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Cory's Corner: Aaron Rodgers Must Take Chances

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Cory's Corner: Aaron Rodgers Must Take Chances


Packers coach Mike McCarthy is in a no-win situation. He is coaching a perfectionist quarterback that he hasn’t criticized before, so it isn’t going to happen now. 

But I’m not going to shred McCarthy today. I’ll leave that to DeadspinThe Big Lead and SB Nation

Don’t get me wrong, McCarthy needs to go. The combination of McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers cannot squeeze anything else out of a Packers logo. They have combined to post a 98-54-1 regular season record and a 10-7 playoff record.

At this point, McCarthy is putting his hands in the air. He’s out of options now. He’s got a future Hall of Fame quarterback that cannot be reached.

But it gets worse. 

“I missed the one to Tae (Davante Adams), threw the no-lace ball to EQ (Equanimeous St. Brown) in the dirt,” said Aaron Rodgers after Sunday night’s 24-17 loss to the Vikings. “Other than I feel like I didn’t miss a lot of throws. We weren’t executing.”

OK. I’ve heard just about enough. Rodgers was 17-for-28 with 198 yards and a touchdown. He was just 1-for-5 on third down. Now the national narrative has been that Packer Nation is entitled and expects superior quarterback play after Brett Favre slung it in Green Bay for 16 years. 

Rodgers’ stats look great. He’s got 20 touchdowns and one pick. But that’s precisely the problem. His obsessive-compulsive nature that has a tinge of perfectionism is actually hurting the Packers. 

I’ve always liked Rodgers for how cerebral he plays. He doesn’t take unnecessary chances. He will more than likely win a game rather than lose it. 

However, Rodgers needs to forget about stats now and just worry about wins. There’s no excuse for throwing balls at receiver’s feet and overthrowing wideouts by at least five yards. 

He has complained about “execution” all season with his receivers, which is laughable because receivers have been open on a plethora of occasions. There are five games left and the Packers somehow still have a playoff heartbeat. 

Rodgers needs to stop worrying about throwing picks and take some chances. He also needs to shed his trust issues and allow his guys to make a play. Stop throwing to jerseys and start throwing to spots. 

Is Rodgers going to make mistakes by taking chances? Of course he is, but he’s going to gain receiver’s trust and camaraderie. Even after a pick, Rodgers can go back to the bench and say, “You had him beat, do it again.”

But those are things that Rodgers doesn’t do. He would rather complain that the receiver wasn’t open and throw the ball into the second row rather than trust his receiver to make a play. 

The Packers are running out of time. Rodgers has been full of excuses all year, but the one problem that has eluded him has been staring at him every morning in the mirror. Maybe Rodgers’ shoulder is bothering him or maybe his knee has lingering pain. If those things are the case, say it, otherwise stop making excuses.

Rodgers has had a top five interception percentage in seven of the 11 years he has been a starter. It looks like he’s going to be No. 1 this year while the Packers continue to take on water. 

He needs to stop thinking and analyzing and just play. His receivers are NFL players for a reason; let them do their job. 




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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (64) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

I hold the opposite view. Rodgers does not need to take more risk. He needs to take the less risk, less reward play more often. He wants the big, downfield play all the time. Sometimes, the safe short play moves the chains and brings 3 more chances for the big play.

The TKstinator's picture

Can’t argue with your take. Did you read the SI article? It really sheds some (unbiased) light!

HankScorpio's picture

i did. And it brought to mind an old Favre interview. He was talking about his mindset when he got the ball late and they needed points to take the lead. He said his mindset was to just keep moving the chains, which is the path to the end zone.

The quick strike drive is nice but the long time-consuming drive does more to rob the defense of their energy.

Old School's picture

Favre may have said that, but he certainly didn't practice what he preached. Favre is the King of forcing a ball where it didn't belong because he was "trying to make a play"., especially in the clutch.

Intereceptions do not help you win games.

flackcatcher's picture

Just confirms what the all 22 showed. If a fan like me can see that, you know what the scouts and team video guys are seeing. It's obvious that the SI writer watched the all 22 and then made his calls to 'his guys' inside the league. But take a step back, and think about this. This is Rodgers during the whole season. McCarthy knows, Gute knows, Murphy knows and the executive committee knows that this is the source of team ills on the offensive side of the house, and he is one of your team leaders too boot. Think firing McCarthy going to fix this, then I got a bridge for you. (TK I did, it confirmed what I already knew. But there is good news in that people in the league are opening up on Rodger's diva ways. Rodgers can't hide from his peers, maybe, just maybe it might shame him enough to clean up his act. Well, we can hope....)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Where is that bridge and how much do you want for it?

