Rodgers needs to go deep or Packers will struggle in '08

For the first time in 18 years, Brett Favre isn't going to be under center in Green Bay. Now, the short-term success of the Packers' entire franchise is on first-time starter Aaron Rodgers' shoulders. He will never be Favre, but he doesn't have to be because he has a plethora of talent around him and a coach who will tweak the West Coast offense to cater to Rodgers' strengths.

Head coach Mike McCarthy's West Coast offense is a great system for an unproven quarterback, like Rodgers, to develop in. Inexperienced quarterbacks tend to hold on to the football too long, but because this system is based on mostly three-step and five-step drops, Rodgers should be able to get rid of the ball quicker. He performed well in this system against Dallas last season. He did a good job of dropping back, getting rid of the ball and taking what the Cowboys gave him. But, the Packers' offense needs to add the deep ball to its West Coast system. Rodgers' ability to connect on the deep ball is going to play a large role in Green Bay's offensive success this season.

One thing that made the Packers' West Coast offense under Favre a little different was the element of the big play via the deep ball. Favre was able to scramble and let his receivers get downfield. Rodgers is not nearly as athletic or mobile, but McCarthy must call for some deep balls in order to keep the defense honest. If not, defenses will start bringing their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage, which would make it more difficult to run a traditional West Coast system because it is more difficult to connect on slants, curls and outs.