GREEN BAY – While there’s an argument to be made that his 2011 season was the best a quarterback has ever had, Aaron Rodgers believes 2010 was better – even if the numbers would suggest otherwise.
Statistically, Rodgers was superb last season, having won his first NFL MVP award, completing 343 of 502 passes (68.3 percent) for 4,643 yards (9.25 yards per attempt) with 45 touchdown passes and six interceptions (a 1.2 percent interception rate). He was sacked 36 times in 15 games and set an NFL record for single-season passer rating (122.5) while breaking the franchise record for touchdown passes and passing yardage – even without playing in the meaningless regular-season finale against Detroit on Jan. 1.
And yet, as he looked back during his weekly training-camp press gathering at his locker Thursday, Rodgers said the obvious: It wasn’t as good as the previous year, when he had a lower passer rating (101.2), fewer touchdown passes (28), more interceptions (11) and fewer passing yards (3,922).
Why? The obvious.
“It’s fun to be able to play the way you want to play and be consistent throughout a season, but it’s all about how you finish a season in the end,” Rodgers said. “I’ll probably look at (last) year 10, 15 years down the road and be proud of the things I was able to accomplish and that we were as a team – doing things that haven’t been done here in a long time. But the 2010 season is my favorite until we get back to the Super Bowl and win another one.”
Rodgers addressed a myriad of topics on Thursday, including:
> On the switch to nighttime practices Thursday: “Uhhhh, I’d actually prefer something a little earlier in the day, but I think you know we have some night games starting out the season, so it is good to do some night practices. It’s nice to start a little later in the day, as far as what time we come in here, but it’s nice to have the fans out there. I know they really appreciate the night practices. We’ve had a history of pretty good fights at night practices, which kind of ups the intensity level of practice, and I know the fans appreciate that. In general, I like the night practices, but I prefer the morning ones.”
> On what he meant in interviews with ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert and syndicated radio host Jim Rome when he said the team has had more energy this camp, and why he thought it was needed: “I think we could’ve done it with some of the guys that we have, maybe stretching their personalities, but it helped that we brought in guys who have that hunger, that enthusiasm that, in certain position groups, maybe it wasn’t as high as it could have been. You bring a guy like Danny Muir back, who was with us before he went to Indianapolis, always a guy who was always very enthusiastic, intense, loud, outspoken, we love having his energy. Obviously Anthony (Hargrove) has a great personality for our locker room and has definitely fit in, and he brings energy to this group. Those guys I think have really brought some of that out of B.J. (Raji)’s personality, and Mike Neal’s personality and C.J. (Wilson) and Jarius (Wynn). When you add guys to the mix like that, I think it really amps up the practice and the energy level as a whole in the locker room.”
> On his goals during training camp: “Don’t get hurt, don’t do anything really stupid, don’t make the same mistake twice. For me, it’s about a feel that I want to have come Week 1. Right now, you’re trying to figure out some of the young guys who are getting more playing time, some of the old guys who are getting a little more opportunities, get on the same page with those guys and get a feel for how Jordy (Nelson) and Greg (Jennings) and those guys are running their routes and how the tight ends are reacting. It’s fun. I’ll be ready once the season starts.
> On the depth on the roster at every position: “It’s tough. This is going to be the most difficult cuts that Ted (Thompson) and his staff, and Mike (McCarthy), have to do because we’re deep. Just look at the defensive line, there’s a lot of guys in that group who are probably going to be playing big minutes for other teams because we don’t have the room for them we’re so deep, so it’s tough. It’s frustrating because you get to know guys, but I’m excited about this team this year. We have a lot of talent.”
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