Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Game 2, Packers - Vikings

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Aaron Rodgers: It's way early, but here are a few thoughts that came to me during the game. #1 - he can still throw the near impossible ball. Exhibit A:

 

 

While he can still throw it on the run as well as anyone ever has, he can't escape the pocket as he once could. Age has taken away some of the quick feet movements that helped him avoid rushers and get himself out of seemingly hopeless jams. Now the trap closes in on him with increasing regularity. 

A question I ask every game is when will Rodgers start to adjust his game to better match up with his physical abilities as Father Time marches on? He has said he wants to emulate Tom Brady and play for as long as he possibly can - can he turn into a Brady clone on the field as well? I have doubts. What do you all think?

Matt LaFleur: The arrow is pointing up. We got a glimpse of LaFleur's game planning ability. Week after week we would hear Mike McCarthy tell us they want to come out and start fast - how often did that happen? So far, LaFleur is 1-0 in that department. You also got a first glimpse into his "illusion of complexity" concept (Hey, maybe I'll change the name of this column to that at some point). Here Ben Fennel has done the work for me with putting these two plays together. Note how Kendricks in the middle takes himself out of the play, expecting the same flare pass as before. Brilliant stuff by LaFleur.

 

Jaire Alexander: The guy wants to make a big play every time, and you have to love that, but he also has to know the situation. Third and thirteen, out of field goal range, a bomb to the end zone, what is making an interception going to do (except pad your own stats)? He did a great job reading anticipating the route, leaving his zone (since there was no receiver there he had to be concerned about)t and coming across the field to get there at the same time as Diggs. JUST. KNOCK. IT. DOWN. But honestly, 99 out of 100 other cornerbacks would have just stood there and watched from the other side of the field. What effort!

Trevor Davis: For a guy whose one job on the Packers is to return kicks, how can he not know he's not allowed to block after signaling for a fair catch? He's a walking brain fart at times, so is his return ability worth it?  I'm reminded of this article by our own Zach Jacobson: Miscues and Mastery: the Trevor Davis Dilemma.

Author's note: Well, my question was answered. I just saw reports of a Davis trade to Oakland. Though that might happen with the Packers pickup of Tremon Smoth, who returned 33 kicks for the Chiefs last season.

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (48)

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4thand1's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:08 pm

Of AR's few faults, he doesn't take what the defense gives him, I don't know why. Brady does always, keeps the chains moving.

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Old School's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:09 pm

I think that Brady is a statistical outlier. His whole career has been stand in the pocket and throw darts.

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fthisJack's picture

September 18, 2019 at 09:02 pm

Brady gets 6 wins a year in a cupcake division. don't let it fool you.....that makes a huge difference not only in stats but getting the division title year after year and usually a first round bye.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:26 pm

Hammer strikes nail. Look at that pathetic con game from the AFC east div. 18 years and the closest any came to challenging Belichick was Rex Ryan and the Jets.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:27 pm

Hammer strikes nail. Look at that pathetic con game from the AFC east div. 18 years and the closest any came to challenging Belichick was Rex Ryan and the Jets.

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Kubyskins12's picture

September 19, 2019 at 07:50 am

He was talking about brady’s style of play not statistics. He talking about how he takes the quick underneath throw on 2nd and 10 for example and hits him for 5-6 yards and gives his guy chance to break a tackle or make guy miss. But even if he only gets 5 yards it’s still better then what Rodgers does. He holds the ball and bypasses those throws and he ends up throwing it away or taking sack. So now instead of taking what the defense gives u and give your guy chance to make guy miss and pick up the first down or worst case gets 5 yards you now instead are in 3rd and long instead 3rd and manageable. Rodgers has lost step he doesn’t escape the pocket as well as he used to. He needs to adjust his game and take what defense gives you and put are offense in manageable down and distances. When we do we are way more successful. Perfect example is the1st quarter last week. Also by doing this he takes less hits and has better chance of staying healthy and not getting injured.

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4thand10's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:22 pm

And Brady has ALWAYS had a line. Always had a premium RB or 2 and Always had premium slot possession WRs. Never a “ training “year for new guys.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:29 pm

One of the greatest O line coaches in the Game,

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:19 pm

Goodbye Trevor Davis, hello draft capital. Door wide open for our newest addition at WR for ST duties.

