Rodgers, Ped­er­son took dif­fer­ent QB paths

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Rob Maaddi

Aaron Rodgers took Doug Ped­er­son’s old job and locker. The com­par­i­son ends there. Ped­er­son never started a game in seven sea­sons in Green Bay while serv­ing as Brett Favre’s backup over two stints with the Pack­ers.

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Aaron Rodgers took Doug Ped­er­son’s old job and old locker. The com­par­i­son ends there.

Ped­er­son never started a game in seven sea­sons in Green Bay while serv­ing as Brett Favre’s backup over two stints with the Pack­ers. He was 3-14 as a starter for Philadel­phia and Cleve­land and threw more in­ter­cep­tions (19) than touch­downs (12) in his ca­reer.

Rodgers re­placed Ped­er­son as Favre’s backup in 2005 and stood on the side­line for three sea­sons be­fore be­com­ing the No. 1 quar­ter­back. He has won two NFL MVP awards, one Su­per Bowl MVP award, and led the Pack­ers to the play­offs each of the past seven sea­sons.

When Rodgers leads the strug­gling Pack­ers (46) against the Ea­gles (5-5) and first-year coach Ped­er­son on Mon­day night, Favre’s for­mer un­der­stud­ies will re­unite.

“Ob­vi­ously he was drafted there af­ter I re­tired,” Ped­er­son said. “I did in­vite him to a char­ity event that I had. He gra­ciously came down and took part in that. Just rub­bing shoul­ders through­out the course of the years, just play­ing against him or coach­ing against him, and I feel like I know him, even though we never played to­gether. The Packer con­nec­tion ob­vi­ously helps. The fact that he took my locker, there wasn’t much left, so that’s pretty cool.”

Both teams need a win to main­tain play­off hopes. The Pack­ers have lost four straight games, while the Ea­gles are 2-5 since a 3-0 start.

Rodgers hasn’t had a losing record since his first sea­son start­ing in 2008, but he’s hear­ing crit­i­cism while Green Bay slides back­ward.

“The quar­ter­back gets so much credit when things go re­ally well and when they don’t, he gets a lot of the blame,” Pack­ers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think you have to be hon­est and re­al­is­tic. We’ve kind of gone through some dif­fer­ent variations of of­fense . ... He’s been con­sis­tent. He’s got­ten us through this storm and I think we’re very, very close to be­ing where we want to be.”

Green Bay’s big­gest prob­lem is de­fense. The Pack­ers have al­lowed 30 points in each of their last four losses and be­came the first team in the NFL this sea­son to give up 40 or more points in backto-back games with their losses to the Titans and Red­skins.

In­juries have hurt the Pack­ers on both sides. Run­ning back Ed­die Lacy and cor­ner­back Sam Shields are out for the sea­son. Guard T.J. Lang and line­backer Jake Ryan missed last week at Wash­ing­ton. Cor­ner­back Da­mar­i­ous Ran­dall has been out for sev­eral games. Run­ning back James Starks was side­lined four games. Sev­eral oth­ers have been banged-up.

Lacy’s ab­sence has turned the of­fense into a one-di­men­sional pass­ing at­tack.

“Ed­die’s a great player,” Rodgers said. “He was re­ally do­ing some good things for us. It was def­i­nitely tough to lose him for the sea­son. When you dou­ble that with James be­ing out for a few weeks, def­i­nitely took us out of some of the stuff we wanted to do to start the sea­son.”

At least the Pack­ers have Rodgers and a strong set of re­ceivers led by Jordy Nel­son. The Ea­gles can’t rely on rookie Carson Wentz to throw 50 times a game. They are at their best op­er­at­ing a ball-con­trol, bal­anced of­fense. Start­ing run­ning back Ryan Mathews won’t play against the Pack­ers be­cause of a knee in­jury, so rookie Wen­dell Small­wood is ex­pected to carry the load along with vet­eran Dar­ren Spro­les.

PA­TRICK SEMANSKY — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In a Sun­day file photo, Green Bay Pack­ers quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers (12) passes the ball dur­ing the first half of an NFL game against the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins in Lan­dover, Md. Rodgers is con­fi­dent the Green Bay Pack­ers can save their sea­son in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment against Philadel­phia on Sun­day, a team that hasn’t lost at home.

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