Aaron Rodgers told us the other day: Offenses were not going to suffer because of any abbreviated off-season workout time due to the lockout.
"With four or five weeks of training camp, so much time in the meeting rooms, on the practice field, this is going to be a well-prepared football team. I laugh about the people talking about, 'Is this going to be a sloppier first few weeks?' … No, it's not."
Smart guy, that Aaron Rodgers.
He knows his team, and he knows what he's capable of, and he was right. Rodgers was dead-on, all night. The weird thing? As brilliant as he was -- 27 of 35, 312 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions -- you could make the argument that his counterpart, Drew Brees, was even better.
Brees threw for 419 yards on the evening, granted, a total that was inflated because his team trailed all night long, and throwing furiously was the only chance they had. The stats don't really tell the whole story on Brees, though. He made a handful of throws, particularly late in the game, that had to fit into a window about the size of a football covered in plastic wrap.
He was incredible. He finished 32 of 49 for 419 yards and three touchdowns, and hit six different receivers. Rodgers hit nine difference receivers, which is also kind of crazy, but of the six different guys to catch a Brees ball, no one caught fewer than four passes. That's not just hitting a lot of guys, that's really using a lot of guys.
It's still hard to believe that we just saw a game that good on the opening Thursday night. I'm a little ashamed of myself for this, but to me, the lockout is barely a distant memory now. Just Thursday morning, I was still angry about it. Thursday night, the NFL kissed my cheek, patted me on the fanny, and I couldn't be happier to be crawling back to them.
I still suspect we're going to see some offenses struggle on Sunday, but it won't be because of a shortened off-season. It'll be because those teams don't have Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, but instead, someone like Alex Smith or Tarvaris Jackson.