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Hematite's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:30 pm

Hopefully Rodgers will be able to adjust his game as time marches on.
After watching the last three quarters against the Vikings, I'm starting to doubt it.
He played those last three quarters like he was playing in McCarthy's scheme over the last five years.
He just won't throw to the open guys underneath and still holds the ball too long.
Plus he doesn't call for the snap until there's one second left on the clock allowing the opponent to tee off on him.
It's just a matter of time until he gets hurt due to his reticence.

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Minniman's picture

September 19, 2019 at 04:03 am

I agree with you on the snap-count bating comment...... that's so 2015....... Rodgers should relegate that to once a blue moon (at the most) - it's slightly cringe-worthy to watch now.

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JHitTheB's picture

September 19, 2019 at 10:04 pm

You do realize when you're playing with a lead there is a such thing as letting the clock wind down to waste time and give your defense a rest right? It's called ball control. You leave your opponent less time to work with and give the defense a breather. This is football 101. I really don't understand why basic football concepts are so hard for people to comprehend.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 19, 2019 at 10:58 pm

Thank you.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:56 pm

Habits are hard to break...Rodgers is hard wired to his style of play. Sure, he will look to be adapting for a short stint here and there, but he will always resort back to what he is and does.

There may need to be two game plans each week so Rodgers can make the most of what he is by adjusting in game as smoothly as possible and not through any tantrum or panic when failed plays or possessions come about with the new scheme.

A tale of two halves or individual possessions but Rodgers will need to be Rodgers for himself and then the team....yes. it's all about Rodgers first and why his habits won't disappear.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 18, 2019 at 06:00 pm

Rodgers was on fire early. Seemed like the offense fell apart a bit after Allison fumbled. They moved the ball until a botched snap ended one drive. Also 3 unfortunate plays happened as well. First was a great throw to Adams who couldn't bring it in for a catch, another was a great throw to MVS who went up high to make a catch but the defense made a great play knocking it out as he went to the ground. Also another unfortunate play with MVS when he jumped up for a ball and fell on the back of a CB going out of bounds. 3 big plays netted in nothing. The offense is really close!

The offense led from LaFleur is definitely a change from McCarthy. Honestly, the whole team has changed. You can just see it and feel the energy this team has. I am very happy with LaFleur and the direction this team is going.

Alexander deserves Pro Bowl consideration already. He has been fantastic. The only 'knock' I have on him is that he has not completed an interception yet. He has had his chances. To take the next step he has to make those game changing turnover types of plays!

I'm surprised they got rid of Davis. The one thing you knew is he was going to catch the ball. I felt as if he was going to break a long punt return very soon. Hopefully Shepherd and Smith are ready!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 18, 2019 at 09:54 pm

They ran out of script about the same time Allison fumbled. I bet they practiced that script heavily, after that it was improv and stuff they practiced less.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:31 pm

Harrison makes a great play on the ball to Adams or they get the first down and threaten to score etc. Do any of the Fans actually watch the Game?

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 19, 2019 at 07:32 am

Yes he made a great play on the ball. It still was in Adams hands. Same as the throw over the middle to MVS. It was in his hands.

Great plays by the defense but the offensive players need to do a better job of hanging onto the ball when it’s in both hands!
Yes even though I’m one of the most optimistic of fans I can still be critical of the team I love!

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Kubyskins12's picture

September 19, 2019 at 08:02 am

The reason those first three drives worked so well was exactly what you guys were saying about the scripted plays and after those ran out they didn’t do as well. When Rogers is confident in the plays because he was practicing them a lot he got the ball out quick and didn’t hold the ball so hopefully as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable in the offense and confident in the plays you’ll see more of that . That’s my hope anyways.

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Lare's picture

September 18, 2019 at 06:35 pm

People can criticize players all they want for not doing what they think he should do.

The point is they won the game. Nothing else matters.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:33 pm

Is that a song from Metallica?

