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Aaron Rodgers is a major figure in Jared Goff's earliest football memories.While Goff was a little kid growing up in Marin County Greg Zuerlein Jersey , his father took him to games at Berkeley's Memorial Stadium, where he watched Rodgers' collegiate brilliance for California.That kid also got one of his first lessons in professional sports heartbreak when his favorite NFL team — the San Francisco 49ers — used the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft on Alex Smith instead of Rodgers."Yeah, 10-year-old Jared was very upset when he found out they didn't take Aaron," Goff said.Once he grew up and filled out, Goff followed Rodgers' path to Berkeley. And 3陆 years after Goff became the No. 1 pick that Rodgers never was, they'll face each other for the first time when Goff's unbeaten Los Angeles Rams (7-0) host Rodgers' Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) on Sunday.A significant NFC showdown between the NFL's last unbeaten team and a perennial power is also a meeting of a rising quarterback star and one of his heroes, still in his prime. Both Golden Bears are excited by the opportunity."I've followed his whole career," Goff said. "Big fan of his. There are times where we're watching him play against the defense (the Rams are supposed to be scouting), and you get stuck on watching him. He's a great player. I've got a lot of respect for him, and it'll be fun to get a chance to go against him."The feeling is mutual for the 34-year-old Rodgers as he leads the Packers back to the venerable Coliseum, where their storied franchise won the first Super Bowl in 1967."I've gotten to know Jared a little bit over the last couple years, and being a Cal guy, obviously I'm pulling for him," Rodgers said."And he's played really well. They've put a lot on his plate with (checkdowns) and stuff at the line of scrimmage, and he does a good job with that. He's an accurate passer. He's making good throws. He's got some weapons to throw to Authentic Tyler Higbee Jersey , but he's been extremely accurate and efficient with the ball. That's what you need with the quarterback."Rodgers already has his own Coliseum memories: He tied an NCAA record by completing his first 23 passes for Cal against USC in their famous meeting in 2004, but the Trojans hung on for a 23-17 victory.More things to watch in the Packers' first appearance at the Coliseum since before the NFL left LA in 1994:LONG ODDSThe Packers are coming off their bye week, but they opened as 8陆-point underdogs for this matchup against the powerhouse Rams, who are 18-5 in the regular season since coach Sean McVay took over.That's the biggest betting disadvantage of Rodgers' career as Green Bay's starter, but nobody doubts Rodgers' ability to overcome it — including the Rams."He's got the ball placement, he's got the arm, he's got the competitive (attitude), he's got the heart," said Rams cornerback Marcus Peters, who also grew up in the Bay Area watching Rodgers at Cal. "Every time (Rodgers is) on that field for the Packers, they've got a good chance to win it."START ME UPThe Rams are off to their first 7-0 start since 1985. The franchise hasn't started 8-0 since 1969, when NFL MVP Roman Gabriel led Los Angeles to an 11-0 start followed by four straight losses.CLAY'S HOMECOMINGPackers linebacker Clay Matthews grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs, and he walked on at USC before becoming a star and a first-round NFL pick in 2009. He is playing at the venerable Coliseum for the first time since college.So is Nick Perry, who played at USC from 2009-11. "It'll be cool to go back out there, obviously Youth Michael Brockers Jersey ," Matthews said. "It will be different being in the opposing locker room."GURLEY'S GAMEGoff aside, Green Bay's defense must figure out how to slow running back Todd Gurley, who is putting up even more impressive numbers than he managed as the AP's Offensive Player of the Year in 2017. Gurley leads the league with 88 points, 686 yards rushing, 144 carries and 956 yards from scrimmage. The Packers' run defense is ranked 22nd in the league, giving up a hefty 4.5 yards per carry.SHIELDS SIGHTINGCornerback Sam Shields made the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2010, and he was a steady defensive contributor until he incurred his fourth concussion in the 2016 season opener.After nearly two years out of football, he joined the Rams this season . Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams says he consulted with Shields regularly about his health during his absence."At one point I was on the bandwagon with him, like, 'Man, you need to call it quits,'" Williams said. "And on the other side, after he had some time off, his mind is cleared and he's back mentally ready to go." The sun had nearly set over the Ventura County hills by the time the Los Angeles Rams left their practice fields Thursday night, and it was dark outside when they finally left the locker room.With a Monday night road opener coming up http://www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authe...ker-jersey , coach Sean McVay is putting his Rams on a one-week schedule of late arrivals and later practices. He's hoping the Rams will be fully awake when they hit the Coliseum field in Oakland."The circadian rhythm is what I've learned," McVay said with a smile.As he showed in keeping nearly his entire first-team offense out for the entire preseason, McVay doesn't hesitate to try anything to get an edge for his Rams, who welcome the opportunity to begin a season of enormous expectations under a national television spotlight. The late kickoff could keep his players on the field until an hour past their normal bedtimes, so he switched up the schedule."I think you continue to learn ... how the body just gets acclimated and adjusts to peaking at the right time when you are kicking off at 7:20," McVay said. "Typically, you're practicing earlier in the day for when you're kicking off at 1 o'clock out here. There's just a different element of what your natural body rhythm goes through."McVay's players clearly think he has earned the right to be trusted after he engineered Los Angeles' stunning turnaround in his debut season. The Rams' offense hasn't showed any concern about taking its first snap together in a game that counts after McVay declined to play the starters in four preseason games.They can even laugh about it: When Aaron Donald was asked about his readiness after holding out through the entire preseason, the Defensive Player of the Year replied: "Well, nobody really played in a preseason game this year. It ain't just me. It's everybody."McVay realizes many coaches disagree with the Rams' approach to this preseason. Jared Goff likely could have used a few live series to work on his timing with new receiver Brandin Cooks, and the offensive line might have benefited from a few snaps with Austin Blythe, the probable replacement for suspended right guard Jamon Brown in the first two games.McVay simply didn't want to tempt injury in games that don't count."It might not be for everybody," McVay said. "In an ideal world, you would like to be able to have (Goff) get that experience. But at the risk for what we thought could potentially occur, that was a decision that we made, and I totally respect and understand that people might disagree with that."The results are going to predicate what that final (success of the decision) is Lamarcus Joyner Jersey , and I'm OK with those consequences, knowing that you've got to take ownership of your decisions."NOTES: Inside linebacker Mark Barron was the only Rams player who didn't practice. His ankle injury still hasn't healed, and the veteran realizes he might not be ready to play Monday. "It's most definitely frustrating, but we kind of expected it coming off the injuries that I had," Barron said. "You've always got to be careful with it. We're just taking it day by day." If Barron can't play, he's confident in newcomer Ramik Wilson's ability to fill in. ... The Rams re-signed safety Isaiah Johnson one day after waiving him. The third-year pro has moved between the practice squad and the 53-man roster for the past two seasons, playing in four games. Johnson is the 54th player on the roster for the Rams, who have a roster exception for Donald. ... Goff, Todd Gurley, Andrew Whitworth, Michael Brockers, Aqib Talib and punter Johnny Hekker were named team captains.
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