As a fan, I was elated when the Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 draft. I thought it was the steal of the draft and felt fortunate to have a prospective #1 overall draft pick slip all the way to the Packers at 24th overall. I was glad to have a top-rated QB who could work under Favre for a year or two and could be ready for the NFL when his number is called.
When he was very shaky his rookie season I was a bit disappointed, but I excused him because he was a rookie at the most difficult position to play in professional sports. I had confidence that he would start to shine in year two. Unfortunately, Rodgers improved in year two, but not enough give fans confidence that he can successfully lead the team if Favre gets hurt. After Rodgers' sophomore season, I maintained my opinion that Rodgers could be a successful successor to Favre, but began to have my doubts that he could be an NFL starter. I thought the 2007 preseason would be the final indication whether Aaron Rodgers should be the Packers' QB in 2010.
Well, the 2007 preseason is here. During this weekend's televised scrimmage, I watched Rodgers closer than any other player on the team. Rodgers was pretty accurate with many of his throws and showed decent mobility and pocket presence throughout the scrimmage. On one play he stepped up in the pocket while under a heavy outside rush and gunned a deep bullet right on the numbers to a receiver over the middle for a first down. Unfortunately, the scrimmage produced two major concerns about him that I just couldn't let slide. The obvious Rodgers blunder was during the 2-minute drill when he lofted up a hail mary on 2nd & 27 that was easily intercepted in the end zone. [It was the exact error of judgement that Favre has taken a lot of heat for the last few years. 2nd down is not an "all or nothing" down unless there's less than 5 seconds on the clock.] However, that was one isolated play and perhaps one isolated error of judgement. What disappointed me about him more than anything was his stare-down-and-throw of his primary receiver on almost every passing play. He was not looking off defenders. He was not making any kind of reads on the defense. He was not going through his progressions. Of course, since it was only a scrimmage, it's very possible that he stared-down his primary receiver because he knew what defensive play was called and he knew where the hole in the defense would be.
In any case, I will be watching Aaron Rodgers even closer this coming Saturday against a Pittsburgh defense that will eat him up if he continues to stare-down his receivers.