Cory's Corner: The Aaron Rodgers effect

Aaron Rodgers did it again.

The best quarterback in the NFL right now sprinkled pixie dust all over Lambeau Field on Monday night en route to a flawless 24-for-35, 333 yards and five touchdowns.

But he’s not just the best quarterback in the league right now. He’s on a track to become the best ever. He has thrown 580 passes at Lambeau without a pick. That’s completely absurd.

In the last 18 games at home, the Packers have gone 17-1 and he has thrown 48 touchdowns.

What’s even more impressive is that Rodgers has gotten better while the situation has gotten more challenging. Last year, he took the Packers to the NFC championship game on a bad calf. And this year, his top wideout Jordy Nelson was lost for the year with an ACL tear in the preseason.

But Rodgers continues.

Tom Brady and Carson Palmer are having nice seasons for the Patriots and Cardinals but Rodgers’ quarterback rating is 16 and 18 points higher than those two.

One of the reasons he’s on the fast track to such a high-reaching legacy is because he’s effortlessly perfect. He throws receivers open and is a master of the free play by pulling defenders offsides with a variety of cadence choruses.

But the biggest reason is he simply makes guys better. The best example is James Jones. Here’s a guy that was cut twice and is now looking like a potential Pro Bowl pick alongside teammate Randall Cobb — both are tied for second in the league with four touchdowns.

There could be an Extreme Makeover: Packers Edition with disappointments Brian Hartline and Sammy Watkins. Rodgers would whip those guys into shape very quickly.

The argument against Rodgers is the same one Peyton Manning hears. The Packers will have back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks and in what will be 24 years this year there will only be two championships to show for it. Rings have become ground zero for all quarterback arguments, but teams win titles not individuals.

Is it fair to hold Rodgers back just because of a failed onside kick or an injury? Dan Marino never got the credit he deserved just because he never won the big game.

But that won’t happen with Rodgers. His What About Bob obsessive compulsive tendencies to committing turnovers and demanding perfection from his teammates will churn out another ring in Titletown.

But Rodgers is different. Unlike superstars like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, Rodgers isn’t a pain to play with. Teammates don’t loathe playing alongside Rodgers because he’s a jokester and never takes himself too seriously. And we all know, he isn’t afraid to call out Russell Wilson when he makes no sense.

Rodgers is Brady and Manning with mobility. His accuracy on the run is comparable to his three-step drop. He can outthink most defenses and will never take unnecessary chances. If he has a flaw, it’s that he held the ball too long, but that has been masked recently by his escapability.

Rodgers is the face of the NFL. Quarterbacks must now be smarter, process things quicker and showcase their arm talent at even better levels.

When Rodgers retires in nearly 10 years, people are going to love comparing the risk taker in Brett Favre vs. the precision maker in Rodgers.

Rodgers may have never been the NFL’s iron man, but he is redefining the position by continually raising the bar on his own excellence.

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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 (21)

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Lphill's picture

September 30, 2015 at 07:15 am

Nice article , I think teams will adjust to his hard count so that may be short lived , I would like to see a deep threat develop , maybe it will be Janis , but it looks like a fun ride this season so let's all enjoy it.

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JerseyAl's picture

September 30, 2015 at 08:38 am

the only way to adjust to the hard count is for the DL to not try to anticipate the snap and sit tight until they see the ball snapped. That helps the offensive linemen a great deal, which is the purpose of the hard count, not drawing offsides penalties - those are just a nice bonus.

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Mojo's picture

September 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Right, the biggest benefit of the hard count is to the o-lineman, even more so than the penalties generated. It's a huge advantage if they can get into their sets before being contacted by the d-line.

It's why playing a team like Seattle at home is so important. Much easier for ARod to set the opposing d-line on their heals, when he can play the pre-snap games and not have to use the silent count..

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 30, 2015 at 07:37 am

I don't know, after Monday nights game? According to PFF he was just an average QB Monday night.

Rodgers is purely the best QB in the league right now. He is seeing everything, and knows everything that is going on.

My favorite moment from Monday nights game was when Rodgers had to tell the refs that there was 12 guys on the field. He knew what was going on more then them.

The biggest thing for this team right now is to stay healthy. If they can stay healthy (and haven't had the best of luck with that this year), they will be in contention for playing in the super bowl.

Like Lphill said, lets enjoy the ride.

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Otto's picture

September 30, 2015 at 11:58 am

This is scary: He said in his press conference after the game he knew what defense they were going to run the next play by the personnel groupings waiting to come on to the field. BEFORE they lined up! BEFORE the players were on the field.
He said it with that wry smile. That has to send chills down defensive coordinator's spines.

One of the guys on NFL Network said Rodgers is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. Good assessment.

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 30, 2015 at 03:07 pm

Couldn't agree more. At the same time, why are we even talking about an average QB here? According to PFF, we might as well play Tolzien I guess. Or Hundley. Both are probably better. Maybe they'd give us a -0.7...

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Tundraboy's picture

September 30, 2015 at 07:57 am

Rodgers is simply the best. We are very fortunate to have him. This last game is a perfect example. His throws, presence and mobility are unmatched. Enjoy all.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 30, 2015 at 08:48 am

Yea, good article. But I'm worried about that PFF grading. Maybe I'll watch the game again, to see that below average QB night... I must say I did not pay much attention of that. I was just enjoying of Packers dominating very good to excellent team - overplayed and overcoached them totally... By their own words... But, who knows, maybe PFF saw something I missed. I have to check. If for no other reasons, for pure joy!
EDIT: I just saw title of another article: "Rodgers is playing a different game" and then I understood what is goping with PFF. They are still grading regular football game, not the extraordinary football game. Poor them...

