Has Aaron Rodgers reached the Final Frontier? That’s the question Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee asks with the 2009 playoffs fixing to commence this weekend. (And no, we’re not talking Star Trek, either.)
Rodgers has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season. He’s been named to a Pro Bowl. He’s led a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback and elevated his career record as a starter above .500. Ultimately, however, the best quarterbacks in NFL history have been judged by their playoff performance.
Sunday’s wild-card game at Arizona will be Rodgers’ first playoff start.
Rodgers acknowledged “you remember the quarterbacks -- Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Tom Brady -- who have won three or four Super Bowls.” He told Wisconsin reporters that achieving such individual status is “not my main focus” but that he would “love to be mentioned in the same breath as guys like that that have won multiple Super Bowls.”
We’ve noted Rodgers’ exemplary season many times on this blog. The book on that body of work has closed, and we’ve now opened a new one. Like many other Packers players, the first page is blank. We’ll start filling it in Sunday.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner has been exceptional against the blitz this season and thus provides a game-planning challenge for the Packers, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Many Packers players prefer a warmer setting than the cold January elements at Lambeau Field, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Minnesota receiver Percy Harvin said he wasn’t motivated to prove anyone wrong this season after a positive drug test led 21 teams to pass on him in the draft. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune has more from the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Harvin used Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield as a schematic sounding board for much of the season, according to Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
It isn’t a lock that Perry Fewell will become Chicago’s defensive coordinator, but he is the top candidate for the job, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Expectations for quarterback Jay Cutler were too high this season, former Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner said Wednesday on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz is a big fan of left tackle Jeff Backus, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
The Lions are also counting on center Dominic Raiola in the long term, Cotsonika writes.