Do I think firing MM might fix AR? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems clear that MM can't fix AR. Learning a new offense might be a nice cerebral exercise for AR.

Do I think firing MM and hiring someone else might fix getting the plays called early, not taking dumb timeouts, firing Zookie, not making dumb challenges, substituting based on the situation instead by series, and giving touches to the team's best players? It couldn't hurt.

flackcatcher's picture

Told that joke to start off the morning brief, and all I got were blank looks. Nice to know I've officially pass into old man territory. I think it still 50/50 on McCarthy. Last few games may decide his fate either way. This team being thin in personal groups goes back to Ted, or was Murphy interfering with Ted using Russ Ball as some sort of cut out over the past couple years. Lots of unknowns here. In any case, that was out of McCarthy control, he had to make do with what he was given by Ted and now Gute. Outside of on field personal management which has been sloppy at times, I think he has done OK. Still, there is more than enough reasons to replace McCarthy if the Packers go that route. I just don't think that Rodgers current play is one of those reasons.

Guam's picture

Couldn't agree more HankScorpio! Move the chains and rest your defense. Big plays are exciting for the fans, but give me a long drive every time.

pacman's picture

Rarely is a CheeseheadTV article so wrong!

ILPackerBacker's picture

Is there another cheeseheadtv somewhere? the articles are about 50 50 and this one is just another one. It fits and kind of is typical of the author

TheBigCheeze's picture

Hank.....I've been saying that all year.....dink 'n' dunk......the essence of the west coast offense......

Minniman's picture

This is hardly a sage comment but someone as athletically talented and cerebral as Rodgers should be shredding defenses with short yardage throws to open up the chunk plays.

Add in a viable running back who averages decent yards per carry and on-paper the packers should be moving the chains with more ease than the eye shows

Although I did notice Rodgers in the Minnesota game using the checkdown to Jones more than he previously has (with Jones doing some OK things after catch)

Duke Divine's picture

Take more chances?!?!?! How about take what the defense gives you!! How about Take a damn check down to a TE or RB for a first down every now and then!!!!!!!!!!!

The TKstinator's picture

One more time: how often have his receivers been open? ;)

PS I live to poke the piranha.

flackcatcher's picture

Can't tell. Pad level too high.

dobber's picture

"Maybe Rodgers’ shoulder is bothering him or maybe his knee has lingering pain. If those things are the case, say it, otherwise stop making excuses."

But wouldn't we all view his blaming injuries as him making excuses at this point?

Minniman's picture

Some good points and adding to it, if injuries were still a factor for Rodgers wouldn't it make sense to schematically help him?

Lare's picture

Rodgers obviously can't get himself to do what he needs to do to help the team win, so it's up to McCarthy to do so. All he needs to do is tell the receivers to never get more than 20 yards from the LOS. Rodgers can't always be looking for the long pass if there's nobody there to throw to.

packergal's picture

Does anyone know IF what Rodgers reportedly said to Josh Rosen is accurate?

"...Rodgers admitted to Josh Rosen he has to basically goof around in practice just to stay mentally sharp..."

If it is accurate Cory, then apparently Rodgers DOES look in the mirror, does NOT see any issues, and continues to believe he IS mentally sharp..

stockholder's picture

MM needs to Go: ???? No He doesn't. Murphy needs to go. The contract of Arron Rodgers has been a failure so far. I don't believe Gute can steer this team in the right direction. (Especially without MM.) Randall, Hyde, Trotter,Hayward,Cook, and Peppers, are doing great. MM has gone on record about letting guys go. But yet Dix and Monty opened the door for others. Still their gone. And Now you want to play Musical Chairs with the head Coach. This team is not the team that started the season. Gute has changed things. And MM must go along. Success comes with winning. But this is like an all Rookie team. They make gains and then it's back to square one. This team has No power in the trenches. You just can't go out and buy players and expect to make the super-bowl. How many TEs have come and gone? It's just a ton of things that have gone bad. And Now we have to change the coach, because his magic wand can't make players special. Special players, game changers, strength and power players, don't need to learn anything. They make their own opportunities. Arron Rodgers was good. But look at how many players he's had to deal with. Frustration should not change leadership. Excuses are not what winners do. Management caused these problems. They relied on MM and he relied on Rodgers. But who did Rodgers and MM rely on. Management! Yes, this season is on the front office. Mixing things up, and putting a new spin on it. Won't help MM or any new coach. And the coaching change won't help what plagues Rodgers.