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stockholder's picture

September 18, 2019 at 07:11 pm

Rodgers can still do what he wants to do. But: for how long? Brady Keeps winning it ALL. Arron Rodgers didn't. He had set backs. Brady didn't. I believe Arron Rodgers will leave like Luck. The lack of offense after Allisons fumble, is troubling. Streaks aren't a good sign. That only leaves questions. I believe it's still a lack of discipline. They press. Until the obvious is predictable. Winners can over play their mistakes. And this defense is overplaying the mistakes. Unlike the past. If the Offense can do the same. They will all be winners.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

September 19, 2019 at 11:55 am

Over the matching years Brady had a defense that never, NOT ONCE allowed as many points in the playoffs as the packer defensed AVERAGED giving up

Brady does not win it all. He fills his role, admirably, on a TEAM with a once in a life time coach who part time is far better as GM than ..... well you decide

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LakeshorePackerBacker's picture

September 18, 2019 at 07:12 pm

<em>A question I ask every game is when will Rodgers start to adjust his game to better match up with his physical abilities as Father Time marches on? He has said he wants to emulate Tom Brady and play for as long as he possibly can - can he turn into a Brady clone on the field as well? I have doubts. What do you all think?</em>

I agree with this. Rodgers needs to modify his game as he gets older and begins to lose some of his mobility. He needs to look more to his checkdowns and take what the defense gives him rather than always looking for the big play downfield.

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Rak47's picture

September 19, 2019 at 04:28 am

He's already older and has lost some of his mobility. That boat done sailed as they say.

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

September 18, 2019 at 07:24 pm

Dear Aaron, I’m an old guy. A word to the wise. Accept what Father Time gives you or the world WILL pass you by.

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Lphill's picture

September 18, 2019 at 08:07 pm

Years of Rodgers doing it all and scoring as much as possible only so a defense loaded with mostly no name un drafted players could give the points right back . How many defensive players were let go by the Packers never to play again in the NFL because they just weren’t good. Now he has a defense finally , so be patient , if you build it they will come ( scores) .

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 18, 2019 at 08:23 pm

I guess I am the last Trevor Davis supporter left standing. Given Davis is in a contract year and Shepherd or even this Tremon Smith (I noted Smith's punt returning experience in a previous comment), I would have traded Davis for a (possibly early) 6th round pick. GB might miss Davis as a gunner, but I don't think Davis was in the same class as Janis as a gunner.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 18, 2019 at 09:56 pm

I'm pleased with a 6th for a guy who.in July wasn't even a sure bet to make the roster.

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murf7777's picture

September 18, 2019 at 09:58 pm

Davis isn’t in the same class. Scott has hit booming punts but nobody is there to tackle. Hoping that changes with Smith. Gotta like the name.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 19, 2019 at 03:18 am

No TGR, I was last Trevor Davis supporter, or at least we were last couple of Trevor Davis supporters...

I understand why Packers traded Trevor. He is in his last season and they need to give him new contract or to release him next spring/summer. Better to get something than nothing for any player for which is not sure that he will be in team plans, or player who will need to fight for roster spot.

Despite Aaron, this preseason, was talking good things about Trevor, he very often forgot to mention Trevor when he was talking about receivers group. For me that was strong indication he is not fan of Trevor.

Many fans celebrating this trade. I'm not. I wish this young man all the best and I'm hoping he will not hurt Packers in any manner when Packers will face Raiders...

Second thoughts about fans injustice toward Trevor is something I can not understand. Kumerow, as fans darling was and is not less injured than Trevor, but still the fans are crying for him and they wanted Trevor to be released or traded because of the same reason. Same story is with Kevin King! Luckily, Kevin King is better player than Trevor and he is starting to make lot of fans to eat crows... Maybe Trevor would be in the same position as Kevin if he had a chance.

For me, Trevor made one very important catch that help Packers win over Bears in week 1! On 2nd and 9 from 7 yards line of Packers side of the ball he make himself very open and brought the ball to 35 yards line despite he was surrounded with 3 Bears defenders.

As we do not know what were his routes in snaps he played it is hard to conclude did he do job well or not. And your problem with that penalty on ST (blocking after fair catch call) might brought Packers more favorable position than at half yard line if that penalty had accepted (half the distance to the goal from the spot of the foul!)...

Also, are you sure that decisions not to return the Kick off are really his or he might be instructed to accept 25 yard line as starting line for Packers O?

Nevertheless, lets hope Shepherd and/or T. Smith will replace Trevor at least at the same level...

