Preseason is proving ground for Rodgers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here are five observations on the Green Bay Packers, based on camp practices of Aug. 3:

1. Aaron Rodgers' practice play might help stop some of the rampant criticism the second-year quarterback has been facing.
He looks so much better than last summer. He's more confident stepping into throws and appears more in control this summer. He knows the preseason will be important because it likely will be his only playing time.

Now that Brett Favre is back, pro football's ironman isn't expected to open up any playing time for Rodgers unless there is an injury or a blowout. Rodgers waits, and it's a painful wait. He's bothered by the national criticism and has little opportunity to change those opinions. All he has is four preseason games and maybe six quarters of action to show improvement and potential. Veterans around the locker room aren't sold Favre will retire at the end of this season. Some think he might have another season in him after this year. To quiet some of the critics, Rodgers needs to play well in the preseason games.