packergal's picture

Trotter is gone?
Drat. "JC Trotter" was my favorite. :-)

TheBigCheeze's picture

stock.....what a blathering bunch o' bull$h!t.......MM is the main reason they're losing.....we'll start with piss-poor clock short offensive game....not firing gad-Zook.....the list seems to grow every week.....enough already....

stockholder's picture

Big Cheese this is not about Garbage. A-Rod is guilty more than MM. A-Rod only looks for Adams. He missed several Wrs , not to mention a wide open RB. He called several Time outs. You never see a head coach fire his own during the season. The IR grows every week. MM lost players that are better elsewhere. WHO WAS THAT ON? He wasn't the DC. And he was hired for offense more than the defense. The drafts of Gute cannot be judged in 1 year. And Look at Crosby= worse year? A-Rods worse year? Cobbs worse year? Daniels first time out? Dix traded? Randall traded? #1 picks BC. Perry? Right G. who fixes that? Wilkerson IR? All these guys counted on but No depth. Tom Landry coached the Cowboys for years. It took a great draft and qb to win again. And it will be the same for the Packers.

edp1959's picture


stockholder's picture

I love Blonde thinking.

pacman's picture

Here's a new angle that hasn't seen any coverage. I got this from my nephew who is a Vikings fan but lives in Chicago. (I'm from Chicago but I'm a GB fan. So we are pretty open minded - LOL)

Apparently, AR's new flame is a die hard Bears fan. He wouldn't be the first guy to throw his friends under the bus for a girl.

Season is over so might as well have some blog fun - (sad).

Leland's picture

Drew Brees throws to anybody, he doesn't have to be his BFF. One dimensional play whether its run v pass or one receiver v all receivers won't work.
Tae can't be the possession receiver and the home run threat, maybe give Kumerow a chance at possession?
Without a doubt MM has serious problems with his time management and play selection at critical times.

The TKstinator's picture

As long as the possession you speak of isn't demonic.

LeotisHarris's picture

+1 Pretty sure the Packers are working with the Kiwanis Club and the Masons on a "Just Say No" to demonic possession initiative.

The TKstinator's picture

And a free bowl of pea soup to all participants.

Since '61's picture

Let me see if I understand the premise of this article.

Rodgers would be better and would help the Packers by throwing more interceptions. In other words all those picks Brett Favre threw that everyone ripped him apart for were good for the Packers??!!??!

It's amazing how quick everyone is to throw the team's best player under the bus. If you want to go back to the '70s and '80s the quickest way there is to fire McCarthy and get rid of Rodgers. Once that is done 2017 will be Groundhogs Day in Green Bay for a long time.

Try to bring FAs to Green Bay without Rodgers. See how fast they line up to play in Green Bay when there is no chance to even win a game never mind an SB.

We're blaming Rodgers for losing games and he is not throwing picks imagine what would be posted if he was throwing picks and we were losing games.

Rodgers needs to play better no question. But have you ever considered why he is so risk averse, if that's true. He knows that if he throws a pick it will be turned into points. He knows that his defense has not been good enough to make stops and get him the ball back.

Bart Starr hated to throw picks as well but he knew that his defense could make a play and get him the ball back. Since 2010 Rodgers has never had a defense that could win a game for the team.

Where the Packers go from here is anyone's guess. Probably home in early January. But having Rodgers take more risks and throw picks is not the answer. Thanks, Since '61

packerbackerjim's picture

Nailed it, Since ‘61.

Since '61's picture

Thanks packerbackerJim. Since '61

zoellner25's picture

Well put

Since '61's picture

Thanks zoellner. How are we to quantify if Rodgers takes more risks anyway? Will it be based on him completing more passes or throwing more picks.

After Rodgers throws a pick or two are we going to say, "The picks are OK because it means that Rodgers is taking more risks." This is ridiculous.

Or are we going to base it on Rodgers completing more passes into tight windows. Which may be the result of good route running or a very accurate pass.

Either way MM and/or AR will take the hits. Thanks, Since '61

Johnblood27's picture

Far be it for me to be a Corey Jennerjohn apologist, but I think you missed his point if you think he is advocating that AR throw Favrian levels of picks and that would be OK.

He is saying that Rodgers risk aversion has gone to obsessive-compulsive levels and he doesn't give his receivers a chance to make a play unless they are wide open and that AR needs to give his receivers more of a chance to actually make contested catches instead of throwing the ball 5 yards over the top or in the dirt 5 yards in front of their feet.

I agree that AR needs to take more chances, get the ball out of his hands sooner and give the receivers a chance to be what they are getting paid to be. This is the NFL, there will most always be a defender very close to you even when you are targeted (unless it is the Packers defense).

