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Rodgers Is Right

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Rodgers Is Right

Aaron Rodgers caused a small commotion after the game yesterday when asked about the gameplan going into the Lions game. Greg Bedard posed the original question and got this as Rodgers' initial response:

Offensively we’ve got to find our identity again I think we've got to make sure that we've got our best players on the field at all times and find ways to get them the ball. We had some ad-libs today where we hit Donald (Driver) on the big play today. Take that play away and there’s clearly not a whole lot of production...I think we need to find ways to keep our best players on the field and find ways to get them the ball.

Bedard, much to his credit, followed up on that, asking Rodgers to clarify his statement in regards to keeping "the best players on the field".

Rodgers response:

We had great production last week getting in the shotgun, spreading them out. Chicago is a tough scheme. I think Detroit runs their scheme well but I don't think we gave them a chance (by) spreading them out enough to find those mismatches. When we did, I think we were pretty productive.

And after a few other questions, Bedard circled back one last time, asking Rodgers specifically if he though the offenses identity should be the spread we saw last Monday night, specifically throughout the second half against the Bears.

I think you have to see what's working. We had a lot of success last week. Chicago plays a different scheme than Detroit does but I think we can dink and dunk out of the spread and I think we can attack down the field. We need to continue to find ways to keep our best weapons on the field at all times.  

Let it be said loud and clear, far and wide:

Aaron Rodgers is absolutely right.

Now, Bedard has a point when he says that all quarterbacks are biased, that they almost always want to throw more and think they are the best option when it comes to moving the football. At least the better quarterbacks do. But Rodgers is spot on when he looks at an offense that, when presented with a 3rd and 2 in the first quarter, ran John Kuhn on a stretch play out of a shotgun set.

That, in a word, is stupid. And Rodgers knows it.

Mike McCarthy will no doubt be having some words with his quarterback tomorrow, if he hasn't already. But when he does, I hope he allows Rodgers to plead his case. In a way, this is similar to what they went through last year after the Bengals game, where Rodgers made a public plea to McCarthy to send more guys out in pass patterns and let him take care of getting rid of the ball, rather than keeping more guys in to protect. (This concept was the basis of an article in the Maple Street Press' Packers Annual by Chris Brown of Smart Football. If you haven't  yet, but your copy here. And thank me later.)

I know some fans might point at Rodgers two interceptions as reason for trying to "establish a running game" (I hate that phrase) and "take some pressure of Rodgers" (another ridiculous concept) but I have zero problem with either of the throws Rodgers made there. The throw up the right sideline where he thought Jennings was ready for a back-shoulder throw was just a case of two guys being on different pages. It happens. And on the second one, he has Jennings one-on-one after the Lions double Finley. Like Rodgers said after the game, you throw that 10 out of 10 times, no questions asked. It was almost a freak play how Jennings was off balance just enough for the cornerback to take it away from him and come down with it.

Look, I've been one of the people saying Rodgers needs to be more aggressive - a thought he echoed this summer during training camp, saying he wanted to take more calculated risks when guys were seemingly "covered". With that, you take the good and the bad. Yes the deep ball to Jennings was unfortunate, but how could anyone argue with the laser to Finley in the endzone? That's a throw Rodgers has no business making, but the result is a touchdown. The only concern I might have with the second Jennings throw would be that it came on first down after the defense had already been on the field for a day and a half. But again, with Jennings singled up deep, its hard not to take a shot.

Rodgers is absolutely right to say the Packers did their best work on offense when they spread the Bears out and moved up and down the field using short passes in lieu of the running game. If Thompson and McCarthy are steadfast in their belief that Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn are all they need at running back, the least they can do is ride the player and the gameplan that gives them the best chance at winning - and that is Aaron Rodgers throwing the football, not trying to prove that they can run the football.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (53) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

davyjones's picture

That TD to Finley was just a shocking throw--just stunning. AR has earned the right to voice his opinion openly and be have MM respectfully listen and welcome his input. He hasn't played his best ball this year and I really look forward to seeing that.

