Game Notes: "Pure Rodgers Erotica"

After the brutality we witnessed at Lambeau Field on Sunday, it would seem like we're finally seeing flashes of what the Green Bay Packers' new offense could look like at full strength.

Except -- they weren't at full strength.

In the third consecutive game without Davante Adams, head coach Matt LaFleur made it a point to emphasize his gameplan around further involving his running backs with both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combining for 23 total touches. Jones, who dropped a wide-open touchdown last week under the primetime lights against the Detroit Lions, even came down with his first touchdown reception of the season on a beautiful adjustment in the right corner of the end zone in the first quarter.

Not having Adams didn't hinder quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Not even a little bit, and that could be said about his play in each of the last three weeks. But what he did against the Raiders was monumental on a historic scale, becoming just the third player in league history to pass for 400+ yards, throw for five touchdowns and run another one in himself. All en route to a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

Dissecting his performance is how we're going to lead this thing off.

"Pure Rodgers Erotica"

I promise I didn't come up with that title. Just watch the video I'm about to embed into this post and it'll explain everything. Um, anyways...

For so long, Rodgers has been the guy who shoulders the entirety of the roster on his back and has to be some kind of superman in order to give the Packers the best possible chance at winning. More often than not this year, that hasn't been the case, and a large part of that is due in part to the system that LaFleur has molded around his 35-year-old quarterback.

Rodgers has been sacked just 12 times through the first seven games, which is the fewest through the first seven games of any season in his career. It's a combination of both consistent, stellar offensive line play and a system that helps Rodgers get the ball out of his hands a lot quicker than in previous years. All you have to do is turn on the film and you'll see him hitting his targets directly out of his drop and playing less "hero ball," i.e., scrambling out of the pocket when he doesn't have to, looking hesitant to pull the trigger on certain throws and just downright uncomfortable.

Sunday against the Raiders marked the sharpest Rodgers has looked all season, and as Zach Kruse of The Packers Wire has noted, it's the first time that his stats have accurately reflected his play. Rodgers may not need to be some kind of superman anymore, but the Packers are in a fortunate position with their signal-caller where he can alternate between playing the role of a game manager and the same superman shtick he has mastered throughout his career.

The Blake Martinez Dilemma™️

This is going to be a thing until the end of time, I can feel it in my bones. No one is ever going to universally agree on the type of player Blake Martinez is, and the reality is, I don't think either side is correct.

You have people who think Martinez is some kind of lost cause and the weakest link on the Packers' defense, then you have people who believe Martinez is the second coming of Ray Lewis or some kind of hybrid between Dick Butkus and Brian Urlacher. He's not either of those things, but he's a damn good football player. A testament to that is the fact that he's currently leading the league in tackles -- a list that he seems to consistently headline.

"Yeah, but his tackles are always way down the field! DERP!" This is where the mystery comes in. Sometimes Martinez crashes down to the line of scrimmage and pushes the opposing running back to the sideline. Sometimes he sits tight at the second level and waits to make the play. We have no idea what he's assigned to do, and a lot of these players' stats are what they are because they're assignment-based. As far as we know, Martinez is doing exactly what his defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, wants him to do.

He's not great in coverage -- and he doesn't need to be. That's not his gig. It never has been. But if the Packers want to stray away from playing big to combat the opposing rushing attack and pair Martinez with an athletic linebacker capable of covering the heart of the defense -- Oren Burks anyone? -- then Martinez wouldn't be put in a position to have to cover.

Also, it's worth noting that it was the hustle of Martinez that forced Derek Carr's fumble out of the end zone on Sunday, which resulted in a touchback. Oh, and while we're here, Martinez also has the same amount of tackles behind the line of scrimmage as Bobby Wagner, and the same amount as Luke Kuechly and Leighton Vander Esch combined.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

8 points

Comments (51)

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

October 22, 2019 at 11:48 am

Blake Martinez is the leading tackler on one of the league best defenses. He's durable and available. He's Stanford smart. If he's your weakest link, you don't really have a problem.

