay, things didn’t look so promising for Green Bay. But maybe that loss against the Buccaneers was a wake up call for the Pack because since that time they have ripped off three wins in a row to get themselves right back in the playoff picture in the NFC. A big reason for their success recently has been the play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. During the three-game winning streak, Rodgers has thrown for an average of 293 yards and has six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Aaron Rodgers joined The Jim Rome Show to talk about the way the team has bounced back after the loss against Tampa Bay, dealing with some key injuries on defense, handling adversity early in his career and the play of Donald Driver this season.
On how he feels about this team moving forward:
“I’m excited about the direction that we are going in. Obviously we had a couple of key injuries in the last couple of weeks to guys, but guys have stepped up in their absence and played well. I think we have a good confidence about us now which is important as you make the push in December. We beat two real good teams at home and a team that was a little desperate on Thanksgiving with a lot of energy in that building and we’re in a good spot right now we feel.”
On dealing with two key injuries on defense to Aaron Kampman and Al Harris:
“Those are big hits for us. More than just the players they are, but the locker room presence that they bring and the veteran leadership and experience. Lockdown corners are very hard to find and we feel like we have been very blessed with two guys like Al (Harris) and Wood (Charles Woodson) and to have Tramon (Williams) step up in Al’s spot, he did a nice job and Woodson is an incredible player. He did a great job on Calvin (Johnson), had two big interceptions and put the game away with his late touchdown. (Charles Woodson) Also had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He’s been our MVP so far I think and he continues to play well. Losing those guys have hurt, but guys have to step up and fill those gaps.”
On being humbled early in his career and how that has helped him:
“I think as I look back being a 21 year old and thinking you had all the answers as a rookie, I might of changed a few of the things that I said or did, but overall I think the experiences that you go through can make you a stronger person, strengthen your character and I think the most important thing that happened to me was getting humbled. It’s at times in life that you’re very prideful in what you do and then you get humbled a little bit, then you start to find your way, get your character strengthened and learn from your mistakes and experiences and become a better person. I think that’s what the whole draft process did. Waiting for three years and getting excited about my opportunity and trying to make the most of it.”
On whether or not he feels Donald Driver has lost a step:
“I don’t. Even before the St Louis game, they wrote an article in their program about ‘Donald Driver has lost a step but he’s still a solid receiver.’ So I called Donald and said ‘hey look what they’re writing about you.’ Even when we were on the plane on Thanksgiving coming back from Detroit, I kinda leaned over and we sit next to each other on the plane ride and I tease him about losing a step. He’s done a great job for us, he’s a great leader, great player and I don’t see him slowing down at all. He’s on pace for the most yards of his career so hopefully we’ll be able to get him to that plateau.”
On playing against Baltimore this Monday night:
“I know Terrell Suggs is injured and he’s been and integral part of that defense for a while now. I think Ray Lewis, in watching the game (against Pittsburgh), is playing as good as he ever has. The type of blitzer that he is, they couldn’t really block him in the passing game and he did a great job. Then you have a ball hawk like Ed Reed in the secondary who is probably on his way to the Hall-Of-Fame when he wraps up his career. One of the better Safeties to ever play, so they have a talented defense and it will be important for us to take care of the ball, which you saw in overtime. They made a big play and end up winning that game Sunday.”