Cole's picture

That TD throw to Finley was one of the best throws I have ever seen. And what can you say about Finley, he catches EVERYTHING.

some guy's picture

Complete agreement on this. you have a future hall of fame type QB on your roster with an O-line that doesn't run block well and with slow running backs. Pass first to set up the run. Use more draws and screens to slow down the pass rush. running a traditional style is stupidity defined. Put the ball in Rodger's hand's and let him make plays.

I am convinced that the Packers think they have an answer coming in 2 weeks in James Starks. Otherwise I think we would have seen a bigger deal by now than Nance. The schedule is getting brutal and we need something out of the run game. Starks is the kind of explosive player the Packers really haven't seen in a long, long time. he's the kind of guy that can bounce plays outside for long runs when the O-line isn't opening holes and is a checkdown guy that has huge play potential.

I hope he's been studying and getting healthy because his table is waiting.

thepretzelhead's picture

El perfecto!

Morli's picture

I really think Rodgers is one of the more intelligent guys, not just on the field, footballwise around. A rather underrated feature.

fish's picture

Rodgers is very analytically minded. On the other side of the spectrum we have Cutler, who always has that look like the wind just changed at the pig farm.

Cole's picture

And to think, Cutler went to Vandy. Crazyness.

bomdad's picture

Does he pass a concussion screening on any normal day?

Jayme's picture

While I agree 100% with what he said, I think this is the absolute wrong way to say it. If he has a complaint he needs to keep it in-house. If it's gotten to the point where his in-house complaints aren't being heard (which I'm not saying it has), then we have a much larger problem than just a bad game plan.

Austin Auch's picture

It worked for us when he did it last year.

greenbaypackerbob's picture

I can totally agree with Rodgers analysis but your assessment of the 'calculated risk' on interceptions I'm not sold on... as well as your 'zero problem' comment on endzone TD. Quote "That's a throw Rodgers has no business making, but the result is a touchdown." You are correct, because if the defender merely glances back it is 'another' pick in the endzone! (so was that luck or good judgment?).
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Rodgers needs to keep building on the good judgment that has helped him so far. Likewise, there is also a 'calculated' difference between risky and reckless - I don't mind the risky part as long as it doesn't get reckless. Tipped balls, bad routes are one thing, but trying to force a play (unless only/last option) - not necessary.
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hyperRevue's picture

It was both - luck and good judgement. A calculated risk. Sometime those plays end up in amazing TDs (like with Finley) and sometimes they're picked off (like with Jennings). That's the whole point. I wouldn't call either of Rodger's INTs "reckless."

CSS's picture

Rodgers 'velocity' on the ball is off the charts, as is his overall accuracy on every throw a QB needs to make. Finley had 1/2 a step on the defender and Rodgers could see his head was turned off of Finley's break.

Zero luck involved.

Saying, 'Rodgers has no business throwing that ball' is a compliment that I read to say, 'Rodgers is one of only 3 QB's in the NFL capable of making that throw accurately and on time throughout the year.

hyperRevue's picture

I don't think you can say "zero luck" was involved. Every successful play in the NFL has some degree of luck involved, I'd say.

CSS's picture

Lets say for a moment we agree on that concept, then that play would register as an Infinitesimal number on any scale.

Practiced repetitively, perfectly executed.

hyperRevue's picture

I can agree with that. ha

greenbaypackerbob's picture

It can't be good judgment and "no business throwing that pass" at the same time. Risk and luck, that I will buy in this case... reckless, if it works out, no, if it doesn't, yes (that's how the commentary would have been otherwise - lucky for Rodgers it worked)
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No need to be impatient if you believe you have the weapons to win.

CSS's picture

Your taking Nagler's statement literally. I took it figuratively because he was in awe of the pitch and catch considering the coverage.

Nagler, help us out here.

packeraaron's picture

You're got it CSS - its just a figure of speech.

greenbaypackerbob's picture

taken literally or as a figure of speech... either way emphasize the high level of risk the throw was...
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go figure.

