The legend of Aaron Rodgers has morphed over the last four months. Here's how 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio described the Packers quarterback on Sept. 6, three days before the 49ers took on the Packers in Green Bay:
"Well, a great way to explain him is he's Drew Brees with great scrambling ability, and actually a little stronger arm. And the guy right now is at the top of his game and many people think he's the best quarterback in the NFL."
And here's what Fangio said about Rodgers Tuesday:
"... he reminds me of Dan Marino in the pocket with his quick, accurate release. And he reminds me of Steve Young out of the pocket. And that's a hell of a tough combination to defend."
How did Rodgers go from Bionic Brees to a half-Dan, half-Steve whose right arm was dipped into the River Styx? Perhaps Fangio was trying to keep his quotes fresh for the beatwriters because he knows we won't get much out of some other prominent figures this week. (See: Harbaugh, Jim; Kaepernick, Colin).
More likely: He wants to pump up Rodgers - to his players, to the media and to Rodgers. The stakes are higher this go around, so the Rodgers myth has to be a bit juicier. Also comparisons to Brees aren't quite as effective now as they were at the beginning of the season. The 49ers beat Brees in New Orleans earlier this year, sacking him five times, holding him to 267 passing yards and returning two interceptions for touchdowns.
Indeed, Fangio's defense faced the Top 5 quarterbacks from the 2011 -- Brees, Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning -- and beat all but one of them, Manning.
- Matt Barrows