Conference call: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers


(On how much the bye week has helped rest his shoulder)

It was a good chance to rest and see some family. There were a lot of us that were dealing with some injuries and it was a good chance for all of us to have a week to get better.

(On if he watched the Titans play Monday night)

I did, yeah I watched the game. They played very well.

(On the Titans' defense)

I'd take their front four against any in the game. Those guys are playing at a very high level, even without [Kyle] Vanden Bosch. But with him they're an incredibly talented defense. Albert Haynesworth has to be mentioned as far as the MVP voting goes this year, he's having a great year. But they're not shabby on the back end or with the linebackers either. They're a solid 11 defense and we're going to have our hands full this week and it's going to be a real big challenge for us.

(On what has impressed him with Albert Haynesworth)

I mean his motor is just non-stop. He's really tough to block and you really have to put two guys on him, which makes it tough, because then you have a one-on-one on the rest of the guys and those other three are playing at a very high level as well. It really puts you in a tough situation when you're trying to pass protect those guys and even in the run game. He's splitting double teams, he's making plays all over the field and he's having a great year.

(On if he'll keep an eye on where Haynesworth lines up)

I'm going to be trusting the guys up front. I'm not going to be looking at the rush hopefully. But their back end is very solid. I think Coach [Jeff] Fisher and that defense has proven over the years that their scheme works and they do a great job running it. It's going to be a very big test for us on offense and we're going to have to play a solid game and not turn the ball over to be in the game.

(On how he stayed clear of the drama involving Brett Favre and the Packers during training camp)

I learned my first year in the league there are things you should worry about and spend time thinking about and things you can control. The situation was out of my control the entire time so I just tried to stay focused on the task at hand and that was trying to be one of the leaders of this football team and trying to get ready for the season.

(On if staying focused during that ordeal was easier said than done)

Of course but it's all about where your focus is and my focus was very tight the entire offseason on what I had to do to get ready for this season. Once training camp ended I was dialed in on having a good preseason and trying to figure out how to be one of the leaders on this football team.

(On if he thinks the way he handled the Brett Favre situation helped display his leadership to his teammates)

That's probably a question for my teammates but I just want to be a consistent player and person because I think guys in the locker room can respect that and follow that.

(On if he's playing like he'd hoped so far or if he can play better)

Well, I think my best games are still in front of me. I feel comfortable with my progress and I'm feeling more comfortable each week seeing different defensive looks. But I'm just trying to be efficient and trying to get the ball to our playmakers and let them make plays. We have a lot of talented guys on offense. Greg Jennings is having a great year. Donald Driver is taking a lot of double teams and allowed Greg to get open and Greg's made some great plays. Donald, I think his production is going to pick up. Our tight ends are playing well, we had Ryan [Grant] go over 100 yards last week. I'm just one of the cogs in this offense and trying be as efficient as possible and limit my turnovers.

(On how a new quarterback gains trust with his teammates)

Well, I think it starts in the offseason. They have to see the work ethic and the time you put in and that starts for me back in March. I realized as a quarterback, eyes are always on you, and they want to see you putting in the time and how much you care about it. Then once you get into the games, you want to see a guy that's consistent. Consistent with his attitude, consistent with the way he plays, consistent with not having mood swings and just making plays. That's what I've been trying to do this year.

(On if he thinks his teammates believe in him now)

Well, I think I earned the respect a long time ago by the hard work I put in during the offseason program and during the season the way I practiced. I think I'm gaining their trust each week by the way I'm performing.

(On if he thinks he benefited from watching and learning from Brett Favre)

Without a doubt. Without a doubt. You know, it's not easy at all to sit back and watch when you want to be out there. But I think there's a lot of positives that can come out of it if you have the right frame of mind. You take it one day at a time and work on things everyday to get better and watch the guy that is playing in front of you and try to pick up some things that he does that you can incorporate into your own game. You have to be critical of the guy and of yourself and realize there's a reason the guy is playing in front of you at the moment but when you get your chance you have to make the most of your opportunity.

(On when he felt like he was ready to play)

Well, I felt like I was ready in year one. Now, in hindsight, really year three in the West Coast Offense, things started to slow down for me and I had a pretty good preseason. I felt like I was starting to make the kind of plays that I was capable of making. Obviously, as a competitor, you want to play from the first time you step on the field. But I think those three years of sitting did a lot of good for me and it got my body in tip-top physical shape and improved my arm strength and got better at the mental game. Really, when it comes down to it, a lot of guys are physically talented but it's the guys who are mentally strong and tough and understand the game plan and what you're going to be facing who are going to stick around and play at a high level.

(On having the best numbers on third-down plays and what's been the key to that)

Well, it's a high emphasis on our practice schedule. We do a lot of third-down emphasis. I think we've done a nice job on first and second down, at least putting ourselves in third and manageable. The way I like to play is throwing high-percentage passes and making smart decisions and realizing that there's a lot worse things that can happen besides a punt. My mentality is first down, check down and if there's a big-play opportunity, make the most of it. But we've done a nice job making plays on third downs and I've just been trying to throw at a high-efficiency rating.

