GREEN BAY, Wis. — In this week’s meeting with reporters, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers dropped a “Tombstone” reference, explained his simple message to the offensive line heading into a Week 1 game against the San Francisco 49ers and much more.
Five question-and-answer highlights:
1. Eight years after the 49ers drafted Alex Smith No. 1 overall instead of you, is this still a revenge-type game for you?
RODGERS: “It was never about revenge. It was about reckoning. That’s a Tombstone line right there, people. It was never about revenge. We’re way past that, I feel like. I still follow the Niners. They’re close to home (in Chico, Calif.) there. I still have a lot of friends that are still on the fence at times when Packers play the Niners. This is a big game for both teams. First game of the season. It’ll be a great matchup.”
2. Is it hard to flip the switch to regular season mode?
RODGERS: “You know, I’ll just say this. When we had the lockout season, a lot of people were talking about how the quality of play in the league was going to be down. It wasn’t. From the start, I mean, we started fast against New Orleans. I don’t think that (San Francisco’s) 1s have taken a ton of reps on offense, and we haven’t, obviously, but I expect us to play well. I mean, that’s what we’re paid to do. We’ve taken a lot of practice reps, we’ve played a lot of football together. There’s going to be some guys and some stressed positions based on their matchups, but we expect to come out and put up some points and be effective.”
3. How can having Seneca Wallace as your backup quarterback help you?
RODGERS: “I haven’t had a guy older than me in a while in the quarterback room. It’s fun having him there. He has a great football mind, he really understands the game. He’s been around a lot of football, he’s been around some great football minds, working with obviously Coach (Mike) Holmgren for so many years. Just another set of eyes on the practice field, in the meetings, and on the game field that I can really trust because I know he sees the game the way it’s meant to be seen.”
4, A. What do you say to your offensive tackles to help them get ready to face this challenge against San Francisco?
RODGERS: “Block those guys, please.”
4, B. What’s your confidence level in your offensive tackles?
RODGERS: “It’s very high. It’s very high. Don (Barclay) has played a lot for us, Marshall (Newhouse) has obviously played a lot for us, and David (Bakhtiari) is a very confident guy who has a good set, and you just need to trust his fundamentals. He’s up against a Pro Bowl guy who’s one of the best in the business, who is continuing to get better. You can see it on the film. He’s still athletic, he’s playing the run really well and it’s a tough test. But that’s what you want if you want to be considered an elite player at your position, like I know David does down the road. He’s a confident guy, then these are the kind of matchups you want.”
5. Do you shorten your clock to get rid of the ball knowing Bakhtiari is young and inexperienced?
RODGERS: “I don’t think you want to play like that. I think you want to have confidence in those guys. Tackles block ends, that’s what we always say. In this case, tackles block outside linebackers. That’s two tough guys. I mean, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith are two of the best in the league, and as a pair, present a tough challenge. But we expect those guys to get out there and block them up and it’s going to be a tough matchup for them, but we’ve got to win a lot of those battles.”