GREEN BAY, Wis. — One of the NFL’s top quarterbacks learned from one of the best defensive backs in the game.
With Charles Woodson leading the defense and Aaron Rodgers running the offense, the Green Bay Packers had a remarkable run of success that included a Super Bowl win and a 15-1 record the following season.
The good friends will have a warm reunion tonight when the safety returns to Lambeau Field for the first time since signing with Oakland last year. The Raiders visit Green Bay for a preseason game.
“Charles is one of my all-time favorite teammates. Probably the most talented guy, most dominant player that I’ve played with during his stretch, from his time he got here until he left,” Rodgers said. “I learned so much from him.”
Whatever he picked up, he’s putting to good use. Rodgers practiced against Woodson extensively when he was running the scout team, and went up against Woodson every day in practice as the starter. He listened when Woodson would speak up, then watched the safety expand his leadership role.
Come tonight, Rodgers will try to pick apart a Raiders defense that has struggled early. It’s expected to be the 2011 NFL MVP’s most extensive action before the season opener against Seattle in two weeks.
Combined during the first two weeks against the Raiders, Matt Cassel and Matthew Stafford were 14 for 16 for 150 yards and two touchdowns against the first-team Oakland defense, and they led three touchdown drives in four possessions.
“It’s the ultimate test. A-Rod is the best quarterback in the league, in my eyes.,” Woodson said of Rodgers. “Their offense has been explosive. I’ve seen it firsthand for many years.”
The Packers’ first-team offense was in midseason form last week against St. Louis, albeit against an admittedly vanilla defense. Rodgers was 11 for 13 for 128 yards on two first-half drives, both leading to scores.
Woodson, who still has a lot of friends in Titletown, is looking forward to returning.