Cory's Corner: The Little Things Are Big

It's all fundamental for Aaron Rodgers.

The little things matter. 

Remember when Aaron Rodgers said he saw something from his 2010 self that made him change?

He hasn't had to worry about that much in the past because his out-of-this-world talent superceded any fundamental flaws that popped up. Throwing off the back foot? Don't worry, his arm strength can more than cover it. Holding on to the ball a bit too long? No worries, because he will thread the needle. 

However, even Rodgers noticed that he wasn't able to hide those fundamental peccadillos as he kicked off his 13th season as a starter.

"The big focus of this offseason for me in training camp was, I've talked about seeing some stuff in some old film, but a lot of it was the comfort in the offense," said Rodgers, who threw for 364 yards, four touchdowns and had a completion percentage of 73 percent as the Packers beat the Vikings 43-34 in the 2020 season opener. "I feel like I can deal the ball as quickly as I want to, and today was a good start for that. I feel like I was on time with my throws. There wasn't the need for a lot extended plays, and the couple that we had, turned inot pretty good plays. I'm feeling good about the tempo that we had, feeling good about the rhythm and the balance that I had in the pocket as well."

In other words, he looked like vintage Rodgers. Dating back to 2017, Rodgers has shown that precision only one time in the regular season — when he completed 81 percent of his passes on Oct. 20 of last year when the Packers destroyed the Raiders by 18.

Now, I've already heard enough people say that Rodgers has to do it again because that Vikings defense was nothing at all like previous stout Minnesota defenses. 

That's true. The inexperienced corners that Minnesota trotted out there got burned so bad that Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling left charcoal on the field. But that isn't Rodgers' or Green Bay's problem. How many times have the Dolphins or Jets been vastly inferior only to have Tom Brady feast on their flimsy defenses? It has happened plenty, and that's one of the reasons Brady struggled in New Orleans, because he is finally facing tougher competition. 

This is awesome because it all happened within the framework of the offense. If Mike McCarthy were still here, the Packers would've thrown early and often. However, Matt LaFleur used the run to set up the pass and it worked beautifully. 

"I thought Aaron did what he always does — just goes out there and executes at a hight level each and every week," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. "He's one of the most accurate quarterbacks out there."

But Rodgers has always had arm talent and he has always been one of the smartest guys in the room. Rodgers has evolved. He turns 37 in December and he knows that he cannot get away with the same things that he got away with 10 years ago. That's why he needed to take a step back in time and reboot his fundamentals. 

Rodgers knows that he doesn't have to do it all because he has an elite running back that takes the burden off him. But Rodgers' jersey was clean on Sunday. He has been ripped in the past for his throwaways, but I'd rather see him throw it into the third row than take an unncecessary hit. He threw it away three times on Sunday and there were also a pair of drops.

Rodgers is getting older, but he is also adept enough to realize that he cannot stand still. His skills aren't like they have always been and in order to maintain a high amount of efficiency, he needs to master the fundamentals. 

Usually the fundamentals lecture comes from the coach. When it comes from the player, that just speaks to how smart, mature he is and how much he desperately wants to win. 

 

 

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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)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:20 am

Rodgers looked great. It's highly encouraging. I'm excited for this season.

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pacman's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:55 am

Can't argue with success but did anyone really see anything different in AR's throws. He still was flicking the ball and not stepping into the throws. He didn't underthrow MVS so that was good. (ok, a tiny bit and a tiny bit to Lazard but WR have to earn their money too).

I wonder if we'll start seeing those back shoulder throws with Adams this year like we used to see with Jordy. It would protect Adams from getting flipped in the middle of the field.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 15, 2020 at 08:03 pm

Maybe the receivers were in the spots called for by the timing of the play?

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stockholder's picture

September 15, 2020 at 08:05 am

If only BG would have looked back. Finding the Little things is what matters. I believe Arron Rodgers told them what they need. And No one listened. Arron Rodgers wants to win. He didn't change. And I feel will hear more secrets, when Rodgers is done as a Packer. We must play Arron Rodgers. I just can't imagine this team with out him. He proved he can carry the G.

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 15, 2020 at 01:08 pm

I'm relatively new here, so excuse me if this is supposed to be obvious, but...is there some reason why you constantly misspell Rodger's first name?

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:27 pm

So instead of someone responding to my question, just two downvotes. Cool.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 16, 2020 at 12:15 am

You will always get downvotes in here for being the grammar police. There is your response. This aint english lit. Its cheesehead nation brosef

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 16, 2020 at 08:18 am

I'm pretty sure it's intentional, and not a grammar issue. I was just curious why.
R-E-L-A-X brosef.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 16, 2020 at 09:21 pm

I think down votes without a response help little and in the few instances where I disagree with a post, I may comment without using a down vote. The only time I can recall the down votes is when someone goes political on the website. I feel this is a football forum run by people and participants who have one thing in common...we all love the Packers and want the team to win. There are other website for politics and prefer to stick to the Packers on this one.

