Aaron Rodgers: Can Rodgers Keep His Cool Against the Steel Curtain?
Aaron Rodgers has made it exceedingly easy for Green Bay Packers fans to forget the guy he replaced these last few years he's spent as the team's starting quarterback.
It's a very tough task to step in for an all-time great in a franchise that is used to winning and expects immediate results from a team they pour their hearts and souls into as fans. But Rodgers has been very much up to the challenge, as he's led the Packers to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and now has them one win away from reclaiming the Lombardi Trophy.
Rodgers got bruised a bit by the rough Chicago Bears defense in the NFC Championship game, as his effectiveness dropped off in the second half after taking a hard hit to the head from Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.
One could argue that Rodgers was fine but the Green Bay offense just started playing conservative in order to preserve a lead and eat up clock. But questions remain about how he'll handle a hard-hitting, aggressive defense like the Pittsburgh Steelers come Super Bowl XLV.
It's a legitimate concern for the Packers' star quarterback. James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and company all thrive by getting into the back field and hitting the quarterback. They will be gunning for Rodgers, so the question becomes how will the Packers quarterback handle the heat?
One thing Rodgers has clearly working in his favor is his ability to scramble outside the pocket and either run for positive yardage, or make smart, safe throws while avoiding a sack. Rodgers just seems generally calm and under control at all times with the ball in his hands, which is a crucial component that will help him once the heat is dialed up by the Pittsburgh defense.
The cliche is always that who wins the turnover battle wins the game, and in this instance it is imperative for Rodgers to make sound decisions with his throws and not force anything while under pressure. He made some bad throws against an aggressive Bears defense, and will need to cut those out later today against the Steelers.
I think Rodgers will be helped by having played the Bears two weeks ago, and also having faced Pittsburgh's defense in the regular season a year ago. I think he uses his calmness and agility to thrive in Super Bowl XLV, and has a heck of a game in the process.
For more on keys to a Packers Super Bowl victory, check out Super Bowl XLV: Five Things Each Team Must Do To Win on Sunday.
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