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Point of Veau: Packers Can't Let Opposing Quarterbacks Rule the Roost with Rodgers Out

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Point of Veau: Packers Can't Let Opposing Quarterbacks Rule the Roost with Rodgers Out

There's two statistics in the NFL that are the biggest barometers of success, or lack thereof––whether it's one particular game or over the course of an entire season.

One is turnover differential, which we've already examined in-depth this season, and the other is passer rating differential. And both tell the story of why the Packers are 5-4, on a two-game losing streak and on the outside looking in at the NFC playoff picture.

The Packers currently rank tied for 23rd in the NFL with a negative-four turnover differential, in large part because they have an NFL-low three defensive interceptions this season.

But for as much as the running game has taken on new importance in Green Bay, passer rating differential still does an incredibly good job of which teams win and which do not.

It's largely because passer rating differential takes into account not only how well one team does passing the football but also how the defense does at stopping another team's passing game.

Passer rating is influenced by either success or failure. It's impacted positively to a great extent by throwing touchdown passes and a lesser extent by simple completions.

On the other hand, it's impacted negatively to a greater extent by throwing interceptions and to a lesser extent by tossing incompletions (that aren't intercepted).

The result speak for themselves. The Packers are 4-0 when they have a passer rating higher than that of their opponent and are 1-4 when the opponent out-performs the Packers quarterbacks.

The only time the Packers won this season despite their adversary having the higher passer rating was against Baltimore when Joe Flacco had a rating of 112.6 while Aaron Rodgers had a rating of just 84.8.

Here's a quick look at how the Packers' passer rating compared to their opponent on a game-by-game basis this season:

  • Game 1 loss: SF 129.4, GB 102.6; Differential: -26.8
  • Game 2 win: WAS 104.2, GB 146.0; Differential: +41.8
  • Game 3 loss: CIN 105.5, GB 64.5; Differential: -41.0
  • Game 4 win: DET 89.8, GB 106.8; Differential: +17.0
  • Game 5 win: BAL 112.6, GB 84.8; Differential: -27.8
  • Game 6 win: CLE 48.6, GB 117.8; Differential: +69.2
  • Game 7 win: MIN 86.4, GB 130.6; Differential: +44.2
  • Game 8 loss: CHI 90.7, GB 57.8; Differential: -32.9
  • Game 9 loss PHI 149.3, GB 74.5; Differential: -74.8

Green Bay ranks 17th in the NFL in passer rating differential this season, according to ColdHardFootballFacts.com, with a positive rating of 0.46.

The past two games in particular have been disheartening, as the Packers lost Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone one possession into the Bears game.

Since Rodgers has been gone, the Packers have expectedly gotten inferior quarterback play from backups Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien.

What's come as unexpected, however, is the play of the Packers defense, allowing the Bears' Josh McCown and Eagles' Nick Foles to play at a Pro Bowl level.

The play of Tolzien this past Sunday, no doubt, was encouraging, but expecting him to reprise Rodgers would be foolish.

While Rodgers wasn't immune to poor outings, such as he had against Cincinnati this season, they come few and far between.

Tolzien might be able to keep the Packers competitive, but the Packers are going to win very few games unless they get some help from their defense, and it has to be a team effort.

The onus falls largely on the secondary to grab interceptions, but the job becomes much easier if the front seven is providing a steady pass rush, something they haven't done with regularity in 2013.

No win is going to come easy as long as Rodgers remains out. Tolzien must keep the Packers in game by limiting turnovers, but the defense simply has to be better.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I think its time for Capers to start scheming against offenses to confuse them. Try some new looks. Maybe unveil the Psycho again. Perhaps the Big Oakie.

I would like to see the Psycho especially though. When that package worked it worked good, and it confused OL and created pressure. If your normal rushes aren't getting to the QB, its time to change it up.

Derek in CO's picture

You also need DBs who can see and catch. We don't.

Evan's picture

I'd take "knock the ball down" at this point.

TommyG's picture

This stat speaks volumes as to just how vital AR is to our offense. I feel that it also shows just how lousy our defense is at pass coverage. I think that our defense has made most opponents (except cleveland) look good this year. We need players that can cover and give our pass rush a chance to creat pressure. Likewise we need our DL and LB to create some more pressure so that our terrible coverage unit has a chance at a pass defense.

Longshanks's picture

Excellent article Brian. Yes, I am worried less about Tolzein than I am about our defense making Eli look like Peyton. It's time for this defense to turn things around before it's too late. This game is a do or die game as far as I am concerned. Get it done defense!!

Longshanks

Evan's picture

Take it for whatever it's worth, but listening to Bill Simmons podcast right now and he said he ran into Cobb last night and Cobb told him that Rodgers will be back much sooner than everyone thinks.

"Don't count us out, 12 will be back sooner than people think."

Longshanks's picture

Honestly, I'd like to think the reason he's rushing back sooner other than the fact he feels better is because he fears for his job being taken away by Tolzein.

