Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
We spent plenty of time last week discussing the issue of how long Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers holds the ball. So before putting a ribbon on that story and shipping it out, let’s give Rodgers a chance to provide his own assessment.
As reported by Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers doesn’t feel his timing has been a detriment on the way to 20 sacks this season. Here’s what he said Wednesday:
"I did hold the ball probably a couple times too long. But I'm playing quarterback the way that I know how to play quarterback instinctually, trusting my feet, trusting my time clock and that's going to happen at some point. I'm going to hold the ball too long, maybe feeling like I'm not under pressure, not seeing the pressure. But I'm not going to change."
Indeed, Rodgers said he threw too quickly during the Packers’ game at Minnesota last season and was doubly determined to go through his progressions Oct. 5 at the Metrodome. Eight sacks later, he has no regrets.
Rodgers: “We need to all do our jobs, myself included, and I'm going to do better and get the ball out of my hands as quickly as I can. But we need to protect a little better as well."
My informed speculation hasn’t changed: Everything always starts up front. If Rodgers were getting better protection, none of this would be an issue. Usually quarterbacks are praised for giving receivers as long as possible to break open.
When you get pasted repeatedly early in a season, it’s going to affect your rhythm and time clock. Rodgers gets sacked too much, but in my opinion it’s difficult to assign him more than tangential responsibility.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee breaks down an interesting week on Twitter for Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.
It appears the Packers will get back safety Atari Bigby (knee) this week, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune is amused by all the talk in Chicago about receiver Terrell Owens, quarterback Kyle Orton and tailback Cedric Benson: “Reality check: Heading into a pivotal road game that may require five touchdowns to win, the Bears offense is better equipped with the players they have than the ones they don't who generated more discussion this week.”
The Bears are going to have to account for Falcons defensive end John Abraham in Sunday night’s game, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at the chemistry between quarterback Jay Cutler and tight end Greg Olsen.
The Lions continue benching starting players mid-game, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. The latest victim was cornerback Anthony Henry.
There will be a huge void if Lions receiver Calvin Johnson can’t play Sunday at Green Bay, notes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he could feel his dislocated kneecap “a bit” during Wednesday’s practice, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
This is about the most you’ll get from Minnesota nose tackle Pat Williams on a center. Asked about former Vikings center Matt Birk, who now plays for Baltimore, Williams said: “He’s all right.” Mark Craig of the Star Tribune has the story.
Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at the odd hours Brett Favre watches film at the team’s practice facility.