Cory's Corner: Aaron Rodgers is walking into a pressure cooker

I would have to agree with Pete Prisco. Aaron Rodgers is not only the top quarterback in the NFL, but also its top player.

Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley and T.J. Lang were banged up on the offensive line last year. Jordy Nelson was out for the entire season and Randall Cobb proved that he isn’t a capable No. 1 wideout. And to make matters worse, Eddie Lacy logged his worst season of this three-year career.

Yet, Rodgers still managed to throw 31 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and throw three Hail Mary’s while leading the Packers to within a tackle of the NFC Championship Game.

And now that the Packers have added a tight end in free agency and watched Lacy P90X his way through the offseason, Rodgers is walking into a pressure cooker.

When Rodgers missed seven games with a broken left collarbone in 2013, it was apparent how important he was to the Packers.

And that’s why all the stress is on him this season. Obviously he cannot control the contagiousness of the injury bug spreading through the offensive line or an unlikely injury to the team’s top wide receiver.

But let’s face it, he turns 33 in December.

Rodgers always tries to do so much on the field. He would rather be stung with the plague than throw an interception but he knows how vital his play is. And he cannot lead the offense if he gives the football away.

Add in the fact that the Packers let veteran Scott Tolzien walk in favor of newbie backup Brett Hundley and Rodgers may think twice before tucking the ball and scrambling for a few yards.

It’s all lined up for Rodgers to succeed this year.

The only question is if he can outdo his own expectations and lead this team deep into the playoffs.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Well, it’s a good thing that Rodgers has strong shoulders.    

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (24)

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Bearmeat's picture

June 04, 2016 at 01:02 pm

meh. Tom and Peyton just won Super Bowls at 36 and 39 respectively. Rodgers has the weapons. He has the OL. He has the secondary. The only questions are the front 7 and health.

I'm sure he feels pressure. But I seriously doubt it's more pressure than say, Romo feels. Or Cutler. Or Dalton. Or Newton.

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The TKstinator's picture

June 04, 2016 at 08:28 am

I'd bet it's the kind of "pressure" he welcomes!

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Tundraboy's picture

June 05, 2016 at 10:39 am

I'd bet that too. I think he is boiling mad this season, and is just simmering under the surface.

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ray nichkee's picture

June 04, 2016 at 07:00 am

Cut cobb some slack and throw him in the banged up category. Cobb is not at his best lined up on the outside though.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

June 04, 2016 at 01:43 pm

But Davante was....nevermind

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Rossonero's picture

June 04, 2016 at 04:42 pm

Good point. That shoulder sprain from pre-season bugged Cobb the whole season. I'm curious to see how much the Packers let star players play this pre-season.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

June 04, 2016 at 07:36 am

I liked your summary of the Packers' plight with injuries and Lacy's complacency with his duty to be in tip top condition last year.

Personally, I thought Rodgers did a yeoman's job last season under the circumstances. There is not another quarterback in the league I would prefer over him to lead the Packers.

If the team can avoid longer term injuries to about five key players, I believe they have an excellent chance to bring home the Lombardi Trophy this coming season.

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MarkinMadison's picture

June 04, 2016 at 08:18 am

Peyton didn't win the Super Bowl. The Broncos won the Super Bowl. Same way Elway didn't win the Super Bowl until he was no longer great. #12 has about 3 years left when he can still carry this team. After that age and accumulated injuries will catch up with him. Father Time is undefeated. At that point the Packers will have to decide if they are going to create a great defense to offset an aging QB, or move on to the next guy. When Farve's time came they knew they had a winner in the dugout. What's in the dugout may dictate where and how #12's career ends.

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lucky953's picture

June 04, 2016 at 09:07 am

That's what I'm thinking too. Hundley's talent level is still TBD. They've got him for another 3 years? If he continues to develop, then the Packers may have to invest in an expensive backup. Rodgers will be 36 and they'll have to be planning for the next man up. No doubt ARs mobility will decrease with age and so may his capacity to buy extra time, which has been so key to his efficiency.

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ES 1957's picture

June 04, 2016 at 08:46 am

The O Line has more depth this season than that even had in many. Hundley will be a capable backup and the team has an extra roster spot, and possibly a comp pick, without Tolzein. It's all good if Lacy plays well and the WRs are healthy.

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ES 1957's picture

June 04, 2016 at 08:51 am

More o line depth than they've had in many years.

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MarkinMadison's picture

June 04, 2016 at 10:45 am

Agreed. I think there are two good shots left for #12 - this year, and the year-after-next year.