CSS's picture

Through 28 regular season games Rodgers has the highest QB rating on 3rd downs and the best red-zone decision making in the NFL. He's earned the right to throw that ball anytime he feels like it. There's nothing in his history as a QB that says, 'whoa, he can't/shouldn't make that throw, it's too risky'

I would think he's earned the benefit of the doubt in that department from fans to this point. He's your horse, you ride him as far as he will take you.

packeraaron's picture

Without that risk and resulting TD to Finely - the Packers lose. Would you be happier he didn't take risks and they lost? Of course not.

greenbaypackerbob's picture

How can you know that they would not have scored the TD to win w/o that pass ? (and TF without the added risk !!!). Does the Pack need to do this to win at the goal line? Hope we are better than that.
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greenbaypackerbob's picture

Point is simple, I think we can be a better team by shoring up other areas instead of taking more risks at QB -- which often end up as reckless attempts to win. e.g. Penalties, blocking, turnovers, defense on 3rd downs, special teams, etc., close those gaps and you will not have the Lions gaining 170 more yards than the Packers or multiple QB INT.
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Rodgers is not our problem... no need for him to try and 'force' a win or a pass unless out of options. When QBs get that mindset get ready for the roller coaster ride.
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fish's picture

Most Quarterbacks become Great because they play with Great receivers. The ‘calculated risk’ comes from knowing that, If they put the ball where the receiver has a chance to catch it, then that receiver will do his absoulute best to catch it. The Perfect Example is Rodgers and Finley. Rodgers knows that Finley will do everything he can to catch or defend Rodgers pass. There's a definite trust between them on the field. But Some receivers think the ball has to be placed in there hands, and those receivers become ignored eventually.

zub_a_dub's picture

I don't care about that first INT by Rodgers, but that second was just foolish, not by the physical play, but by the fact the defense had been on the field a long time. Thats just poor game management and being narrow minded.

MM + A-rod = head up their ***, on that play.

Even if he makes that throw and they score quickly, the defense is back on the field again in short time. More than likely making it easier for the Lions to match that score with a defense sucking wind.

Take time off the clock, ding and dunking without going out out of bounds, worst case you don't get into the end zone and kick the field goal.

Same situation happens with a better team like the vikings, we lose the game because of that play.

DaveK's picture

I also have no issue with that throw to Jennings. It was an excellent throw and it took an outstanding play by the CB to come down with that pass. Nine of out ten times that pass is completed or incomplete. Even if it falls incomplete it has a positive effect on how the defense plays going forward.

NickGBP's picture

The point is simple. Once again Jennings does not come up with the deep ball.

thepretzelhead's picture

OMG suddenly worried about Jennings on just two 60 yard bombs in traffic! Wow...we are going to the Super Bowl.

Sars's picture

MM stinks. We had a horrible game (penalties) against the Bears and thinking he would have the these guys totally pumped up for this game and I was completely disappointed. We looked like crap! He's juat very stale in the way he goes about things. No emotion what so ever. And on top of that bad play calling in crunch time. Just my oppinion.

thepretzelhead's picture

I think your oppinion tells a lot.

PackersRS's picture

When the first play run is a strong, even before the play happened, I was screaming my guts to MM. "Are you dumb, you f#$ f!#@$??? We've been killing everybody through the air, and you want to jumbo your way to defeat?" Then, it's a PA, and Rodgers goes deep to Jennings, and it's an INT. Are you freaking kidding me? Like CSS made the point, run is good when PA works. PA wasn't working. Yet they go to the freaking strong formation?

Like Rodgers said, this isn't a balanced team anymore. Stop trying to put square pegs into round roles. Spread them, MM!

Ruppert's picture

McCarthy is killing me right now. I'm about ready to post a 1,000 word rant on why I can't stand him, but I figure I should at least wait for another loss due mostly to penalties and lack of discipline. Find a way to read McGinn's insider piece on him from a few days ago. It's kind of depressing, but it's worth the read.

PkrNboro's picture

Find a way to read McGinn’s insider piece...
...any ideas on how I do that ?

JS has gotten a little greedy IMO -- c'mon, pay to see the chats (a buncha drunk homers bashing the keyboard, seemingly with mittens on)?

