What Makes Aaron Rodgers So Good?

Kyle ThompsonContributor IJune 18, 2010

DETROIT , MI - NOVEMBER 26: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after throwing a second quarter touchdown against the Detroit Lions on November 26, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Why would an NFL franchise choose to trade away a quarterback that they have had for 16 years and finished his last season with the team with a 13-3 record and one win away from the Super Bowl?  This team was making a big mistake, trading away an all-time great to take a chance on 24 year-old kid whose only NFL experience was a couple of pre-season games and some hand-offs.  Only an idiot would make this decision.  Aaron Rodgers was not thought that highly of in the 2005 NFL Draft, he slid all the way to the 24th pick which happened to be the Green Bay Packers selection.  But in his first year as a starter in the NFL he burst onto the scene with outstanding passing numbers, the only problem he wasn’t producing wins.  What people forgot is that, the defense was laughable, many time when Rodgers drove Green Bay down the field for the go ahead score with less than five minutes to go, it never failed, the defense let him and the offense down.  He has come a long way in only two years as an NFL quarterback, with a Pro Bowl appearance in 2009 and throwing for almost 9,000 yards and 58 touchdowns.  But what exactly makes this guy from Chico so good?

His Feet.  Aaron Rodgers has the uncanny ability to make something out of nothing.  He slid in the 2005 NFL Draft because people questioned how good of an athlete he really was.  In his first year as a starter he was literally running for his life behind his offensive line, even though he did get sacked 34 times it probably would have almost been double that if he had the mobility of a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees.  Not only does he buy time in the pocket with his feet he is also a threat to take off and run with it.  I mean he isn’t Michael Vick or anything, but he has above average speed.  He has 9 rushing touchdown in his career and a 4.6 rushing yards per carry.

His Drive.  He is a film nut, he spends tons of time in the film room getting ready for each game every week.  I know every quarterback that is or has been great has done the same thing.  But this is what makes the great ones great.  He pays attention to the details and asks the necessary questions, to be great.  He is never satisfied, he wants everything to be as close to perfect as possible.   When you have to follow in the footsteps of a legend and who was worshipped by almost the entire population of Wisconsin, you have to otherwise you will have to find a “real” job.  Aaron wants to be the best, he is in only his second year as a starter and is quickly becoming one of the best in the league.

His Swagger.  I have heard people complain that he isn’t like that #4 guy, he doesn’t seem to be having fun out there.  Just because he isn’t running 50 yards down the field to tackle his teammates after scoring a touchdown or jumping up and down like a like a 6 year old who made his first shot in basketball doesn’t mean he isn’t enjoying himself.  He shows it a little differently some people call it cocky, I call it swagger.  He has a ton of talent to back it up.  After he rushes for a touchdown he puts on the championship belt or after a good run and slides to protect himself he will get up and singles safe like an umpire.  This guy loves playing football and does not lack in the confidence department, both key to becoming a great NFL quarterback.

His Precision.  Rodgers has one of the most accurate arms in the NFL.  Antrel Rolle was quoted after last years’ playoff game saying, “Let me tell you something – that dude is scary,” Rolle said of Rodgers. “We have a great defense, and we were up on him and ready to pounce, and he found ways to tear us apart.  I don’t ever want to face him again in my life. I am dead serious. I’ll face Drew Brees any day of the week before I face him again.”  Okay so he isn’t the greatest defensive player in the world, but it’s saying something.  Only 20 interceptions in two seasons with a 63.9 completion percentage, that’s pretty solid to say the least.

His Honesty.  In one of his latest interviews Rodgers rips Tony Kornheiser of MNF and PTI.  When asked about who he thought was the best quarterback he answered, “Tom Brady… By far.”  What does this have to do with him being so good?  He doesn’t hold back not about questions in the media and not when breaking down his and his team’s performance.  He will look at the film and not shy away from the mistakes he made.  He is not only honest with his own performance, but his teams.  When you want to improve, you can’t sugar-code things; you have to be as brutally honest as possible.

His Leadership.  In only his second year as the starter of the Packers, he has quickly become the Leader of the Pack.  With veterans on the team like Mark Tauscher, Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Nick Barnett, Donald Driver, and Chad Clifton, Rodgers is the consensus big dog in the yard.  When he gets in the huddle everyone believes in him and what he has to say.  He has total command of HIS team.   He doesn’t throw his teammates under the bus; he takes on the blame when the team makes mistakes.  He cares about his teammates and makes everyone better.

Lastly, He’s not #4.  Before you kill me with this, listen with Favre you took the good with the bad.  When it was good, it was great, Super Bowl great.  But when it was bad, it was ugly.  I don’t have point out some of the biggest mistakes he made in big games.  Yes, I will agree he has more good times then bad, but the fact that he was such a liability with the ball, made games so much fun to watch, but had you wanting to blow up your television at the same time.  And to be honest I can’t afford any more tvs.

The Packers are so lucky to have had one of the greatest QBs to ever have played, but to be able to replace him with someone as good as Mr. Rodgers, I don’t think it gets any better than that.  I know it’s early, probably too early to tell, but if Rodgers can continue to improve he will more than likely end up in Canton.  And maybe, just maybe some (Ex-) Packers’ fans will hop off the Favre bandwagon and realize for the Green and Gold that the best is yet to come.