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JerseyAl's picture

September 30, 2015 at 09:23 am

Basically, PFF is penalizing Rodgers for throwing to the guy who is open underneath if that receiver happens to run for a TD. Pretty much all credit goes to the WR in their eyes. Seem to ignore that the pass lead them perfectly to allow them to "run to daylight"

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 30, 2015 at 02:43 pm

It gives the yac credit to the WR. Like if a RB blocks a player and does it well the RB gets a positive grade. It cant and doesn't take into account if the RB is blocking yhe wrong player. He still gets a positive grade. They have no way of knowing anything b4 the snap, so they don't try.

Nothing to complex about it but its a understandable limitation of their grades.

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wimiller's picture

September 30, 2015 at 09:27 am

what can you say, but to sit back and enjoy watch pretty much perfection. like gretsky or usain bolt. only Unitas in a very different era and very different game played at this level consistently. at least as far as my failing memory can dredge up.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

September 30, 2015 at 10:44 am

As fans we have been blessed to have 3 great QB all with different styles. This one may top them all, I saw from Starr on and to me he was excellent but soon we will run out of words to describe what Rodgers does on the field, he is super human.

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John Galt III's picture

September 30, 2015 at 01:17 pm

I'm almost 70 so saw a lot of Starr. Starr was simply Lombardi's on field manager. Starr called the plays not Lombardi or an Offensive Coordinator. No flashy statistics or rifle arm. Lombardi built the team on running and not passing. That is why the power sweep is remembered. When you see pics of the Packers offense there is Kramer and Thurston leading the way for Taylor, Hornung, Pitts and so forth.

Talk about running setting up the pass - I mean every team, knew what play the Packers were going to run. Lombardi just kept running it and jammed it down their throats. Once the run was established Starr could pick them apart. Remember not one TE or WR from the Lombardi era is in the HOF, but two OL's and two RB"s are and of course Starr.

Starr was a 17th round draft choice.

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Portland Mark's picture

September 30, 2015 at 02:19 pm

I'm a little too young to remember Starr. However, looking at the stats on profootballreference.com, it looks like the Taylor and Horung were really slowing down by 1965. Starr had to carry the offense for the last two championships. At least that's the way the record book looks.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 30, 2015 at 05:24 pm

Correct. In the early 60s NFL champ yrs the run game dominated. However, by SB 1 the run game was irrelevant for the most part. Starr carried the teams to SB 1 and 2 titles, no doubt about it.

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ray nichkee's picture

September 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

I may be going out on a limb here but i think the blocking by the wide recievers has much to do with the success as a group. That may be why jones is doing so good, ive seen montgomery in there too. I have a feeling that is why janis is not in there much but he is improving. WRs are crosstrained in all positions which may help them be in a position to block after the throw. Rodgers is awesome but i think the players and coaches come together on the same page when they are kicking ass. It helps downfield in the running game too. I watch a lot of football and i dont see the same thing consistantly with most teams.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2015 at 01:12 pm

I am curious: What was Alex Smith's PFF grade? Negative 15? -20?

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sheppercheeser's picture

September 30, 2015 at 02:09 pm

To be clear, AR was good, but not flawless. I read another article which headlined that Rodgers was -0.8 in its assessment. I don't agree, but they did bring up a few points that were not flawless. Rodgers fumbled, though it was negated by a KC penalty and he almost threw an interception (yeah, I know "almost") to a fumble-fingered LB. They also said his TDs were "too easy", which I won't even dignify.

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 30, 2015 at 03:19 pm

I'm not sure I've ever seen a flawless game from anybody at this level. There are always balls which might be thrown better, there may be "almost" INTs... What's funny to me is that over the whole game, those 2 plays really were the only 2 ones. And none of those ended up to be negative for the Packers in the end in any way. Otherwise, he had a few incompletions, but some should've been caught (does "almost caught" end up being a positive for the QB for PFF? I doubt it).
The "too easy" are really too funny to me. So basically, PFF is saying, once the Packers are down there, substitute #12 out and anybody (for instance me) in, somehow get the ball to the WR (I am quite confident I could throw the ball that far as well) and the result will be the same as the WR does all the work. Really??? Maybe I should apply with MM to be substituted in at 1st & goal. After all, the only requirement for me is to throw the ball short to a WR and let him do his stuff.

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Tommyboy's picture

September 30, 2015 at 06:04 pm

About a month ago, Corys Corner suggested we didn't know how Rodgers would perform without Nelson. I thought it a bit of an absurd question (still do). I knew Rodgers would continue to shred defenses. However, I'm surprised he's somehow raised the bar even more. This guy is ridiculous. I'm loving every second.

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Bohj's picture

September 30, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Can we put this PFF thing to rest already. It's a tool used to evaluate a performance. They use alot of arbitrary information to come up with a grade. Some of the information is pertinent. But often times alot of the information doesnt make sense because of all of the factors involved. It doesn't mean they're just going to abandon their system because it's flawed. Often times when they grade out CB's or linemen its quite informative. Who cares? It's a bunch of numbers. Use your eyes to see if they played well. I hate how everyone is trying to turn this sport into baseball. Did we win? Was Rodgers awesome? Ok. Case closed.

And another thing. Shouldn't a defense be rated on how many points they give up? Not how many yards they give up? We need to quit being so caught up in numbers that people feed us. Numbers help tell a story....but they don't tell THE story.

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