PackersRS's picture

Java.

andrew's picture

the problem is.. if u admit you arent a balanced team.. adn give up on the run game.. u will start to lose games.. ther is no question.. and if rodgers gets his way we will start losing games.. secondary might struggle on certain drives.. but we will not win.. look at the bears game.. rodgers played great.. yet we lost.. penalties are a problem yeah but when the lineman are scared shitless about the 5 people coming on the pass rush 1 of them being a stud.... they start to get jumpy.. u gotta run the ball man.. case closed.. no team wins without a running game... colts and patriots.. passing teams.. but have running games.. addai can run.. and the patriots always have a runningback that can take carries during the game..

PackersRS's picture

We need to be able to run late in games. Not be a balanced team.

The OL being scared shit isn't an argument. That just means they're terrible, run or pass.

The 07 Patriots threw all over the field, they didn't run at all. The Colts last year. You need a great QB to win games, not a running game. You need a running game to CLOSE games. And Kuhn is serviceable in that.

But if we're expecting the running game to set up 2nd and 5, we're gonna be shooting ourselves in the foot all season long.

Cole's picture

Is it possible that Capers and McCarthey were "Trying out" different formations and players to try and see what they could do in future games. Like Capers having the tryout at OLB with three diffferent guys in there, not doing exotic packages, etc. It's like they assumed we would spank the lions so they tried things that weren't neccessarily effective just to see what they have to work with? Does that make sense?

And we almost lost because of it.

PkrNboro's picture

Geez, if they're going to experiment then why can't they put the Oline-of-the-future in there -- especially, if they're up 2 touchdowns ?

fish's picture

It's like an inventor who never really gets that feeling that his invention is complete. He/She keeps tinkering with it to try and make it better. Meanwhile someone else copys it, sells it and makes millions while your still in the basement looking for complete perfection. The Barbre experiment was a perfect example, He's just gotta work, lets try something else next game, that didn't work, lets try something different.

Paulina's picture

I agree with you on this 100%. Let Rodgers throw the ball. I could not believe the plays called in this game! They should also let him call audibles too.. If they are set on not bringing in a premier RB.. then let Rodgers throw down field and exploit the secondaries that a lot of teams are having trouble with... If the QB is questioning the game plan... You may not be the winning game plan. Aaron Rodgers can see the right game plan why can't the coaches!!!!

fish's picture

Rodgers definately wants to air it out. It has to be hard for a guy that can flip a 60 yard pass with ease to dink and dunk down the field on stop routes all day. Especially when you have the leagues most explosive receivers and tight ends.

Paulina's picture

Waiting for Starks? All well and good, but if you think Starks can step right in the first week and automatically be 100% that is a pipe dream, and there is still the problem of blocking to create the holes for him to get through.. The O-Line needs to step it up before we see any consistent running game!

davyjones's picture

You're spot on Paulina. I am hopeful with Starks, but lets look at a couple of facts to keep things in perspective:
1)Didn't get a full off season in
2)Played at U of Buffalo
3)Hasn't seen real action since Jr Year-- missed entire senior year with injury.
4)He most likely will not be in any kind of game shape after 6 wks on PUP list.

This is pretty much a long shot solution, at best, to our RB issues...a very, very long shot.

andrew's picture

anyone who doesnt understand the concept of setting up the run needs a reality check.. its very important to set up some sort of run game.. always... makes you change your personell to defend against it which opens up the passing game.. the reason why rodgers has thrown so many picks at this point in the year unlike last season
is because grant is hurt nad we are unable to set up the running game and keep rodgers from throwin the ball 50 times a game.. i dont care who your qb is... you cant throw the ball 50 times a game.. every game.. once in a while.. sure go for it.. but this is starting to becmoe a tendency for our team and MM seems to be smart enough to know that we gotta stop before we become 1 dimensional... our offense will become ineffective..
i dont care if you spread your WRs i dont care waht you do... you will not be effective game in and game out if you are solely dependent on the passing game..
the o line being a run blocking o line or a pass blockin o line is irrelevant.. no one is askin for kuhn or jackson to have 100 yard games.. but u gotta be able to run the ball..

they will start to blitz the crap out of rodgers in a few weeks.. adn we will see golden boy asking for them to run the ball soon enough...