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stockholder's picture

September 19, 2019 at 10:59 am

In 2016. The 5th round had Jatavis Brown sitting there/// Mac defensive player of the year. ( ILB!!! ) We needed a ILB. TT took Davis when he didn't need him. Same for Spriggs. TT trading up for a bust. He took the wrong player in Spriggs. We waited 3 fricken years for a player. Has a great camp. And 1 bad game gets him out the door. I believe the T. Davis rumors had already come down! Before he messed up against the Vikings. I Believe Gute now has set Davis' price, ( on the Free-Agent market.) He hurt T. Davis by trading him. Nobody would have beaten him out of the return spot.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:22 pm

Teams are making concerted efforts to contain the outside as they are generallt stoned by Bhaktiari and Bulaga. THey attack the middle with the stunt game that Fangio schemed and hold point instead of blitzing, taking away his escape
routes. Same deal as Farve, Rodgers will adjust his sets and LaFluer incorporates the moving pocket as Mccarthy did. The fact is the Packers do not have Sitton and Lang inside to blow open gaps. The interior of the O line is the target of the oppositions' attack.

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PeteK's picture

September 19, 2019 at 09:30 am

I agree. Rogers still has escapability, but the interior of the line was collapsing. The Pat offense uses slants and crossing patterns to get rid of the ball quickly. Also, TE could help in these situations.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 19, 2019 at 12:13 am

Gutey is a master at getting something for marginal players. Reggie Gilbert, Justin McCray, and now Trevor Davis have all been turned into draft capital. He also is always churning the bottom of the roster to make us better. Picking up a speedy CB to replace our returner is such a bonus when we are so deep at WR. This gives Kumerow and Shepard more playing time.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 19, 2019 at 05:54 am

Or it gives Gute more openings to showcase both for possible trades. Churning Churning Churning......

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Spock's picture

September 19, 2019 at 07:49 am

Actually, the song goes, "Churn, churn, churn...", lol.

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Spock's picture

September 19, 2019 at 07:52 am

Al, You've got to FIX this new website so when you make a comment or reply and hit "Submit" it doesn't take you back to the top of the article! This is a dialogue/discussion killer!!!!

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JerseyAl's picture

September 19, 2019 at 09:24 am

testing this

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BELIEVER's picture

September 19, 2019 at 08:29 am

I see this offense getting better. It won’t be long before it hits it stride. I remember in Rodgers first years in McCarthy’s offense they hit the stride early only to lose it I’d rather hit a stride midseason keep going.

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PeteK's picture

September 19, 2019 at 09:38 am

Especially since the running game is working. However, I'm surprised that the short game using the fullback has not been successful. Not getting those short yardage first downs has been killing drives.

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JHitTheB's picture

September 19, 2019 at 09:40 am

Do you guys even pay attention to other teams? Since the Belichik era started, NE has sported one of the best OLs year in and year out. NE has put out 15 top 10 scoring Ds in 18 seasons with 7 of those in the top 5 - and it looks like they will be another top 5 unit again this year. Belichik builds his teams with focus on the OL and the defense because that's where games are won and lost.

The NE OL does this weird thing called BLOCKING and because of that TB is rarely pressured or sacked. He isn't facing a defense with top tier pass rushers like the Bears or Vikings have multiple times every year. NE WRs also do this weird thing called GETTING OPEN. When do you ever see TB throwing a guy open? Hmm? He literally stands there and hits a guy with no one around him. Belichik is the best ever for a reason. He makes in game real time adjustments to counter whatever adjustment the opposing team makes. Go back and watch the Bears or Vikings games. Tell me how many times GB WRs beat their man in coverage without being schemed open. Go ahead - I'll wait. In the Vikings game, the initial scripted plays had guys schemed wide open and AR had time to throw. The Vikings made adjustments on D and then what happened? GBs WRs couldn't even get open against back ups and the Vikings pass rush was leaving AR with little time to pick them apart. MLF needed to figure out what adjustments the Vikings made and then adjust to counter it either with personnel or formation changes - he did not really do that, instead opting to "stay balanced" and the Vikings were able to play downhill for the final 3 quarters. On 3rd and short situations the Vikings were selling out to stop the run and MLF kept calling the same kind of run plays that were blown up when he should have been using that to his advantage in packages "showing run" knowing the Vikings were going to crash the RBs but hitting them with quick TE stick routes or passes over the middle. TE usage could have been huge there. Case in point - the game sealing 1st down to Adams. The Vikings sold out to stop the short run and got burned not expecting a pass. Facing 3rd and long means routes take longer to develop. Meaning a WR has to be able to beat his man off the LoS to give the QB a target before the pass rush applies pressure and when the ball is placed right in both hands they have to make the catch. Beside Adams GB doesn't have a WR that can do that consistently. There is no point in throwing a 4-5 yard pass when you need 12 yards for a 1st and you don't have guys that can make a guy miss or break a tackle on their own or miss a critical 1st down springing block unless you are looking to get a few more yards to give your kicker a better chance or your punter more room to work with. Please stop with the tired "AR holds the ball" mantra and actually watch the tapes. Learn situational football. AR has seen GBs WRs all of last season. He sees them every day in practice. He knows their strengths and their weaknesses inside out and if he isn't throwing the ball to a guy there is a good reason for it. AR isn't going to force throws to guys who aren't open, especially guys that have not shown they can be counted on to make contested grabs. Protecting the football is the number 1 priority - turnovers lose games. How many games did Favre lose by throwing stupid INTs at crucial moments by forcing plays that weren't there? You want him just heaving the ball out there like Cousins? How did that work out? Yes, AR definitely needs to understand he's 35 and not as mobile as he once was. MLF/Gute need to understand this as well and get him an OL that can keep him protected. Matt Ryan was lighting the league up just a few seasons ago - now the ATL OL is trash and he's one of the most pressured/sacked QBs in the league. Coincidence? Or does he all of a sudden hold the ball too long too?

