This is encouraging. I don’t always agree with ESPN’s John Clayton, but even when I don’t his views are worth considering. Anyone who spent 12 years of his life clawing with other 300 lb men as an interior lineman has earned at least a hearing. (We kid because we love.)
Clayton likes Aaron Rodgers. “As it turns out, Rodgers has a very strong arm. He’s had the strong arm since he’s been in Green Bay. The football explodes off his hand on each throw in practice. Teammates have noticed it for years because they work with or against him in practice.”
Clayton continues: …it’s impossible not to notice how impressive Rodgers looks now that No. 12 runs the offense. He has a smooth, polished retreat from center. His feet are in good position for each throw out of three- and five-step drops. And then you take notice. His right arm sets up naturally, and the ball comes out unnaturally fast. He doesn’t possess an old Randy Johnson fastball, but, in baseball terms, his 6-2 body throws the fastball of a 6-5 pitcher. Sticking to baseball comparisons, Rodgers might not generate 99 or 100 mph on the radar gun, but he’d consistently hit 94 and 95, and sometimes 96. “He has a cannon,” wide receiver Greg Jennings said. “We call him the ‘Human Jugs Machine.’ He throws it like a Jugs machine every time.
I think I speak for all Packer fans when I say that Rodgers needs a better nickname than “Human Jugs Machine.”
“He can make every throw on the football field, and his deep ball is one of the prettiest. Brett had a great deep ball, but Aaron has a beautiful one.”
Jennings said there are some throws Rodgers makes that have more velocity than Favre’s. As a young receiver, Jennings can only speak about Favre in his later years. “We knew that coming in that Aaron throws a lot harder, so it’s not a surprise,” the third-year Packer said. Running the West Coast offense, though, Rodgers isn’t asked to go deep much. Favre wasn’t either, but it was his nature to do it anyway. Rodgers won’t have Favre’s flair for the dramatic — who will? — but you can see he will bruise a few fingers and hands trying to move the chains out of three- and five-step drops. “He’s just throws hard,” wide receiver Donald Driver said. “He’s just one of those guys who doesn’t have any touch at all. He just throws, and that’s a good thing. He’s able to get the ball to you when he needs to get it to you.”
We’ll see. It’s one thing to look impressive when you’re in shorts with no one hitting you. It’s quite another to look the same with, say, Tommie Harris coming to rip your head off.
There is certainly an Aaron Rodgers bandwagon, with virtually every Packer beat writer, many of Rodgers’ teammates and coaches and some national commentators aboard. There are reasons to be optimistic, but it’s very early. And, perhaps most important, you have to stay healthy and remain on the field to be a good quarterback.