Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a message for you Seattle Seahawks fans.
Congratulations. You are fine examples of well-informed and energetic National Football League aficionados.
It’s almost as if he was taking the occasion of a teleconference call with Seattle-area media to ingratiate himself to the 60,000 or so banshees who will try to puncture his eardrums Monday night when the Packers visit CenturyLink Field.
“Those fans are really intelligent; they know when to cheer,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “They get so stinkin’ loud; they do a really good job of giving the defense that advantage when we have to go on some silent counts or when we’re trying to communicate with each other.”
In fact, he added, “they should be commended.”
Take a bow, 12th Men, 12th Women, 12th Children.
So, if you see him gesturing before a third-and-long play Monday night, he may be saying, Remember me, I admire you folks, and commended you, so, uh, could you hold it down just a wee bit?
Rodgers was last season’s league MVP and was the Super Bowl MVP the season before. His mastery of the Packers’ offense is so complete that he has put together the highest career passer rating in NFL history (104.1).
Rodgers conducts the offense from the line of scrimmage, changing plays to best exploit the matchups you’re offering.
“Aaron is fantastic at it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He moves extremely well, he’s exceedingly (accurate) at finding guys downfield when he’s on the move and he’ll just run and beat you with his legs.”
A popular pick to repeat as NFC champs, the Packers lost their opener against San Francisco – at home – 30-22. They rallied last week with a 23-10 win over the rival Chicago Bears in which they compiled seven sacks and four interceptions.
As the conference powerhouse in recent seasons, the Packers are used to being targeted on a weekly basis, Rodgers said. “Some of the comments after the (49ers game) seemed as if San Fran beating us was kind of like their Super Bowl,” Rodgers said. “That’s fine … we know what kind of shot we’re going to take from teams. We expect that.”
Both Rodgers and Packers coach Mike McCarthy used the term “fly around” to describe the Seahawks’ aggressive defense.
“The one thing that always stands out when you watch the Seahawks play, particularly at home, is just the energy,” McCarthy said. “When you talk about energy, I think it really describes their whole defense. So, it’s a very active football team. (They had a) big win last week against Dallas, and we know we’re coming into a rough environment.”
Both Rodgers and McCarthy talked about the Green Bay connections to the Seahawks, particularly that of Seattle general manager John Schneider, who was an assistant to Packers GM Ted Thompson, who was a Seahawks vice president from 2000-04.
Rodgers also says he stays in contact with friend and former understudy Matt Flynn, whom the Seahawks picked up as a free agent quarterback and now serves as backup to rookie starter Russell Wilson.
Rodgers cited Schneider’s landing of former Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch.
“We were kind of hoping here when Marshawn was on the open market that we were going to get him, because he’s a big-time back,” he said.
The Packers’ mindset on player acquisition and building a young roster has transferred well to Seattle with Schneider in charge.
“I think in so many areas we are philosophically similar,” Carroll said. “Mike McCarthy and John are really good friends and they have talked (football) for years. There are a lot of similarities and familiarities in what we believe in.”
Rodgers’ experience in loud stadiums and big-game situations will be crucial Monday night.
“We’re still young, but ... we have some veteran players that have been together for a while now,” Rodgers said. “There’s still a lot of guys intact from that Super Bowl team, and guys who have won a lot of games together and have experienced winning and know what it takes in those situations to get the job done. So there’s a lot of confidence on this team.”
That experience and confidence jumps off the video screen when Carroll watches the Packers. “(They have) such a great system,” he said. “And such a smart kid running it.”
Yes, Rodgers is accurate, savvy, athletic … and smart enough to flatter the Seahawks crowd beforehand. It surely won’t quiet them down Monday night, but it was a wise quarterback to at least give it a try.