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Free Head Exam: Green Bay Packers

After the Green Bay Packers' 21-16 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. So you're worried about quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs? Here's what he has done in the first two postseason starts of his career: 613 yards, seven touchdown passes, one interception and a completion percentage of 66.7. That translates into a 122.4 passer rating. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rodgers is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least seven touchdown passes over his first two playoff starts or have a 120-plus passer rating in each game. Those numbers speak for themselves, and Rodgers' response to the now-irrelevant issue of his playoff performance was respectful. "In all my time being a football fan, I've never seen one player win a game all by himself," he said. "It's a good team win for us."

  2. I'm glad the Packers didn't pretend to portray running back James Starks' 123-yard game as a product of active game-planning. "He established a hot hand early and I rode it," coach Mike McCarthy said. "James did a good job of hitting the holes and running after the first hit." Earlier Monday, we noted Starks' success in the Packers' three-back set. But it's also worth reiterating McCarthy's point: Starks was running hard. He looked like a player with fresh legs who understood not only the difference between the college and the pro game, but also the distinction between the regular season and the postseason. "He really has learned the last month or so how to be a professional," Rodgers said.

  3. You probably noticed that linebacker Clay Matthews was in coverage a decent amount Sunday as coordinator Dom Capers did his best to mix his scheme from play to play. But when Matthews was part of the Packers' five-man blitz, he wreaked complete havoc. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Matthews rushed the passer as part of a blitz on nine Eagles dropbacks Sunday. Quarterback Michael Vick completed only one of the five passes he got off in that situation and was sacked twice, once by Matthews. It got to the point where the Eagles were forced to bench right tackle Winston Justice to shield him from further embarrassment. "It's nice to know that you wore someone down and they couldn't finish the game," Matthews said. "I'm not going to sit here and say why, but it's nice to know that you're creating fits for the opposing teams."

And here is one issue I don't get:

McCarthy said that receiver James Jones "has a thumb he's dealing with" when asked about Jones' drop of what would have been a touchdown pass just before halftime. McCarthy added: "He'll fight through it. He's a warrior. He takes great care of his body, but he'll be the first to tell you that he needs to make that catch." I'm not sure if McCarthy was covering for Jones of if the injury is hampering Jones' ability to catch the ball. But the injury isn't serious enough to have limited his practice time, so he wasn't on the injury report last week. And it wasn't the first drop of Jones' career by any stretch.