GREEN BAY – There are different names for it. Some call it “the zone.” Aaron Rodgers referred to it last weekend as “a different headspace.”
Label it what you will, the Packers quarterback seems to be in it, and obviously he’d like to stay in it as Green Bay heads to Detroit with the NFC North title on the line Sunday night.
“If you could find and corral that zone you’d use it every single game,” Rodgers told reporters after practice on Wednesday. “But if you talk to players who have played throughout all the sports, there’s been games – Kobe (Bryant) scoring 81 points, Michael (Jordan) in the (Boston) Garden, probably, 63 (points), guys who have hit four home runs in a game, pitchers who pitched perfect-game no-hitters – you find that mental zone, and it doesn’t happen all the time.
“You wish it would, but you find it and you harness it and you use it for that game.”
Rodgers’ performance against the Vikings was one of his best, but he’s been pretty darn good for a while now.
He hasn’t thrown an interception in his last six games. His passer rating has dropped below 100 just once in that span, and only because the Packers had a season-high three rushing touchdowns in Chicago.
He repeated again on Wednesday that the second half of the Washington game back on Nov. 20 was when he felt the offense starting to click, and it’s no accident his “run the table” comment followed and the Packers’ five game-winning streak began the next week.
He’s played through hamstring and calf injuries over the past month but appears no worse for wear now. His mobility was pretty much 100 percent last Saturday vs. Minnesota, and the players took three full days off from on-field work before Wednesday.
“My injuries have definitely subsided. The rehab has continued, but I’m healing up at the right time,” Rodgers said. “I stand here today obviously feeling a lot better.”
That’s an uplifting thought as the Packers set their sights on a postseason berth and beyond. That’s where Rodgers’ focus lies, not on the MVP talk that his and the team’s hot streak has generated.
“I don’t vote on that. The voters take care of that stuff,” Rodgers said. “I’m worried about winning the NFC North right now. That stuff takes care of itself.”
The Packers have taken care of a lot just to get here.
Rodgers talked about this team needing to learn how to win, and how the hunger of the young players combined with the urgency of the veterans has everyone in the locker room striving to maximize on the chance they’ve earned.
All they could have asked for five games ago was the opportunity now in front of them. They don’t plan on squandering it.
“Everything that we’ve accomplished up until this point, the five-game win streak, pushing through adversity, doesn’t mean anything if we don’t take care of business on Sunday night,” Rodgers said. “We have to keep this thing going and it starts in Detroit, and hopefully continues on after that.”