Content
X

Create Account

Or log in with Facebook

X

Log in

Or log in with Facebook

Rodgers on Film

Rodgers on Film

aaron-200x120

aaron-200x120

 

Since this is a bye week, I decided to go slowly, dig deep and hopefully bring you some in-depth insight on a few things I have noticed. Therefore, I will be breaking my film study up into a series of articles over the next week.

 

 

 

 

Aaron Rodgers

As I sat down to re-watch the Packers - Vikings game, remote control in hand, I wondered about one thing; Is Aaron Rodgers as good a quarterback as I think he is? The answer, for the most part is YES. The part that still needs improvement may only come with time, but it's definitely missing right now. Aaron Rodgers does not feel the pressure if it's not right in front of him. Then, when the pressure is upon him, in that fateful moment of truth, Rodgers is not yet making the right decision. Yes, there are times when taking a sack is the best thing to do. But that wasn't often the case in the Vikings game.

 

I studied every one of his sacks, over and over again. On five of them, Rodgers had every opportunity to either throw the ball away or look for a safety valve. In each case, he kept looking down the field, hoping against hope and holding on to the ball too damn long. It's nothing more than bad decision-making in that critical moment.

 

The two best examples are these:

 

The Fumble:

The Fumble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After moving the Packers down the field nicely on their first possession, the Packers have a first and ten on the Minnesota 24 yard line. Rodgers, takes a quick 3-step drop, looks downfield and doesn't like what he sees. Right in front of him is his safety valve. Ryan Grant has run about 5 yards past the line of scrimmage and is all alone - closest Viking player is 7 yards away and backpedaling in the opposite direction. Rodgers gets pressure from the right and all he has to do is just toss it to Grant for an easy and safe completion and probably a 7-10 yard gain.Instead, he freezes with the ball, and tries to navigate out of the pocket - which is pretty impossible to do on a 3-step drop when everything is closing in around you. He runs right into the path of Jared Allen, who gets the sack and strips the ball, causing the fumble.

 

The Safety

The Safety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were roughly 7 minutes left in the game with the Packers  looking at 3rd and 10 on their own 1yard line. Rodgers in the shotgun in the end zone with Grant to his left. Ball is snapped. Grant helps T.J. Lang with Allen. Rodgers has a nice pocket to step up into, which he does. When Allen gets pushed deep, he stops on a dime and reverses his direction, leaving both Grant and Lang looking at the back of his jersey. In the meantime, Donald Lee, who had lined up in the backfield, ran a quick turn turn-around. He is available for a quick dump off. Sure, it wouldn't have been a first down, but it would have been better than a safety.  Instead, Rodgers is looking deep. He shifts his weight back, winds up and starts to let one fly. For some reason, he stops his throw. A split-second later, Allen is on top of him and the Vikings have a safety. Why would Rodgers change his mind there at the very last second? Heave it as far as you can. Not much to lose. An interception down the field would be like a punt. But he doesn't feel Allen behind him, doesn't see Lee in front of him, hopes he'll have time for a better option, and gets sacked.

 

Brett Favre

Brett Favre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In both of those situations, Rodgers had an easy dump-off to avoid the sack, but chose to keep looking down field. Contrast those with a play that Brett Favre made to neutralize the Packers blitz. On a second and eleven, with about eight minutes left in the second quarter, the Packers run their all-too familiar crossover blitz with the two inside backers (Barnett and Chillar). Chillar finds a rare open lane and is coming through untouched. As soon as Favre saw what was happening, he didn't hesitate, he immediately turned and threw to his safety valve, Adrian Peterson out in the flat. Peterson was stopped for no gain on the play, but there was no sack, no fumble, no interception.

 

This appears to be about the only thing Aaron Rodgers is lacking right now. He's already led several drives down the field late in games this season, so that monkey is off his back. He looks to have all the tools, the confidence and the leadership qualities you will find in a premier quarterback. He just has to get over this final hump. If he does, I think he can be a top-5 QB in this league.

 

You'll notice I haven't discussed the offensive line. For those of you yelling at your screens that it's the line's fault, I say - somewhat. But that's a separate article (hopefully in a few days). However, no matter how good a team's offensive line is, a top-flight QB will have to face moments like these in a game. Rodgers has to learn to handle it and make the right decision - period. That's how you become a Peyton Manning or the Patriot's Tom Brady.

—————————–

You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and Bleacher Report.

You can also follow Jersey Al on twitter.

  • Like Like
  • 0 points
Filed Under: 

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (45) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Great read, Al.

IronMan's picture

Bravo Al. Well done.

jrarick's picture

Outstanding analysis. Thank you so much!!! Agree 100%. Let's hope he gets over that last hurdle with experience.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Impressive, most impressive.

Andyman's picture

Great article, Al.

Jersey Al's picture

Thank you everyone. Am I onto something, here?

jrarick's picture

Yeah, you and Aaron need to make this a full-time gig!!

Jersey Al's picture

Builld it (a paying job out of this), and I will come.

jrarick's picture

Oh, and send you analysis to McCarthy and the boys in Green Bay.

Jersey Al's picture

No problem. And I have some personnel tips for Ted, also.

Mr. Bacon's picture

Its hard to remember that this is his 2nd Full TIme season.

Over thoose three years the throwing skills have been polished, now its time for actual gamesmanship.

RonLC's picture

I like the analysis a lot Al. One thing I would add is this, if you look at the line of flight for the throw to the open man you have a "Stood up" Packer lineman and a Queen Tackle in the line-of-flight for the ball to get to the open man. And, in both cases there are Queen linemen as deep or deeper than Rodgers is in the backfield.

All I'm saying is the open man may not be as open from Rodgers line-of-sight.