Since '61's picture

No, I understand exactly what Corey is advocating. My point is if that results in more picks how is it good for the Packers?

Secondly, Rodgers sees what these do or don't do in practice. Maybe he has seen that they do not make contested catches. Maybe he sees the ball going off of their hands and into the the defenders during practice. Maybe the rookies who are evolving in their roles are not as good as they are hyped up to be like the rest of the roster, except for Adams, Bak, Clark, Alexander and Martinez. Thanks, Since '61

Johnblood27's picture

61, if that is what AR sees in practice, maybe he should audible out of run plays less, maybe even audible from pass to run occasionally, and put the ball into the hands of AJ more.

Im not into apologizing for a multiple MVP SB winning QB that is clearly underperforming.

just sayin...

Minniman's picture

What a confronting but great comment Since 61'

The sad truth is that Green Bay is NOT a first choice destination for free agents (see Allan Robinson earlier this season choosing the Bears over the Packers.... even before the Mack trade).

While it's close to inevitable now that this is MM's last year in GB, I think that the main point will be his proven reluctance to cede play calling to to-be-hired Offensive Coordinator who would bring a revitalized playbook to GB.

It's that obstinance in believing that nobody can call plays better than him that will see him let go - he couldn't help but interfere even if he publicly said that he'd cede play calling

Rick F's picture

When you can’t teach Rodgers and hold him accountable to his fundamentals the offense will struggle. Brees, Brady,Rivers all over 30 have adjusted their play style. Those guys are all the leader of their teams, great players have a fierce level of competitiveness. Those guys support and even cheer defense. Read on article on Rivers early in the year. It said Rivers told the coach this is what I see and I need this personnel grouping. He said the game plan didn’t change just the position of the players and attacked it the same way. The head coach said it was quick conversation and they had it changed by the next series. You must trust your players. Rodgers said he runs the 2 minute drill and he decides what plays to run. Sometimes the coach has to listen to the Quarterback and adjust it to what he sees. The all 22 tells the story but the eyes of the quarterback gives you the description of the play.

Lare's picture

So Rodgers calls the plays during the 2 minute drill. How many times have they scored this year within 2 minutes?

Rick F's picture

The point is the communication between the 2 is fractured. Rodgers lead a drive against bears that he had to get them into the best play. The stubborn selfish behavior between the two is crazy. Emotions are high the frustration is higher. The rhythm of the offense is so up and down and they would rather crash and burn then work together to and fix it.

The TKstinator's picture


Bearmeat's picture

I agree with Hank. Rodgers needs to take less risk, stay on schedule, and limit hits. 2/3rds of the sacks this year are his own damn fault.

That said, now that this year is over, I'd like to see what the young guys can do, and wouldn't be opposed to more risk. Why not?

CheesyTex's picture


I guess that would give #12 time to heal for '19, and maybe rework his game.

Hard to see through how much of this is physical for #12 (shoulder and knee) vs. head case, but we saw what happened when #4 took more risks.

zoellner25's picture

They just need to convert more 3rd downs. Too many deep or isolation routes and not enough easy routes just to convert, slants, crossers, bunch formations, etc. Too many bad play calls and bad execution. We are terrible on 3rd down. To me, that mostly falls on McCarthy with some bad throws by 12

And taking sacks on 3rd down. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

ILPackerBacker's picture

Have to lol at this type of article and response.

Adams blew the block on 4th down. ADAMS. Do you know who said that? Rodgers. he also tried to excuse it by saying it was ESB who blocked in practice but was not in on that play.

I know it is to much for the simpletons who like easy and obvious if Rodgers were perfect this would not be happening.

But not one article is mentioning the repeated failures of the players around Rodgers. Not even a thing. It is all on Rodgers. Rodgers should have thrown the ball more inside so Adams COULD NOT have stepped out of bounds while in the soft spot of a soft zone, not man to man, not being shadowed and not in double coverage.

Adams not being able to make a catch real # 1 WRs make. 3 big fails on Adams yet the problem is Rodgers.

How about the OL that according to 'experts' and this site was a league top pass blocking? Yet a leader ofg the league in sacks and especially on 3rd down. One running attempt on 3rd and 3 or less in the last 17 attempts going into MN. That is on Rodgers because he should have completed the pass. LOOK AFTER RODGERS RUNS FOR HIS LIFE OR PASSES ELSEWHERE A RECEIVER COMES OPEN. Rodgers should have changed the personnel package and put Jones on the field. Why is Rodgers letting Tramon keep failing to fair catch?