(On how his shoulder is feeling)

It's improving. The bye week definitely helped and I'm excited about this week.

(On if there was any pressure to play through the injury because Brett Favre never missed a start)

No, that absolutely nothing to do with it. As a competitor, you have a lot of pride in yourself and I feel like if there's any way that I can play, I'm going to be on the field. I've dealt with injuries in the past. We all manage the pain as they say in the NFL. I feel like if there's any way I can get on the field and be close to my potential than I need to be out there, so I was able to.

(On the team getting into a rhythm after winning two straight)

Well, we're starting to play a little bit more like we want to. We've put together two games where we've played four quarters of consistent, mentally sharp games. The first five games, we really hadn't played four quarters of Packer football and that's being sound, smart and tough. We made a lot of mental mistakes and we just didn't do the fundamentals correctly. The last two weeks we've done a nice job of that.

(On taking what an opposing defense gives you)

Well, it just depends on the scheme. Indy was really playing off in their coverage and a lot of times they were just rushing three so you just have to be patient. They want to make you go the length of the field to score and they're a team that really thrives on turnovers. So we want to be very smart with the ball and if we had to do long drives, than we did and we did, and that's the way to keep Peyton [Manning] off the field and keep our defense off the field as well and let them rest.

(On if they'll take advantage of their bye plus the Titans playing on a short week)

Well, I'm not sure how much that's going to weigh into it. It definitely helps to be able to get healthy and get some guys back this week. But Tennessee is a very solid team, 7-0 and watching them Monday night was very impressive. The guys are playing at a very high level and I know from just looking at the fans down there it's probably going to be rocking. I have no doubt that they'll be ready and so will we.

(On if there's any extra motivation to play against an undefeated team)

Well, we're fired up every week to play. When you see a team that's 7-0 in this league, that's very impressive and they've played very well. When you watch them on film, they're playing at a very high level and they've got a lot of talented guys who are playing really well. It's going to be important to us to match the intensity that Tennessee is going to bring and try to play a game with very few mental mistakes and hopefully make some plays.

(On if he played with Lavelle Hawkins at Cal and his thoughts on the rookie receiver)

No, he wasn't, I missed him but I know him a little bit. He made a great catch on the sidelines dragging his feet. He's a talented guy.

(On if there's anything he can take from the preseason game against the Titans)

Well, you have to look at it but you put more weight into the seven regular season games they've played than the preseason. But obviously, I've seen that already. But they're a great defense, no doubt about it, we're going to have our hands full.

(On how the Green Bay receivers have been playing)

I feel good. We're getting James Jones back this week and I think Greg [Jennings] has done a great job this year. I think he's second in the league in receiving yards. Donald [Driver] I think his production is going to pick up because maybe teams start to double Greg a little more. But you can't say enough about the work Jordy [Nelson] and Ruvell [Martin] have done. They're not going to show up huge in the stat sheet every week but Ruvell is our best blocking receiver and has done a great job out there making some timely catches. Jordy has really come along as a rookie so we're excited to have all five of those guys back and have our receiving corps at full strength for the first time.

(On why Greg Jennings has been able to have so much success)

Well, he's a great player and that's the biggest thing. It makes it real easy to throw to him. He runs his routes so crisply and gets in and out of his breaks very smoothly. But he's got great hands as well. He's a big-play guy and I feel very comfortable throwing to him in any situation.

(On how going against his secondary has helped him as a quarterback and on the Titans secondary)

Yeah, I think that was one of the biggest things for three years, being able to go against two guys like the guys we have. Al Harris is one of the best one-on-one guys in the league. Charles Woodson, and I've said this to friends before, is the best football player that I've seen, in person or on film. I'm a little biased but he's got incredible instincts and he's a big-time playmaker, he's just an unbelievable player. So that really helped me going against two savvy vets like that and our scheme as well. This week, with the secondary that Tennessee has, [Cortland] Finnegan is playing at a very high level, it's impressive, he has great ball skills. He does a nice job of both man and zone, reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball. [Nick] Harper on the other side has done a nice job as well. I got kind of a lucky pass against him in the preseason so I know he'll want to get me back for that. But they're playing at a high level. [Michael] Griffin and [Chris] Hope in the secondary, Hope had two picks the other night. He's a ballhawk and he's been that way ever since he came over from Pittsburgh. And Griffin I think has really improved over the last couple years, we've seen him in preseason a little bit and he's doing a nice job. So you have a back end that is improving but is already pretty solid and a front seven that I'd take against any front seven in the league. So it's going to be a big test for us.

(On if he learned anything from watching the Titans secondary on Monday night)

Well, you have to be accurate and it doesn't matter who you're playing against. But these guys are very talented guys so I'm going to try not to turn the ball over and try not to throw it to them at all.

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