Rodgers, offense try to rebound from 'step back' Print
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Monday, 18 August 2008 13:49
NFL Headline News

 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -The Aaron Rodgers era isn't going to amount to much if the Green Bay Packers can't protect him any better or catch more passes than they did in Saturday's preseason loss to San Francisco.
Of course, Rodgers could help himself out by getting rid of the ball more quickly under pressure - a sign of growing pains that are to be expected from any new starting quarterback, especially one under this much scrutiny.
After looking sharp in his preseason debut as the Packers' starter last Monday night, Rodgers said he and the offense took ``a little bit of a step back'' in an ugly 34-6 loss to the 49ers in their second preseason game Saturday.
``We didn't get into a rhythm,'' Rodgers said. ``We didn't make any plays. I probably held the ball too long and made a lot of mental errors.''
But Rodgers said he wasn't worried, and coach Mike McCarthy promised that his new quarterback and the rest of the team would use this week to learn from their mistakes.
The Packers don't have much time to work out the kinks, with only three practices scheduled before their next test in Denver on Friday night.
The Packers' offensive problems began up front Saturday. Rodgers was sacked four times, playing behind an offensive line that allowed only 19 sacks in the 2007 regular season - tying them for third-best in the league, a statistic likely bolstered by Brett Favre's veteran sense of when to get rid of the ball.
Of course, plenty of Favre's sack-saving passes ended up in a defender's hands over the years. Rodgers needs to balance getting rid of the ball quickly with not forcing himself into a mistake.
Rodgers was 9-for-16 for 58 yards and led the Packers to only a field goal - and that came after an interception by Charles Woodson gave the Packers the ball deep in 49ers territory.
Rodgers also nearly threw a pick near the end of the first half, but it was overturned on a replay review.
``The productivity wasn't there for the offense, so you can never sit and say the quarterback played well when that doesn't happen,'' McCarthy said. ``There are some decisions I'm sure we'll look at and we'll learn from based on once again the whole offense. It was not a good evening for any of our quarterbacks.''
Rookie quarterbacks Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn also struggled to put together scoring drives - the Packers' other field goal was set up by a long kickoff return by rookie wide receiver Jordy Nelson - but McCarthy shrugged off suggestions that the Packers should be in the market for a veteran backup.
``This is a great experience to learn from,'' McCarthy said. ``By no means do we think this was going to be easy for any of the quarterbacks. They're young. Experience is not on their side. They need to play games.''
Although the focus will continue to be on Rodgers - especially after Favre had a solid debut with the New York Jets earlier Saturday - the Packers have several offensive problems that need to be resolved before Rodgers can reach his potential.
The Packers are still trying to sort out their starting guard situation. Rookie Josh Sitton started at right guard but was replaced by Daryn Colledge after being beaten badly for a sack in the first quarter.
Jason Spitz, considered the team's best guard, started on the left side but also was beaten for a sack. And while center Scott Wells returned from a back injury, he showed signs of rust - including at least two high snaps to Rodgers.
Rodgers also didn't get as much help as he needed from his wide receivers. Typically rock-steady veteran Donald Driver had another uncharacteristic drop, his second in two preseason games, on a potential long gain on third down on the Packers' first series. And tight end Donald Lee dropped a potential touchdown pass after Woodson's interception late in the first quarter.
``As an offense you need to make some plays to get into a rhythm and to get a tempo going,'' Rodgers said. ``Tonight our tempo stunk. I didn't make any plays so I take that squarely on my shoulders. A lot of times a quarterback, if he's making plays, can get the offense going and I didn't make any plays.''

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