"setting up the running game" and "taking pressure off rodgers" may seem stupid to you.. but the are fundamentals in football if you want to win games consistently

andrew's picture

colts patriots.... saints.. all have running games.. bush addai.. patriots change there back but had marshal faulk back there for aw hile.. always have running games.. always..
u fear teh pass.. respect the run... recipe for success.. if u just have to fear teh pass.. and dont care about hte run.. your job is a lot easier.. if we become a shootout team oru defense will suffer.. no defense plays well when its on teh field all game...

this is just a crazy idea and i cant believe so many of you think its a good idea...
we dont need an adrian foster.. we just need to be able to run the ball for a couple plays to keep the team settled..
when u pass all the time the o line gets jumpy the wide recievers get tired and start droppin balls and the qb starts getting cocky and takes unnecessary risks and throws picks..

packeraaron's picture

"we just need to be able to run the ball for a couple plays to keep the team settled.." Um, which is exactly what they did yesterday.

andrew's picture

yeah.. and u take away the special teams play and we win that game by a lot...

special teams was teh problem yesterday.. i understand u see the game and ur like WELL WE SHOULD JUST THROW THE WHOLE GAME

but it wouldnt work in the long run.. promise you

Chris's picture

Interesting, because if Denver with mediocre receivers (compared to the Packers) and Kyle Orton at QB can do it the first 4 games, we can't the Packers do it? It is possible with the rules in the NFL these days to fling it out there for 50 times and win games.
But I understand why a functional run game is a big help for every team. It doesnt even need to be a great run game. But you have to understand your RBs. Going again and again with Kuhn on strecth runs out of the shotgun and running Jackson again and again straight up between the tackles will not work. Of course both get stopped, becasue it's not their area of expertise.
Maybe McC will get it. If not we will have a long day against teams with better pass defense than the Lions (which is like 20+ teams in the NFL)

zub_a_dub's picture

2 games in a row where the Packers can not stop a QB that can throw the ball. I am not talking about Big Ben, BF, Warner or any of the better QBs in the league, but a lions and bears team.

I understand that the the bears game was just a lot of bad play all around, but follow that up at home against the lions with their second string QB throwing for 331 yards is all the proof I need.

This team will not go any farther than last years team, more than likely not even match last years performance playing like this.

When I take my devoted Packer fan glasses off, what I see is a defense with the same issues as last year with the pass and has gotten worse against the run.

Offensive air attack looks better, A-rod is the real deal, yet this year no ground game.

Special teams is the same, maybe a hair better, thats not saying much.

I think we all where expecting improvement as a natural progression of things, It is not happening. Another jesus meeting may help, but I am not sure MM is the right coach for this team, offensive coordinator yes, but a complete coach for all phases of the game, maybe not.

Jesus meetings are players coaching themselves, MM needs to step up to the plate and get a handle on things.

Would not surprise me with the games on the schedule we end up 4-4 again or 5-3 by mid season. These injuries are troublesome.

briank029's picture

ha, speaking of our supposedly better special teams, how much longer are we gonna have to watch jordy nelson put the ball on the turf. he did it last year and continues this year. he sucks at returns. he's slow and the only reason he has had some decent run backs is because of the blocking. any other returner with some speed would have taken a few of those returns to the house. Jordy is a decent reciever and thats all he should be doing.

andrew's picture

agreed.. i think he was the differnce maker in the score of this game.... our offense actually looked alright.. more than 20 points in a game isnt bad

and i dont care that woodson had a pick6.. he has lost a step.. adn he has to interfere to cover top end receivers.. our pass coverage is not as good as it needs to be hopefully al harris adn bigby ( :/ ) improve the pass coverage

Chris's picture

Jordy wasn't that bad on returns in the first 3 games. He actually made some nice plays and got the ball to midfield. I don't know why he gets those fumbles in single matches, but this always seems single incidents. Maybe he is focusing too much about recognising holes and evading players and forgets about the ball security.
The big question is: Who is better right now at kick-off returns? Who do the Packers trust more? I have no clue ;-)

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