Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pack Made Right QB Pick; Vikes Didn't

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pack Made Right QB Pick; Vikes Didn't

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

Green Bay and Minnesota spent high draft picks on quarterbacks in 2005 and 2006.

The Packers took Aaron Rodgers in the first round in 2005 and the Vikings selected Tavaris Jackson in the second round in 2006.

Both were expected to be the quarterback of the future.

As it turned out, Rodgers filled that role. Jackson hasn't.

The Packers were so confident Rodgers was their future they told Brett Favre in 2008 they were moving on and handed the job to Rodgers.

Favre announced his retirement and then changed his mind. After spending a year with the Jets, he signed last year with the Vikings, who still didn't have confidence in Jackson.

Favre took the Vikings to the NFC title game where an ill-timed interception cost them a shot at the Super Bowl. The Vikings, still not convinced Jackson is the answer, begged Favre to return this year.

Meanwhile, Rodgers is evolving into a star. He's passed for over 4,000 yards the last two seasons and is on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback.

On a national television stage Thursday night, he completed 21 of 29 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers took a 28-17 first-half lead against Indianapolis en route to a 59-24 victory. Rodgers' preseason passing stats: 41 of 53 for 470 yards and six touchdowns.

Rodgers hasn't been sacked in the preseason and he is no longer criticized for not getting rid of the ball soon enough.

"He got rid of the ball in the blink of an eye,'' Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said after the game. "He's a great quarterback. He gets rid of the ball and reads coverages great.''

And now nobody is criticizing the Packers moving on from the Favre era two years ago.

EXPECT 18-GAME SCHEDULE

When the NFL owners voted to go from 14 to 16 games and cut the preseason from six to four games in 1978, former commissioner Pete Rozelle had to do a lot of lobbying and twist some arms to get the three-fourths majority voted need to pass it.

And that was when the six-game preseason was obviously too long, but some owners were concerned about overexposure.

Current commissioner Roger Goodell won't have any problems getting the owners to go from 16 to 18 games while cutting the preseason to two games because the owners figure the longer season will produce more revenue.

Although the owners didn't vote on the measure at a meeting in Atlanta last week, Goodell said, "There was a tremendous amount of support for it. Almost all the questions, the discussions, are how to do it in a way that's fan friendly.''

But there are problems with the proposal, starting with the fact that the owners don't want to play regular-season games before Labor Day so the Super Bowl will be pushed to the third week in February. …

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