Packers Perfect; Rodgers Nearly So
Next game: Thursday, September 4th at Tennessee
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Aaron Rodgers is excited, and the Green Bay Packers quarterback says it's OK for the team's fans to be, too.
The Packers are 3-0 in the preseason after Friday night's 44-37 victory at Arizona, and Rodgers has been nearly flawless, too: His 151.1 passer rating is 7.2 points shy of what the NFL considers statistical perfection.
"It's exciting, it really is -- to have the defense playing the way they're playing, and offensively to go out and score points and capitalize on the mistakes," said Rodgers, who along with the Packers' other starters is expected to play only a handful of snaps Thursday night at Tennessee in the team's exhibition finale.
"People are going to say, 'It's preseason,' and we've been downplaying it a little bit, but this is the dress rehearsal for the whole season. So to be able to go out and play the way we were able to play (against the Cardinals), you can't help but be excited in Packer Nation, I think."
The Packers already have clinched their best preseason record under fourth-year coach Mike McCarthy, whose 2006 and 2008 teams were 1-3 in exhibition play and missed the playoffs, while the 2007 team that reached the NFC Championship was 2-2.
"You want to win. That's what we are, we're competitors, (and) that's obviously the goal any time you take the field," McCarthy said. "There's always things you can learn from in this game. (But) I thought we were impressive in the first half as a football team. Overall, three weeks in a row we've been very positive in our production, (and) it's important to win."
The No. 1 offense and defense have been impressive. Rodgers has directed 12 series with the starters and scored nine touchdowns and one field goal.
Meanwhile, the defense seems to be learning the new 3-4 scheme quickly. Although the unit has played without several key starters at times -- veteran cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson took the opener off, and inside linebacker Nick Barnett won't make his debut until Thursday against the Titans -- the No. 1 defense has forced six turnovers in 12 series.
Two others have resulted in three-and-outs. Only twice have opponents come away with points.
The No. 1 defense has allowed 320 yards, 15 first downs and 10 points.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)