+ REPLY
14 points
14
0
Demon's picture

October 22, 2019 at 06:45 pm

Thats the first nonstupid thing youve said on here. I guess its true that occasionally even a blind squirrel can find a nut.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
Point-Packer's picture

October 22, 2019 at 11:57 am

Martinez is the second coming of AJ Hawk - and I also don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

+ REPLY
-2 points
5
7
murf7777's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Good comparison, but Martinez has more splash plays. He may be even better. Steady, smart, g tough but not great, probably get a couple of pro bowls in his career. At the right price we need to sign him to a long term contract.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Point-Packer's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:22 pm

I'm not so sure Martinez is the long-term solution at ILB. Maybe, but I'm not positive. - bg

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Daren726's picture

October 23, 2019 at 05:39 am

“Not great, but probably get a couple of pro-bowls”. His stats are better than Luke Keuckly. We really don’t know for sure what his assignment is exactly, cause we don’t know exactly what Pettin asks him to do. He’s the leader of the defense. I’m going to say he’s better than AJ Hawk. I would say he’s bordering on great. We need him. No more complaints.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ricky's picture

October 22, 2019 at 11:59 am

To me, Martinez is AJ Hawk. A lunch pail type guy who is solid, dependable and always ready to play. He'll have some games where he is sub-par (Oakland), and others where he seems to be all over the field. He could be upgraded, or he could be a solid starter for years.

+ REPLY
2 points
5.5
3.5
Samson's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Sub-par (Oakland)??
He is credited with 16 tackles against Oakland & leads the entire NFL in tackles over some all-pro players... Is he the perfect ILB? --- Of course not.... All players have weak areas.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
Samson's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I like Martinez.. He's available... He's a tackling machine. --- Will he eventually be a great cover ILB?.. Probably not.. That's not his strength... An upgrade?? --- With who?? --- How about Wagner.. Not going to happen.

The problem with AR's performance against Oakland is obvious... The fanbase will expect that type of play each & every week into the playoffs. --- It won't happen. I can see (especially here) fans moaning & groaning the next average game that AR has this season. The baseless criticism of AR won't end because the naysayers & "debbie downers" love to bitch. ------ 6-1 is all that counts.

+ REPLY
7 points
10
3
ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 23, 2019 at 07:04 am

This is one of the best comments you've had lately and you've had quite a few...

Martinez is a tackling machine and has been for years. Could you even IMAGINE the rushing stats on this defense if Martinez was playing elsewhere? But mostly he's AVAILABLE. On a team that struggles with injuries year in and year out, Martinez comes to work each and every day.

I'd also say Gute knows Martinez isn't a great cover LB hence the drafting of Owen Burks. Hopefully, Burks starts playing himself into a more regular role on defense because he SHOWS he can cover. Hopefully, Martinez stays in GB because if he leaves and Burks doesn't develop the Packers are really screwed at the position.

Be happy we HAVE Martinez Packers fans. We currently have half of the combo and maybe the whole cha cha if Burks starts to develop.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ILPackerBacker's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

One thing you can be certain of. when someone purports to talk about OL play and literally does not have the footwork and recognition of the QB as a top 3 factor, and there is no mention at all about play calling and how it impacts the rush then you know you are reading something not worth the effort of reading.

Then, as in the case of Rodgers, a complete and utter failure to detail how teams REFUSE to pressure Rodgers and how that impacts the OL grades. How rushers are used to chip on receivers. how pass rush is to contain Rodgers. Then not allow him to escape the pocket

This was a really poor post

+ REPLY
-9 points
0
9
JDK52's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm

You're correct that your comment was a really poor post. Glad you're self aware.

"failure to detail how teams REFUSE to pressure Rodgers and how that impacts the OL grades"

Seems like you didn't watch the whole game. Rodgers got drilled while completing a pass to G-Mo early on, and we all know he got sacked by Maxx Crosby early on as well before going on to rip their hearts out with unstoppable play.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
sam1's picture

October 22, 2019 at 01:20 pm

What are you a hater, stupid or fan of the Bears etc?

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Since'61's picture

October 22, 2019 at 08:50 pm

ILPacker - I'm not sure what you are trying to say in your post. It seems like your first paragraph is critical of the author and that your second paragraph is stating that the Packers success against the Raiders was due to a poor pass rush or poor defensive strategy or what?

I don't want to speak for the author but I think the focus was on the execution of the offense and Rodger's great play. As for the Raiders I think they may have used their base defense for much of the game against an uncommon opponent but I don't watch the Raiders unless they're playing the Packer so I'm not sure if that was the case.