If you want to insult yourself with bad writing that's fine but don't insult the rest of us.

LeotisHarris's picture

Pro tip: don't accuse anyone of insulting themselves with bad writing when you can't string together coherent thoughts or grammatically correct sentences.

The TKstinator's picture

La misma pagina, amigo.

Johnblood27's picture

You're setting the bar pretty damn high there Leotis...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Looking at where Davante lined up vis-a-vis Harrison Smith, I wondered how in the hell Davante was supposed to make that block. I even wondered if Adams was supposed to line up tighter to the OL.

Ferrari Driver's picture

I disagree. Favre broke our hearts by taking chances and one game in particular sticks in my memory was against the Rams in 2002 when he threw 6 interceptions during the playoffs.

I like the way Rodgers takes care of the ball and I feel confident he will not lose the game.

Tarynfor12's picture

" I like the way Rodgers takes care of the ball and I feel confident he will not lose the game."

I guess you're as confident that his taking care of the ball, he won't win the game either.

LeotisHarris's picture

Ball security > pad level

The TKstinator's picture

Crystal ball security>ball security

Tarynfor12's picture

If the trust is there, the Rodgers needs to throw the ball and let that trust play out.
It's one thing to trust a receiver to run the right route and it's another to trust that receiver to make the play.

Rodgers may be in stress mode dealing with both of the above equally or deciding which should be dictated.

His decision making time is now a egg timer and either he accepts that INT's will happen but having that happen, the offense can over come that.

Having the same belief in the defense to overcome that INT is another issue and if he has no faith in the defense, then he must be in fear of every pass being a score, if INT, because of the defense.

Perhaps Rodgers has seen the cliff's edge and hitting the brakes on his daring and confident play was/is his quick response decision.

Oppy's picture

It's no secret that one of Rodgers' personal goals is to have the "perfect season", a season without a single interception. He absolutely HATES the first interception of the season for that reason.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to want to play mistake-free football, and clearly, throwing INTs is something you want to avoid. But I've long held the belief that the level to which Rodgers takes his apprehension of INTs is to the point where he's not taking shots that should be taken. He's near phobic of INTs and overall, I believe the net result is more drive killing than protection from damaging turn over.

Watching Rodgers operate in 2009-2012 and comparing it to the majority of the last 4 years, what really sticks out is he has become gun shy when it comes to pulling the trigger and sticking a ball into tight spots. What other QBs consider viable targets, Rodgers seems to consider "too tightly covered to throw to".

edp1959's picture

And you know this personal goal how? Did he tell you or is this more blabbering bull?

Oppy's picture

It's almost like you got me.. except he's talked about it in locker room interviews in years gone by.

Minniman's picture

I must say Taryn, and this probably fits more in the category of the fractured relationship between MM and AR, AR wasn't particularly emphatic about keeping the ball in hand when they decided to punt the ball away while trailing late in the 4th quarter of the Seattle game.

That's either faith in the D-line to get stop or turn-over or "Whatever, Mike!"

Rak47's picture

Interesting note, if the season ended today the Packers would have a coin flip with the Cleveland Browns for the 11th pick in the draft. A top ten pick is a definite possibility by week 17.

Holecrap's picture

Thank You for your observation Cory. I hate to say it but I have a heightened sence of observation that at times I cant stand myself. I gave the doctor a 7.5 when he slapped my ass as a baby. LOL

Anyways years ago the Pack were on a roll, like 5-0 and looked unstopable. Then they played the chiefs and the chiefs played man against the very hot Rodgers. He threw two early picks and his day was ruined.

I observed not only did he lose it, his entire demeanor changed and he was afraid to toss the ball for fear of another pick.

Thats when I figured out he is all about perfection and not getting interceptions. They haunt him which makes him timid at times to throw the ball to a covered receiver so he tosses it away. I think he falsely expects perfection for the receivers too and any one how doesn't give him that he pretends they don't exist that day. I mean how can MVS look all world one game and get one pass thrown to him the next. I think its Rodgers taking it out on guys at the expense of missing open receivers just to get even?

Skip greenBayless's picture

Absolutely love your post Derty Ernesto!! Getting sick and tired of Rodgers and his effin "I don't trust you so I'm not throwing to you even if you are wide open " bs. MVS has been totally ignored since the Rams game. It's bloody madness. If he's more concerned about his qb ratings than winning a ball game than it's time to retire. Nobody is going to punish Rodgers for throwing an interception I can assure you. We don't want Monk as our quarterback. OCD can be a hindrance in the NFL.

The TKstinator's picture


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