QB coach feels relaxed Rodgers is ready to respond

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gets sacked by linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit.

The R-E-L-A-X message Aaron Rodgers delivered earlier this week to the Green Bay Packers' fan base has certainly generated discussion.

Even Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler jokingly cautioned: "I don't know if I'd advise him to do that, though. Sometimes that can backfire on you."

However, Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt likes what he hears, especially when considering the Packers have come back from 1-2 starts in each of the past two seasons to make the playoffs.

The passing offense has been pedestrian (20th in the NFL), but there's still plenty of time for things to settle, especially with Rodgers under center.

"I like it. That's kind of the feeling of the room," Van Pelt said. "We're three games in. We haven't set the world on fire yet. Offensively, we're used to doing that. We know it's in there, it's in our blood. It's just a matter of having that breakout game."

Rodgers' 95.1 quarterback rating is currently 21st in the NFL and nearly 10 points below his career average of 104.6, which also happens to be the league record.

Although the numbers aren't bad, Rodgers hasn't been as sharp as fans have grown accustom early on. This week, he admitted he underthrew receiver Jordy Nelson on fourth-and-5 on the offense's final drive during Sunday's 19-7 loss to the Detroit Lions.

This weekend, Rodgers and the Packers' offense will be pitted against the Chicago Bears, whose secondary has lost Charles Tillman for the season but also drafted Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller in the first round of May's draft.

Rodgers is 9-3 lifetime against the Bears with a 100.9 quarterback rating. His finest hour may have come in last December's regular-season finale where he hit Randall Cobb on a 48-yard touchdown in a winner-take-all battle for the NFC North title.

If the Packers get the offense back on track at Soldier Field, it should silence the early season doubters.

"I think we'll feel better if we put a good performance out on Sunday, I think things will turn for us a little," Van Pelt said. "But nobody's down, nobody's disappointed. We're frustrated, like I said, that we didn't have the success that we thought we would have up in Detroit, but that's football. It's a long season. We've been in this spot now all three years that I've been here. I've seen what can happen when this thing gets going, and that's fully what we expect."

Rodgers has put together some of his best performances after his poorest outings. His 162 yards passing were the second-fewest Rodgers has had in a game he's played start to finish.

The Packers never have started a season 1-3 in the Rodgers Era. Historically, that should mean he's due.

"He's very prideful in his play and his direction of the offense," Van Pelt said. "A game like that can kind of stir the hornet's nest in him a little bit and he usually responds as well."

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