This year, you've got an experienced O-line intact with good depth.

Next year, you lose about half of the starting O-line, you lose Peppers, and you may be starting a new tailback.

Two years from now the O-line should be jelled. Hopefully they've found another difference maker for the defense. Hopefully the RB situation is stable. Hopefully Jordy and CM3 aren't showing their age too much.

After that, I think the core of the team is going to be very different from what you see now.

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Bearmeat's picture

June 04, 2016 at 01:12 pm

Great teams don't rebuid, they reload. As long as GB has ARod playing at an elite level, they'll be in the top 8 or so teams with a real shot to win it all every year. That's just the way the NFL is built. Yes, GB has challenges ahead of them, but they've answered the bell before and I'm confident they will again.

In the last 10 years, the only teams with an elite level passer that has fallen on hard times has been the Saints and Colts. And IMO their front offices have been truly awful. GBs front office is anything but truly awful.

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MarkinMadison's picture

June 04, 2016 at 09:08 pm

"As long as GB has ARod playing at an elite level..."

3-5 years, tops. And CM3s don't grow on trees.

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barutanseijin's picture

June 05, 2016 at 11:09 am

I don't think Rodgers played at an elite level last year. He racked up some volume stats, but rate stats were down compared to his previous years and compared to the competition. The defense bailed the Packers out last year, and looking at this year's draft, it looks like the Packers are already going into defensive team mode.

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Since'61's picture

June 04, 2016 at 01:05 pm

Since Rodgers is always under pressure to perform, I don't see how this season if different from any other. The impact of Tolzien leaving is nil since Tolzien's presence on the Packers was nil. Rodgers has taken his share of criticism from some of the posters on this blog, but the fact is as you correctly point out Cory, is that Rodgers played by himself for most of the season, especially after the bye week. In addition to the facts Cory mentions Rodgers also played hurt and took over 100 hits last season. If he and his OL is healthy Rodgers will be fine. Thanks, Since '61

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dschwalm's picture

June 06, 2016 at 10:50 am

You, 'Since '61' are the eternal optimist, but not objective or a realist.
Thanks, since '57

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3rdigraphics's picture

June 04, 2016 at 03:39 pm

Rodgers covers up so many warts on this team, although that would be true with any team he would happen to play on.

The Constant influx of rookies/very young players combined with rashes of injuries every other year are what holds the team back from being a dynasty IMO.

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Rossonero's picture

June 04, 2016 at 04:57 pm

As others have said, every season has pressure. To me, there is good and bad pressure.

Last season, the good pressure was high expectations for a Super Bowl. Studies have shown that psychological pressure can make you more attentive, improving your memory and ability to learn. Aaron Rodgers dials in, focuses and has demonstrated on many occasions that he deals with pressure extremely well.

However, too much stress can have the opposite effect. Stress is bad pressure. So many things went wrong last season that more and more bad pressure (stress) fell on Rodgers to hold the team together through a storm of injuries, poor play and defenses playing well. Despite the stress, he still put up terrific numbers, but it was plain to see that he simply was not himself.

He's on par with Brady and Manning. Forget age. He'll be wowing us well into his late 30s, just like Favre did. Of course age will catch up to him eventually, but he has a lot longer of a shelf life than some people give him credit for.

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Chad Lundberg's picture

June 04, 2016 at 09:26 pm

I needed a good laugh. Wait, that would mean I was entertained. So actually, as usual, BOOOOORING!!! In other news, water is wet, grass is green, and birds fly in the air.

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4thand1's picture

June 05, 2016 at 03:17 am

Except penguins, ostrich's, and emu's.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

June 05, 2016 at 04:27 am

Rodgers took the second-most sacks in the NFL because his receivers couldn't get open and he was buying time or scrambling. But the biggest issue is whether McCarthy can fix the receiving corps. Will Jordy be 100%? The most optimism is with Cook's threat in the middle of the field if he's healthy. If they can get tight end support throughout the season, they could get to the Super Bowl.

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barutanseijin's picture

June 05, 2016 at 11:22 am

Some of those sacks are on Rodgers. He's always had a tendency to hang on to the ball too long, On top of that, his vision & confidence were off last year: guys would be open but he wouldn't throw it to them. Not all the time, of course, because the receivers did suck, as everyone has noted, and the OL play wasn't up to 2014 levels, either.

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dschwalm's picture

June 06, 2016 at 10:59 am

MANY of those sacks are on Rodgers. He has always had a tendency to hold on to the ball too long. He has been getting too much positive reinforcement over the years for his playground scrambling to make a circus play.

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