But since you guys like to compare TB and AR so much, here's something for you:

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request...

AR has better career averages in pretty much every statistical category across the board including in the playoffs. It's not even a contest. AR does more every year with significantly less talent around him. Stop hugging TB's balls for playing with a top 10 scoring defense every season in the weakest division in football the last 20 years.

Now give me my dislikes for hitting you with the cold hard truth.

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blacke00's picture

September 19, 2019 at 09:56 am

Much of what you're saying is "dead on", particularly the OL. TB is a great QB but he is rarely under pressure...why the great blocking of the OL.

If GB for one second would decide (as I have mentioned on this site on numerous occasions) to "seriously upgrade their OL, Rodgers wouldn't have half his problems. That being said Rodgers has to decide sooner or later to find the open man and not keep trying to force the ball downfield or take a sack.

The Pack seems to have figured out that they need a defense...next up the OL....after that ?

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Old School's picture

September 19, 2019 at 12:40 pm

So you agree that Brady is a statistical outlier. This means that you aren’t going to be able to duplicate what he does. The organization, the coach, the personnel department, the schedule......these aren’t things that other QBs aren’t able to reproduce.

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JHitTheB's picture

September 19, 2019 at 03:57 pm

Nope. TB is the epitome of a system QB. TB on just about any other team is ringless. He never had the best arm, accuracy, or mobility. He can't throw on the run. You will never see TB hit a pin point deep shot rolling to his left off his back foot falling away to avoid a sack like AR did 2x times against AZ to get the game to OT. TB simply doesn't have that kind of talent. BUT - he doesn't have to because his OL gives him time, his WRs get themselves open, and his coach always puts the team in the best play and position to win. Moreover, Belichik has a winning record WITHOUT TB since Bledsoe went down. The one year TB was out, Matt Cassel took the very same NE team to a 10-6 record with a very similar stat line as TB had the year before. They missed the playoffs due to a tie breaker. NE has gone 13-6 in 19 games without Brady. That’s a winning percentage of .684. To put that in perspective, Peyton Manning won 67.7% of his starts with the Colts. Favre has a .624 career win %. AR has a .636. Big Ben is sitting at .672. The fact is, TB gets entirely too much credit for the success of NE. It's Belichik's system and his defense. Throw in playing in the weakest division the last 20 years basically being gifted 6 wins every season and the rest is history. If AR and TB were swapped for their careers TB isn't carrying the Packers teams of the last decade to any semblance of being a contender. Not with GBs porous OL and horrible defenses they've had and the defensive competition GB has faced in Chi and Minn.

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Lphill's picture

September 19, 2019 at 10:11 am

correct J hit, Rodgers has had to carry the team for years because he had a defense built with un drafted free agents mostly ,who would not play in the NFL if not for the Packers, now he has a defense to back him up, the offense will start to click and he wont need miracle hail Mary's because the defense will hold.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

September 19, 2019 at 11:59 am

LOL because it is almost funny that video is posted to support the idea Rodgers is still the best and the most common fan chant is 'the guy was wide open' ' a good throw hits him in stride and easy TD' and 'get the ball to him on time and he will BREAK A TACKLE BECAUSE THAT IS HIS JOB and get a td'

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JHitTheB's picture

September 19, 2019 at 06:37 pm

You forgot to mention how quickly Hunter was in AR's face due to that poor excuse for what I don't even want to call a block

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