Jersey Al's picture

I considered that, Ron, but Adrian Peterson was not in Favre’s line of sight either, yet Brett knew exactly where he would be if needed.

RonLC's picture

Agree - with no Packer in sight.

Stan's picture

You're so good to us Jersey Al, great read. As you say, knowing when to play safe is really the last little piece of the puzzle for Rodgers.

Jersey Al's picture

Thank you Stan...

Alex Tallitsch's picture

<blockquote cite="comment-6104">

<strong><a href="#comment-6104" rel="nofollow">Stan</a></strong>: You’re so good to us Jersey Al.

</blockquote>

Now I know how Rodgers felt when Kornheiser was always talking about how great Favre is.

Stan's picture

LOL, but we didn't need to be told how good Rodgers was.

PackersRS's picture

Great article, Al. These series totally compensate for not making the rivalry post. (Yeah, still pretty uptset about that one. Really liked the Bears one, and thought it would be great on a MNF game against the queens. Oh well...)

Jersey Al's picture

Don't worry, I'm saving it for the game in Lambeau. I needed more material, so I figured Brett's first game against the Packers would make the list of magic momemnts...

PackersRS's picture

So good to hear that! nd too bad it did...
-
It's really hard to make that kind of post. You don't want to lay all of the past moments, if you intend to make those posts in the future. But then again you want to make it with enough content to be a great article. Just telling that to say that I really appreciate your work, man!
-
Yours too, Alex.

;)

Jersey Al's picture

Thanks for the kind words and for throwing some at Alex - I think he was getting a complex.

Asshalo's picture

He's always had trouble hitting the check-downs and dare I say screen passes (which may be more MM's fault). And now we're a lot more informed as to why. What a great deconstruction.

Jersey Al's picture

Thank you. I love words like deconstruction.

Asshalo's picture

de·con·struct (dē'kən-strŭkt')
tr.v. de·con·struct·ed, de·con·struct·ing, de·con·structs

1. Formal. To break down into components; dismantle, in particular

2. PackersLounge. To write about or analyze (a literary text, for example) trends of Packers game film.

e.g. After monday night's loss, Asshalo spotted his Favre packer jersey tucked away in his closet. He proceeded to destruct it with his bare hands.

Jersey Al's picture

Thank you, everyone, for all the kind words, but I kind of miss the wackos. Can't we get anybody in here to tell me what an idiot I am?

Asshalo's picture

You shouldn't encourage me.

Jersey Al's picture

I don't know what's up with you. You've been very bell behaved lately.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Go to http://www.packershome.com/index.php?name=ForumsPro&amp;file=viewtopic&a..., Al.

They have a whole section of haters that say you can't break down anything with stills.

Jersey Al's picture

Ah, now that warms the cockles of my heart - again. I knew there had to be somebody out there...

Thanks to Ironman for explaining the whole concept to those idiots.

Al

Paul's picture

YOUR A FUCKING TOOL AL! FAVRE IS THE BEST AND ROGARS CANT EVEN TIE HIS OWN SHOES LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Paul's picture

Is that batter? :P

Jersey Al's picture

Much better.

GPN's picture

I thought Aaron made some improvements this game. On several plays he stepped up in the pocket nicely. However, you're right Al. He's just not reading things very well. He's a young quarterback and I think he'll develop just fine. But he'd better get started soon if the Packers expect to do much this season.

Graffin's picture

Great breakdown Al, always enjoy your stuff

Jersey Al's picture

Thanks Graff - you've been MIA lately

Greg C.'s picture

That fumble on the opening drive was a killer, and I agree that it was at least partly Aaron's fault. This was the first game where I really had a problem with him holding onto the ball too long. It happened on at least the two plays you discussed, and I thought the worst one was where he was outside of the pocket, in the open field, and he just let that linebacker drill him. What was up with that? There was no excuse at all for that one.

Having said that, I still think that Rodgers' holding onto the ball too long is a very minor problem compared to the horrible O-line play.

Jersey Al's picture

I didn't quite know what to make of that one either. At first I though maybe he didn't have a good grip on the ball, but I just don't know.

Jersey Al's picture

Well, after watching it again, Rodgers didn't get his body turned around soon enough to be in a position to throw. And he didn't see the Vikings LB because he came around from behind Kuhn and a Viking player that were tangling. So Rodgers is trying to turn his body, looking downfield when the LB comes out of nowhere into his line of sight and it was just too late for him to do anything.

Stan's picture

You have to bear in mind that McCarthy all but handed the outcome of this game to Rodgers, we ditched the run game in favour of screen passes, so the Vikings didn't need to bother looking for Grant unless he went into the flats. It's tough enough to win a game without running the ball much, but in a game like this, Monday Night, hyped up more than a......hyped thing...... damn, your gonna make mistakes, I don't care who you are.

Jersey Al's picture

You're right Stan. I've written about McCarthy before and how he abandons the run as soon as they fall behind.

Tuck's picture

Loved this entry! I've been a packer fan all my life but don't have time to go back and rewatch games. I aprreciate the insight.

Jersey Al's picture

I don't have time either, but hey, sleep is overrated.

ACDC84's picture

As much as I love Rodgers, this is a huge concern. Last year he had a tendency to hold the ball too long and take a sack. At the time I was pleased with those habits, as a seven yard loss is leaps and bounds better than throwing a prayer at triple-coverage. I was confident that this would be a focus of the off-season and he would come back this year ready to improve.

But he has gotten even worse. Is pocket presence an intangible quality that some guys just never have? I hope not. But I had hoped that he would have figured something out by now.

Log in to comment, upload your game day photos and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.

Or log in with Facebook