Teams won't pressure Rodgers because when Rodgers is playing well it is futile so they go for coverage with 7 or 8 defenders against 5 receivers. Also keeping Rodgers in the pocket means sacrificing some of the pass rush as well. Regardless, the Packers OL and the entire offense just had a great game yesterday.
Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
NMPF's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Comparing AJ to BM is an insult to all of us that watched every Packer game during AJ's career. The only similarities to their game is the in game leadership other than that I just don't see it. Martinez is a better tackler, faster, even though not his strong suit, much better in coverage.

+ REPLY
3 points
5
2
scullyitsme's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:40 pm

I agree about Martinez. He’ll never be a superstar but he’s good enough for now. The real problem/ test will be do we have to pay him superstar money next year. I don’t have an answer, it’ll be a tough call.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
mnbadger's picture

October 22, 2019 at 12:53 pm

AJ Hawk? B4 his 2nd to last year in gb, I bet my college age sons that AJ wouldn't make ten tackles within Four yards of the line of scrimmage, for the year. With my wife's permission, we kept track with chalk behind the sofa. The year ended with 8. Blake is twice the player aj ever was.

+ REPLY
2 points
5
3
LeotisHarris's picture

October 22, 2019 at 01:51 pm

"With my wife's permission, we kept track with chalk behind the sofa." Am I the only one troubled by this method of data collection? I mean, it was your study mnbadger, but jeepers, man, come out of the dark ages. Chalk? For a 16-week season? I hate to cast doubt on your results all these years later, but as long as erasers are a thing, I'm a skeptic.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Johnblood27's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:19 pm

Chalk?

For an entire season?

Behind the couch?

That says more about the wife's floor cleaning than anything else...

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 22, 2019 at 01:33 pm

Here we are and hot topic is Blake Martinez. Life is good right now.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
GBPDAN1's picture

October 22, 2019 at 01:39 pm

We most certainly could do worse at ILB. Martinez is a steady player for the most part. The issue for me is what is he worth? As pointed out in this post, his stats can be somewhat skewed. Other teams may over value him as a FA and offer big bucks , more than he's worth. The Packers can't over pay for him, but they have no replacement as of now. I'm curious to see how this works out with Martinez being in his contract year

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
jannes bjornson's picture

October 22, 2019 at 11:57 pm

Has the guy plateaued? That is the question for Gutekunst. Does he change the nature of the inside game for the defense--not really. Upgrades are on the way in 2020.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
Lphill's picture

October 22, 2019 at 01:57 pm

I don't know why all the hate for AJ Hawk, I think he is the leading tackler all time for the Packers, never having a steady partner to line up with, I would take him over Martinez.

+ REPLY
-3 points
3
6
jannes bjornson's picture

October 23, 2019 at 12:02 am

Hawk vs Haloti Ngata ? Nice call Ted. One guy on a downward trend and the other a perennial ALL PRO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lare's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:08 pm

Martinez probably won't be a Packer next season. The NFL will have 8 teams with over $80 million in salary cap space for 2020, 2 of which will have over $100 million so a team will be throwing silly money at Martinez (the Packers will only have around $25 million).

ILB is one area that the Packers will have to address high in the draft.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Guam's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:32 pm

Nailed it Lare. Martinez is a good, but replaceable player who somebody is going to give stupid money to because he often leads the league in tackles. I like the guy, but do not believe he is an elite player and not worth elite money. If common sense breaks out and he is willing to sign for middling money, I would be happy to see him continue as a Packer, but like you I don't see that happening.

I also think Ty Summers may be his replacement. Similar skill set and with more experience Summers could be good.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PeteK's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:59 pm

Left tackle first.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 22, 2019 at 09:01 pm

The last ILB who led the league in tackles but wasn't good in coverage (Preston Brown) got $5.5M AAV a few years ago. Martinez is a little better. A comparable is Danny Trevathan at $7M AAV ($9.03M adjusted for cap inflation since Trevathan signed back in 2017).

I am not keen on using a premium draft pick to replace Martinez. Nor do I want to rely on starting a 4th round draft pick, although both Martinez and Ryan were fourth-rounders. Remember, though Martinez started day one, he was lousy in coverage as a rookie and awful in his second year. He got a lot better in his third season (PFF named Martinez as the ILB who most improved his coverage grade in 2018, from 47 to 82), but he seems to have regressed somewhat.

