Last night ushered in a new era for Green Bay Packer fans across the nation. Now that the drawn-out saga between the Packers organization and Brett Favre has come to a close, we can now focus on what it's all about - football!
Aaron Rodgers made his first career start last night, and I couldn't be more pleased. He didn't show the mistakes one would expect from someone who had only taken 59 snaps as an NFL quarterback. Some things stood out from his performance:
1. He showed that he can take a hit. He's didn't just run out of bounds or throw the ball away to a defender, nor did he fumble in the pocket. He showed poise, and that's exactly what we've come to expect from a starting quarterback.
2. He showed mobility. This is something we haven't had in the past few years. Though Favre could move if he had to, he had lost a few steps over the years. Good to have that back.
3. Rodgers' passing was SHARP. He didn't throw any ducks, only sailed one pass, and his throws were accurate. Favre was the hardest throwing quarterback in the NFL, so we need Rodgers to maintain the accurate passing game. Rodgers wasn't limited to one or two options on a designed drop-back passing play, he was able to look downfield for the 3rd or 4th option. Granted, the Cincinnati defense isn't the best in the league by a long shot, but Rodgers had ample protection allowing him the necessary time to throw. He didn't panic.
The majority of Rodgers' passes were high, recievers being forced to catch the ball at their helmet or above. This is mechanics, and as they discussed during the game last night, this is something the coaching staff has been working on w/ Aaron this summer.
Final stat line: 9-15 passing, 117 yds. 1 TD, 1 INT.
He could have been 12-15 passing, the recievers dropped 2 of his passes that should have been caught, and his lone interception should have been called pass interference. The reciever was leveled prior to the ball arriving. All in all, a great first start for our new quarterback.
My only complaint has nothing to do with Rodgers' performance, rather the observations made by color commentator Tony Kornheiser. His show on ESPN "Pardon the Interruption" is one of my favorites, I watch it every day. He had formed his opinions on Rodgers before the game began, not giving him a chance at all. Comparing him to Favre. Saying that he has the most pressure on him in NFL history, as he attemps to replace Favre. I'm glad his performance shut Kornheiser up, because he was getting annoying.