Rodgers 'off the charts' as 100th start approaches
He had a birthday Tuesday, so Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is well aware he isn't getting any younger.
On Monday, he'll get another reminder.
Rodgers is scheduled to make his 100th career start when the Packers host the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field for Monday Night Football. Naturally, he was asked about the milestone Thursday while speaking with reporters at his locker.
Yes, Rodgers said, he's well aware of what his 100th start means in context.
"I just turned 31. I'm getting kind of old in this league here," Rodgers said. "A hundred starts, that's kind of all it means. I'm not too excited either way about it. Hopefully, get another hundred."
Rodgers, an MVP frontrunner, is only getting better with age.
The Packers quarterback added another award to his list Thursday. Rodgers was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month, the seventh time he's been named conference player of the month in his career. He tied New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the second-most conference player of the year honors since the award started being handed out in 1986, one behind Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for most ever.
In November, Rodgers became the third player in NFL history – joining Brady and Manning – to toss 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions in a calendar month. He accomplished it despite the Packers' bye week falling Nov. 2.
Rodgers has 32 touchdown passes against three interceptions this season, an almost unbelievable ratio. His 118.6 passer rating is 10.8 ahead of Manning, who's ranked second with 107.8.
"No disrespect to any quarterback in the NFL, but right now he's at a level that much higher than anybody else," Falcons coach Mike Smith said Thursday. "When you look at his pure statistics, they're phenomenal. And then when you watch the tape, it's even more impressive. He's got a great grasp of how to attack defenses. He's extending plays.
"He's been very accurate. His quarterback rating is off the charts. I don't know that there's been a quarterback that's had a stretch like he's had in the history of the NFL."
Monday's quarterback matchup won't have the same flare as Rodgers vs. Brady did last week. Still, against Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Rodgers will face another one of the league's top quarterbacks before a national audience.
The Falcons and Packers have played a few common opponents this season, including the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. On film, Ryan has already seen Rodgers' at his best.
"He's been playing at a high level for a long time," Ryan said. "I've always had a ton of respect for him and watch what he does."
Rodgers said he appreciates the "kind words" from competitors, but he isn't focused on how well he's played this season. Perhaps the thing that makes Rodgers special is an inability maintain satisfaction. No matter the accomplishments, he wants more.
Which is why Rodgers is already looking forward to his next 100 starts.
"I think you just have to realize that you're one game away from getting thrown in the trash," Rodgers said. "So you've got to continue to stay focused on the things you can control – your preparation, your performance each week – and realize this is a "What have you done for me lately" league. As long as we're all taking care of our responsibilities, the team as a collective gets the recognition we deserve, and individually we all get some bones thrown are way at all."
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