PFF grades Martinez as a 65, high average but not quite an above average player. As it happens, that is how I view him. He has been durable. I'd expect his market to be at least $8M and probably $9M AAV. GB can afford that, so I'd probably pay the piper and save picks 1 through 3 for the best players on the board when GB picks. It would be nice if they turned out to be a RT, WR, but I wouldn't pass up a good looking CB who fell in the first or any other round, or any other of a number of position types.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
murf7777's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:18 pm

I wonder if this game and the last few will quite the Rodgers has lost something crowd. Rodgers needed MLF and MLF needed Rodgers and it is starting to show each week. Of course winning cures all but it’s starting to look like a perfect marriage. All you need is a little patience as some of us stated after the first couple of weeks when our D had to win some games for us. Rodgers is just fine and if stays healthy will probably win an MVP and take us back to the big game. Maybe not this year but soon with Gutey and Mlf.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
PeteK's picture

October 22, 2019 at 04:03 pm

Also, two new guards is helping .

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
murf7777's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:23 pm

Sanders traded to SF. Another WR bites the dust! I’m at a quandary, do we trade for a WR like AJ or a very good DL? I’m leaning towards DL. When others zig you zag and D wins championships. I’m not taking an average DL but a very good one that can solidify our line. A great line will only make Martinez and Burks and Co. look that much better.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Lare's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:56 pm

Sanders is 32 years old, coming off a torn Achilles and is currently experiencing knee problems. The Niners can have him.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
4thand1's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:39 pm

Seen a couple of Denver games and Sanders didn't impress me.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 22, 2019 at 09:30 pm

Sanders is indeed 32. He has played every game this season and has played 358 snaps. He played 59 snaps in week 7, so the knee injury isn't stopping him. He has 30 recs on 44 targets (68.2%) for 367 yds (12.2 yds/rec and 52.4 yds per game). Denver has a below-average OL and Joe Flacco (86 passer rating). I don't know what you want, but he fits the bill in terms of immediate help.

Denver got a 3rd and a 4th and sent a 5th to SF. Sanders' cap number for the acquiring team would be $6.03M. That is a substantial amount. He will be a FA in 2020, so he would have to be paid or GB could get a comp pick in 2021, likely to be a 3rd (or a 4th at the worst).

Tough call. I don't know how long it would take for Sanders to acclimate. He is a veteran. I don't know how much it would cost to re-sign him. Moot now. He didn't impress 4th and 1: we play SF on Nov. 24, so we will see how he looks.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:38 pm

Patriots are 7-0 won last night 33-0. Today they trade for a #2 for Sanu falcons WR - come on Gute go get AJ Green - get er done!!

+ REPLY
-1 points
1
2
dobber's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:42 pm

Green hasn't played a game, yet, and they don't know when he will. He's gotta play before you trade for him (and it looks like he won't before the deadline), otherwise if you trade for a guy who's hurt you're asking for what you get.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
flackcatcher's picture

October 22, 2019 at 08:05 pm

Bengals made it clear they are not trading him even if he were healthy, and he made it clear he does not wanted to be move. Like you say dobber, he can't be moved. I don't get it.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 22, 2019 at 09:54 pm

That seems like a lot for Sanu. I gather from Bill Barnwell's article that NE and SF both wanted Sanu. In my article I estimated a 4th or 5th for Sanu. Belichick isn't afraid to use his own valuations in trades, or to go for it.

Sanders went for a 3rd, with Denver getting SF's 4th as well but sending Denver's 5th to SF. Since SF is 6-0 and Denver is 2-5, that isn't much more than a flip flop of picks in the 130 or 140 range. True price was a 3rd rounder and some change.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
shmelbs's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:18 pm

Maybe it's just me, but amidst all of Rodgers' brilliance last Sunday, it looked like he had an issue underthrowing several receivers. Not just MVS, who can outrun a Rodgers throw, but the TD throw to Kumerow, for example, and a couple others, too. I don't know what the issue might be. It wasn't a deal-breaker last Sunday, but may be something to pay attention to moving forward?

A second issue I noticed is that for the second week in a row a lot of players were slipping on the field. What's up with that, ground crew?

