Aaron Rodgers: ‘Concussions are part of our game’

GREEN BAY, Wis. — In this week’s media session, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stood at his locker and answered questions about playing the Baltimore Ravens, concerns about concussions, an improved running game making his job easier and much more.

Here are five question-and-answer highlights from the interview with Rodgers:

1. What’d you learn from your first extended playing time — a game on the road against the Baltimore Ravens — as a rookie back in 2005?

RODGERS: “I thought I was a little better than I showed that night. So I was resolute in my determination to get better that offseason. That was the offseason that Mike (McCarthy) came in with his quarterback school and we reported March 14th or whatever that year. I got to really work on my skills and that was important for me and my development, realizing I didn’t want to put another performance like that on the field. Can’t say that New England the next year was much better, but I know I got better between then and the next season, and luckily I was able to put together a good performance before I took over as the starter.”

2. You and Ravens QB Joe Flacco both signed huge contracts this offseason. What type of increased pressure and expectations are now on the two of you?

RODGERS: “I can’t speak for him, but I know I’ve just tried to focus and prepare like I have the last five years starting, and realize I have a great responsibility to this football team and this organization to play well every week. I put a lot into it, I care about it a lot. I look forward to my leadership opportunities. I look forward to leading us on the field on Sundays and I know that I’m looked at to bring a good performance every week, and I take that very seriously.”

3. How does it make your job easier when you have a good running game?

RODGERS: “It makes my job a lot easier, because if you can run it effectively, at some point you’re going to get that extra guy down in the box and gives you some one-on-ones outside. When you got one-on-ones with Jordy (Nelson), James (Starks) and Randall (Cobb), you feel pretty good about those matchups. Obviously the big fella is a matchup nightmare for most teams; Jermichael (Finley) is obviously who I’m talking about. We’ve had three different guys rush for 99 yards or more, that’s a great thing. Three different styles. Proud of Eddie (Lacy) and the way he ran last week, obviously proud of James (Starks) when he was in there, the way he ran. And Johnathan (Franklin) made the most of his opportunity. It’s going to be important for us to find ways to get those guys the ball. Obviously, like we saw on Sunday, when we get the ball to Randall in space, really good things happen. He’s going to continue to be a part of our plan.”

4. What do you think has been the difference in Mason Crosby this season as opposed to last season?

RODGERS: “I would say confidence. You know for a kicker and a quarterback, that’s a very important word. He’s kicking with a lot of confidence. I don’t know if having Tim (Masthay) doing the kickoffs has helped him just focus on kicking field goals, but something’s working really good.”

5. Are you concerned about your future health given all the information coming out about the effect of concussions?

RODGERS: “I know the risk that I’m taking playing this game. I love this game. I’ve had a couple concussions. I think the equipment we’re using is pretty cutting edge, and I’m confident in the helmet I’m wearing, the pads I’m wearing, and my ability and wherewithal to get down when I need to. But concussions are part of our game, they have been for a long time. They’re talked about more because they’re diagnosed and talked about, obviously, more than they were 20 years ago. So, it’s part of the game, but I think the league is doing as much as they can from an equipment standpoint to make us safer.”

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