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Guam's picture

September 15, 2020 at 08:09 am

I thought Rodgers was throwing into some tighter windows against Minnesota than I have seen in the past couple of years. More confidence in his receivers or disdain for their young CBs or something else? IDK, but I liked it.

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Lphill's picture

September 15, 2020 at 08:44 am

Let’s hope Rodgers continues this week but let’s use Dillon on the goal line not Jones and let’s get the ball to the tight end also , not many throws to tight ends against the Vikings.

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Guam's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:10 am

Agreed Lp. I like Jones, but he is not a goal line back. Dillion or Williams are much better suited for three yards and a cloud of dust.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:48 pm

It would help if Patrick makes his block.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 16, 2020 at 12:18 am

Yeah. I sort of agree. But i also know that if there is a hole, jones will find it over williams. Aj dillon will get his reps especially in december.

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x24's picture

September 15, 2020 at 08:45 am

Good news indeed, because with this Packer defense, it will take more than 43 points to beat a team like N.O.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:17 am

I don't think it was only Rodgers, MLF deserves credit for this destruction of the Vikings D. The offense just seemed to roll, confusing the Vikes, and me. There seemed so many options. TE's didn't catch passes but they were integral. Receivers didn't just catch the ball they also ran end arounds. Jones was given rest and was fresh at the end while Williams and Dillon looked like either could start. And Adams was fed as he should be. It was fun to watch. Now the D... I was discouraged to hear MLF say he wasn't watching, too busy concentrating on his planning for the offense. He'd better start paying attention. OTOH, we may have found a decent ILB in Barnes. Just need a big ugly in the middle.

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Since'61's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:32 am

Who else in the league could make that TD throw to Adams on the move. It was a frozen rope thrown on the run to the spot where only Adams could catch it. After all these seasons I’m still amazed that Rodgers can make throws like that.

As for the goal line I would use Dillon as a lead blocker for Jones. Or use Jones as a decoy then give it to Dillon. When Jones is alone in the backfield at the goal the defense knows to key on him.
Also we need to come up to the LOS and snap the ball quickly rather than running down to the last second. I watched the Titans do that with Henry last evening with excellent results. It would also make Rodgers hard count more effective in getting the defense off side if the Packers ran some plays with quick snaps effectively.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

No one likes the forced timeouts but Rodgers is smart enough to know he needs those timeouts later, so why is this a constant issue? I think Rodgers is making a tradeoff, preferring to take the time regularly to look over the defense, at the expense of losing timeouts. It's a choice but I'm sure they'll try to find a better middle ground.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 15, 2020 at 07:58 pm

They were running long counts as part of the TOP strategy. Why hurry up with a lead? Drain the clock.
If you want to play power ball use the fullback lead and just drive the ball forward. Too much motion from inside the five. This has never been a great trapping team.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 16, 2020 at 12:22 am

Rodgers was diagnosing the d and taking advantage of the 0 crowd noise. He was audibling into different plays constantly. We scored 43 points. Let him do the things he does.

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Packers0808's picture

September 15, 2020 at 10:37 am

It seems we will need Harrison and Veldheer or someone unless PS guys can be moved up!

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4thand10's picture

September 15, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Rodgers is 36 still....and that is not old for a great QB. And he is a great QB. We watched a culmination of yr 2 in a system, good coaching and WRs maturing.

The TE room improved, the RB room improved greatly. Williams pounded the rock and caught passes against tough defenses last yr when Jones was out. Dillons entire college career yards 75% of the time were against stacked boxes. Im more excited about this running group than I have been in a long time.

Still think we need a nose that can slide over to DE or vice versa. I felt we needed one last year. Clark is great, but you still need to spell him or if theres an injury....

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 16, 2020 at 12:30 am

I 100 percent agree. Hes only 36. In 2016 he was great. 2017 got hurt. 2018 he wore a knee brace. 2019 new system. 2020. Arodg is back! And yeah they are being very stubborn about getting interior d line help. Maybe cus dean lowry was a guteknst signing? Probably his 2nd worst behind jimmy graham. He makes 7 mil a year which is top dollar for a 3 4 interior "run defender". if anything i wouldnt mind seeing gary in the middle. Hes got the size and strength.
O

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 16, 2020 at 10:02 pm

If they want to win it all, they better get serious about solidifying the D line. Make a deal BG. Lancaster can fill as a NT. He is not a 3-4 DE. Keke has to be in on the action. Best to go 4-2 fronts with Za and Gary playing three tech or the five. Lowry was a head scratcher giving him the cash. He can usually bring some pass rush but is getting washed out on the run.

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