+ REPLY
4 points
5
1
4thand1's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:41 pm

It's just you.

+ REPLY
1 points
3
2
Johnblood27's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:23 pm

158.3

perfect score

and some jag-off criticizes ball placement on deep throws?

WTF? SMH...

+ REPLY
0 points
2
2
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:21 pm

OMG the ball placement was tremendous. On the Aaron Jones TD, he led him to the inside, which was the only way that ball would make it past the defender. On the TD to Kumerow he caught him right in stride. There was a slightly high pass to Lazard but he is 6'5" and came down with it no problem. When you go 25-31 and 5 TDs thru the air, accuracy is not an issue. I didn't see it at all.

As far as slipping, LaFleur addressed that recently saying they might use longer cleats. The surface is a mix of real grass and synthetic fibers and it does get slippery this time of year.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
flackcatcher's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:59 pm

Actually no, it's not you. Rodgers has under thrown his WR group in general. But that's more a combo of the inexperience of the group, and the way the route package is set up in MLF system. Rodgers has to wait on the breaks of his WR because in general he does not know what option they take within the route. That comes with practice, and game snaps. MLF system, like most has the QB throwing to certain spots on the field depending on distance and down. Nobody does it better than Rodgers when he is on. His accuracy last Sunday afternoon was uncanny. His throw to Lazarus was a perfect example. Rodgers threw it high at the marker knowing his tall WR was the only one who could catch it. Unreal, simply unreal. The field is a known issue. Packers replaced the turf in 2018. It takes a little longer to dry out in early games, otherwise it's fine. Just look it up, there is a whole saga behind the search for perfect turf.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 22, 2019 at 09:59 pm

I don't get this take. Lazard was wide open. He found a soft spot in zone coverage. AR could have thrown it waist, chest, or head high instead of 3 feet over Lazard's head. I agree that only Lazard could get that pass, but there was zero need for that placement.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
4thand1's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:51 pm

One guy is leading the league in tackles, and one is leading the team with a 6-1 record. Still there are people not satisfied. At this point, I was hoping to be above .500, maybe 4-3 before the season started. I hoped we would have a defense that would make plays and get off the dam field. This defense has won a few games for us. I was thinking it would take a few games to gel on offense, 4 or 5, and boy is it gelling. The Pack has one of the best o-lines in football, and a balanced attack on offense. Oh and a HOF QB that can sling it with anyone. One week till the trade deadline, don't know what Gute will do. Maybe there's another Smith out there to pick up.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
murf7777's picture

October 22, 2019 at 06:19 pm

Yes , his name is Gino Atkins, big body with great numbers and stays healthy. That would be a Hugh signing and show we mean business this year! We need to beef up the front 7 or 6. He has a big contract for 3 additional years, but based on production it’s cheap compared to others that are recently signed.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:43 pm

Synthetic fibers and ground moisture are a bad combo. longer cleats.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lphill's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:55 pm

I would rather the Packers trade for a big body for the D line to help with the run, Rodgers proved he has enough receivers plus when Adams returns it will seem like a whole revamped group.

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
PeteK's picture

October 22, 2019 at 04:14 pm

Agree, Clark seems to be wearing down. However,I did see more of a rotation with Adams back. Unfortunately no one is going to let go of a good DL as they are hard to find. I thought that Gary could play inside on passing downs, but he is regressing at this point.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:02 pm

It's still early but it is beginning to look like the Packers offense can win with either their ground game or their passing game. Utilizing the RBs in the passing game makes it very difficult for the defense to cover all of our receivers and/or get pressure on Rodgers. Blitz him and he hits a back in the blitzing LBs vacant spot. Don't blitz and we'll have a mismatch against an LB or a safety. On the ground we can pound with Jones and Williams. The offense has improved every week. Who can tell what is next?

As for our defense it is still a work in progress. I would not be surprised to see Gute completely revamp the ILB group during the upcoming offseason as he did with the OLB group this offseason. I can see Burks still with the team in 2020 but beyond that I doubt it, especially if we draft an impact ILB in the early rounds. I could also see Gute acquiring DL help via the draft and/or FA.

For now we can just enjoy the ride. On to KC. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Chris889's picture

October 23, 2019 at 07:44 am

You did well!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.