Either way I hope Cobb is right on this. Cobb seems like a straight shooter so that's damn good to hear. In the meantime I am rooting like hell for Tolzein to do what most backups in Green Bay have failed to do and that's win a damn football game!! and not be the weak link!! One game Scott!! Win it and you are a hero for life in Green Bay!!

Longshanks

A Dude's picture

Yes man, that's the reason. Rodgers fears Tolzien will make him expendable. Absolutely.

Longshanks's picture

So you are also thinking this? Makes me feel better as I thought I was the only one. I was afraid to say it at first.

Longshanks

Point Packer's picture

"Honestly, I’d like to think the reason he’s rushing back sooner other than the fact he feels better is because he fears for his job being taken away by Tolzein."

I can't decide if you do this to get a reaction or if you are just an idiot.

Longshanks's picture

"I can’t decide if you do this to get a reaction or if you are just an idiot."

I can't decide if you do this to get a reaction or if you are just an idiot.

Longshanks

A Dude's picture

Yes man I ABSOLUTELY MEANT IT BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW RODGERS IS A SYSTEM QB.

TommyG's picture

And a future milliionaire in Seattle! Go Scott!

bomdad's picture

Rodgers show on ESPN Milwaukee, he said it was just last night that he could sleep through the night. So that is less than good news.

Stroh's picture

I fail to see how that relates to his overall recovery. Your reaching for bad news.

RunAndHyde's picture

So......about this Ed Reed guy...

A Dude's picture

NO. He's a fossil.

RunAndHyde's picture

So...M.D. is better than an older Reed?..gotcha.

Point Packer's picture

Ed Reed would be a step up from MD. But there is no way TT will sign him. None. Nada. Not going to happen.

One of those personnel decisions (if you can call it that, who knows if Reed would be willing to come to GB) where I actually question the TT dogma, which I consistently defend. MD has proven he is not the guy back there. At this point in the season, a band-aid with one last shot may be an answer to a clear defensive liability.

As I have said before, the Safety position is our weakest defensive position grouping, by far.

RunAndHyde's picture

I know there is a 0% chance ....but a green n yellow jersey with Reed on the back would be amazing.

A Dude's picture

I never said Jennings was better, only that Reed was old as a fossil. He'll get injured trying to keep up with a fullback.

Point Packer's picture

At least he won't get run over by that same FB (see MD Jennings).

I agree Ed is old. But good lord, it really cannot get that much worse back there and we can't bench MD because, with the exception of Banjo (young/raw), there is no one else that has proven they can do any more than old "Mister bat the dam ball down."

If we have the cash and he is willing to play, then why the hell not?

Answer: Cause it is nto TT's style or temperament to make rash mid-season changes (minus QB this year). Which, as I said before, I generally agree with.

Evan's picture

I'd rather see Huff or Rhodes over Reed...but none of the above is far likelier.

What were the circumstances around the Howard Green waiver claim in 2010? Dline injuries? Ineffectivness? I can't remember.

Realistically, it's gonna take an injury to MD or McMillian to see some fresh blood back there (CMIII, Rodgers, Cobb, Finley - they all get hurt. Got Jennings and McMillian never miss a practice.) And then it'd likely be some 1st or 2nd year kid we've never heard of.

Stroh's picture

He's already injured. He's only playing part time snaps as it is. Reed was a great Safety, but he is a fossil as someone mentioned. No sense bothering w/ him, not to mention the discussion is pointless!

razor's picture

Packer's D is a huge pile of steaming shit with Capers sitting on top!

larry valdes's picture

EEf reed will be a replacement for woodson ted this your chance the texans paid him the big money that you wise didn't want to paid so get him now the gay is play macker we really need him he is good leader go for it ted this your chance.this is my last time I goin to tell you we neeeeeed a safety

lebowski's picture

the gay is a play macker. love it.

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Enough with the hate speak!

TommyG's picture

Spell check vs. inebriation!

Bibbon Hazel's picture

This defense is terrible. Time to play the playmakers! Hyde needs to be in the field full time, if for nothing else just his ability to tackle a guy in the open field. Since Hayward has been on the field the defense has been lost and can't tackle, why take a playmaker off the field for a rusty bad tackler is beyond me. Also, Banjo! Play Banjo!! He is not a liability as MD is! Play the guy! All he does is his JOB every time he steps on the field! Take your loyalty and shove it Dom!! Time to use your eyes and the film and notice the production rather than basing your lineup on loyalty!

cincypackfan's picture

it looks like we're running a lot more man coverage vs zone this season. doesn't man coverage put their backs to the ball more? then they lose (1) the ability to jump routes (2) the ability to track the ball at all and (3) the ability to not look dumb when the ball is caught right over their heads while they are looking away.....or does it just LOOK like that a lot more this year? sorry to ask this, but is man coverage a lot more simple to run...based upon simplifying things (ya get my implication here?)

RunAndHyde's picture

Get Hyde Banjo and Lattimore on the field ...I'm with ya Hazel.

lennysmalls's picture

We shall see against Manning and the G-man on Sunday. He's thrown a ton of picks this season, largely due to a poor offensive line. However, I don't know if the Packers are capable of pressuring Manning enough.

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