Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Rodgers, Phelps, More

Today's Calls: Aaron Rodgers vs. Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin vs. Aaron Peirsol, Adam Dunn vs. Manny Ramirez, Steve Smith vs. Bobby Engram and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The Packers are going to be just fine. That was the lesson of Aaron Rodgers' (preseason) debut (as starting QB). ↵

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↵In four series, he generated 10 points on 9-for-15 passing for 117 yards, with a 30-yard TD pass (and an INT that wasn't his fault). He missed one big would-be-TD throw, but also was pinged by a couple drops. ↵

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↵All in all? He played like a competent NFL starter in an exhibition against a 1st-team D. (For comparison: In the 2007 preseason opener, starter Brett Favre was 2-for-7 for 7 yards and had 0 TDs in a 13-9 win against the Steelers.) ↵

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↵Did the performance inspire me to draft Rodgers for my fantasy league? No. Did it shout, “Return to NFC title game?” No. Should it inspire Packers fans to rush out and buy No. 12 jerseys? No. ↵

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↵Should it begin to ease the pain of losing Brett Favre? Absolutely. ↵

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↵Olympics: After his relay celebration, Michael Phelps is now all-business. He took on that 200-meter free like he was on a mission — accomplished — when he smashed the world record and earned his third gold (and third WR) in three days. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, there were two amazing 100-meter back performances from Aaron Peirsol (WR) and Natalie Coughlin, both of whom seem likely to be performing in their final Olympics. (Peirsol was dominant; Coughlin had to hang on, and when she finally did, she grinned like she knew she just swiped a gold. Love that.) ↵

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↵More: USA Oops Update. Echoes of the Dream Team's signature moment in 1992 when the Redeem Team takes on Angola this morning (or maybe it's just an excuse to watch that Marvin Gaye Nike ad again). ... China got its win-or-else gold in men's gymnastics. ... Jennie Finch: No-no for USA ace. ... Is the Spanish hoops team coming off as racist? Umm ... ya think? ... Yes, Mark Spitz has every right to be a little pissed. It will come across like sour grapes, but he deserved to be in Beijing. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Adam Dunn is the D-backs' answer to Manny Ramirez, in a deal that should remind you that the “July 31 trade deadline” is just an abstract ideal. He brings 32 HRs and the support of Fire Joe Morgan. ↵

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↵More: Speaking of Manny, my leading NL MVP candidate had 2 RBIs in a Dodgers win over the Phillies. ... Injury Watch: Evan Longoria (broken wrist) Ack!!! ... Jim Leyland is shocked — shocked! — that Gary Sheffield is unhappy; is anyone else? ... Big win for Josh Beckett over John Danks and the White Sox. ... Twins make statement by shutting out the Yanks. ... Huge battle between NL playoff contenders: Cards beat Marlins. ↵

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↵Bruce Springsteen to play Super Bowl XLIII halftime? ↵

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↵Donovan McNabb on T.O.: "It could’ve been great." Wow, that's living in some serious denial. That's like Colts fans (Baltimore Colts fans) saying John Elway “could have been great.” ↵

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↵CFB Injury Watch: No. 1 Georgia lost starting LT Trinton Sturdivant to a knee injury, the severity of which is unknown, but the implications of which could be massive for the national-title scrum. ↵

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↵NFL WR Report: In what can only be described as karmic payback, Panthers WR Steve Smith didn't practice on Monday after that concussion in Saturday's preseason opener. ... After Bobby Engram (out 2 months), how many Seahawks WRs can you name? ... Favre Fawning: Brett Favre throws too hard for Jets WRs, apparently. ... Matt Jones looks strong as a 1st-round pick for your Fantasy Felon League. ↵

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↵If you're going to start a pro football minor league, and you want to get some publicity, the first thing you should say is: "We're going to have Michael Vick." (A+ for marketing savvy.) ↵

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↵Blog Must-Read: Dan Steinberg's interview with Craig Sager. ↵

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↵The Last Word: You don't have to be a former rower to know that the worst excuse for being DQ'ed in an Olympic event is not knowing the time you race and not showing up. Someone is going to lose a job (or more) over this. (h/t FanHouse) ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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