Aaron Rodgers didn’t play right away when he came into the NFL.
Drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers in 2005, Rodgers threw only 59 passes and did not make a start in his first three NFL seasons as he played behind Brett Favre.
But once Rodgers got his chance, he’s made the most of it.
Since 2008, no quarterback with 1,000 attempts or more has a higher passer rating than Rodgers’ 105.6. He trails only Drew Brees with his 187 touchdown passes. His 23,868 yards is fourth during that span.
Oh, and the Packers have gone 58-29 in his 87 regular season starts and made the playoffs in five of those six seasons.
Rodgers is currently the only quarterback in NFL history with a passer rating greater than 100; his 104.9 is No. 1 all-time.
So when he says that not playing right away might be the best thing for a young quarterback, he knows from experience.
“Some of these guys who are going to bad teams are expected to play well right away,” Rodgers told SportsOnEarth.com. “It’s hard to do that. I’ve seen a couple guys able to do it.
“[Ben] Roethlisberger was able to do it. He had a team kind of around him. [Joe] Flacco had some success early but he had a team kind of in place. You go to a place that has some pieces and you can have some success early. But if you go to a team that doesn’t have the pieces … it can really mess with your confidence.”
Of the quarterbacks taken early in the draft this year, the Jacksonville Jaguars have already said No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles will play behind veteran Chad Henne this season.
It’s a decision Rodgers heartily approves of.
“I learned a lot in those years, how to attack quickly and play slowly,” Rodgers said. “It was the best thing to happen to me.”
The success of young quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III as rookies in 2012 may have set the bar higher for the next crops of young signal-callers coming into the league.
But Rodgers is a throwback to another era of the NFL, a time when teams dreaded the notion of putting a quarterback on the field before he had taken a couple of seasons, at least, to learn the ropes.
Of course, with free agency and salary caps, teams don’t always have the luxury of nursing young players along.
But it’s got to be better to have a young quarterback learning until he’s ready to play than run the risk of crushing his career by throwing him out there before he’s ready.
One needs look no further than Aaron Rodgers—one of the elite quarterbacks in the game—for confirmation of that theory.