Black and Blue all over: Rodgers' response

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: