GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a chance to lead his team to a fourth consecutive win if they can knock off the visiting Arizona Cardinals this Sunday at Lambeau Field.
In his weekly meeting with the media, Rodgers talked about losing to the Cardinals in the playoffs three seasons ago, not getting sacked by Arizona’s top-ranked pass-rushers and much more.
Five question-and-answer highlights:
1. Has there been a catch this year from James Jones that has stood out the most to you?
RODGERS: The last one in Houston because he had to make an incredible adjustment for that and kind of tip it to himself to bring it in. I think the way that he’s playing is a direct correlation to the way that he’s practicing. He’s making a lot of those plays in practice. He’s got improved practice habits and I think that’s that confidence that he’s been getting in practice because he’s been getting the ball thrown his way because he’s been working hard. It’s transferring over into the game. He’s getting more opportunities and making the most of them.
2. How has the no-huddle offense had to adjust, especially with the personnel changes?
RODGERS: I think that’s the toughest thing when you’re losing Jordy (Nelson) and Greg (Jennings) for extended time, is you just don’t have the same continuity all the time with the amount of reps we put in the no-huddle, some of the signal variation stuff that we do formationally. Those guys, they’ve got to come along though and really just … Jarrett (Boykin), when he gets his opportunities, I think he’s ready. There’s an expectation around here that when a guy goes down, the next guy up has got to step in and play well. Jarrett’s going to get some more opportunities and we feel confident. There’s a reason we kept him on the team after training camp, it’s because he’s going to be a big-time player for us at some point.
3. How much did the overtime playoff loss in Arizona in the 2009 season fuel your improvement?
RODGERS: Not a bunch. You’ve got to be self-motivated in this league. That was something that was frustrating at the time and disappointing, to play well and to score that many points and not win and not be able to make the most of your opportunities down the stretch. Every team is different, just like last year’s team is different. This year’s team is new adversity, new opportunities, new players, new schemes. So, as frustrating as it was, we wanted to see what the 2010 season was going to be like and we had new challenges and we made the most of them.
4. Cardinals are tied for the NFL lead with 26 sacks. What makes their defensive scheme good?
RODGERS: They’re a little bit different than you see a lot of 3-4 teams. They’re real stout in the middle but they get a good pass rush from their interior three guys. They’re not typical 2-gap guys, they’re a little more athletic than you’re going to see a lot of times from those positions. They get good rush there, they like middle pressure. They have two good linebackers, one of them who’s got, I believe, eight sacks on the year who can get pressure up the middle. They’re still young off the edge, but those guys are improving as well, and they do a good job of throwing a lot of different types of pressure at you.
5. Is the Cardinals’ secondary unusually aggressive, trying to take advantage of their pass rush?
RODGERS: I think so. When you’re playing with a good pass rush and you’re veteran players like they are in the secondary, you understand timing probably better than maybe some of the younger players, understanding when the ball has got to come out. Both Kerry (Rhodes) and Adrian (Wilson) have played a lot of football between them. I think it’s been 20 years. There’s a lot of experience there, a lot of reps, understanding of blitz concepts and route concepts and timing. So they do a good job of understanding those things. And you’ve got some guys outside that can cover, as well.