What the presence of Jared Cook Means for Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers can still be utilized in the Packers' offense, even with the newest tight end addition dominating headlines.

As he so rarely does, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson dipped into the funds this offseason. Something fans were screaming their heads off for him to do. Unexpectedly, Thompson struck a deal with former St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook.

The potential and size Cook brings to the Packer offense is significant, both with his run-blocking ability and his vertical presence. The same skill set that'll pay dividends for the duo of Eddie Lacy and James Starks as well as the wide receiver corps who was rated as one of the slowest in the league in 2015. 

Are we forgetting someone?

Enter Richard Rodgers, whose two years in Green Bay haven't amounted to much other than ten career touchdowns and a walk-off 61-yard Hail Mary catch in Detroit last season. It should be noted that eight of those ten touchdowns have come inside the red zone; a new-age Bubba Franks whose 29 of 32 career touchdowns came inside that prestigious 'crimson' area of the field.

Rodgers pictured above on the receiving-end of a 61-yard game-winning Hail Mary vs Detroit, 12-3-2015

 

The talk of the town as of recently has been how 'non-athletic' the 6'4", 257-pound Rodgers is, but the truth is, he was consistently under-utilized in 2015. Repetitive flat routes, sending him down the field expecting poor route skills to get the best of defenders; it will all culminate in failure each and every time. Unfortunately, there isn't much of a sampling size to judge Rodgers' abilities off of. 

There is one thing he can prove to be useful for, and that's being a domineering presence in the red zone. It'll be his time to shine when those opportunities come knocking in 2016.

Have the Packers needed a tight end? No. Absolutely not, even more so considering their starting quarterback has won two league MVPs and a Super Bowl without a Tyler Eifert or a Rob Gronkowski at his disposal. However, head coach Mike McCarthy knows how valuable the tight end position is to offensive success. 

"Big people running down the middle of the field, I'll make no secret about it. I think that's the key to offensive success, whether that's a big receiver or big tight end or a big man running down the middle of the field, making those safeties cover you."

With Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and co. manning down the other 80 yards of the field, Cook's presence will draw a crowd and likely give Aaron Rodgers that quick, big body skill position player he's lacked in the passing game since Jermichael Finley's career was cut tragically short. 

Without question, Rodgers' uses aren't limited in Green Bay's offense if he can prove to continue the red zone onslaught in 2016. 

 

Editor's Note: Please welcome the newest addition to the CHTV writing staff. Some info from Zach: "I started embracing the culture of the Green Bay Packers at age 7, but began admiring the team as early as age 4. I've studied the team and its storied history throughout the past decade-plus, along with the rest of the NFL. I'm currently attending college and pursuing a career in journalism, hoping to make an impact through my writing and give fellow Packer fans and fans of the sport in general a good read.

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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].

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Comments (33)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 01, 2016 at 06:47 am

"Unfortunately, there isn't much of a sampling size to judge Rodgers' abilities off of."

We have 1277 snaps on offense, including 799 snaps last season, upon which to judge RR. He made some baby steps with his blocking in season 2, and admittedly wasn't used correctly last season, but we should have a pretty good notion of what he can do.

He can play near or inside the red zone. That should limit his snaps, perhaps about 200 snaps this year. If his blocking has improved, he can be used in 2 TE sets. Definitely should be the #2 TE.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

June 01, 2016 at 10:56 am

And 478 the year before - 2014, the year Andrew Quarless was the TE1 for a majority of the season. 2015 was really a fluctuating year for RR where he was, like I said, incorporated improperly. Really his first full season starting at the position in a year w/o Nelson and the rest of the battered WR corps. Expecting him to make a full swing and carry the load at that position as a second-year player would be a bit much, which is why I don't feel it'd be fair to judge his skill set just yet.

Think of Davante Adams. Showed flashes in his rookie year - specifically against NE and DAL in the postseason, then didn't perform up to expectation in 2015. Mainly because he was thrown into a WR2/WR3 role in the absence of 87. It traces back to my point on the WRs; when they're struggling, AR struggles (not on paper) and the entire offense stalls. Sophomore slumps are a thing too.

After 2016, I think we'll be more comfortable with the fact that RR is solidified as a second-string TE. Not starting material. It just took a superior signing at the position in Jared Cook to help realize that.

1,277 snaps is a pretty big sampling size though, I do agree. But to me, I don't feel like it'd be right to draw a conclusion on his abilities yet.

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lucky953's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:18 am

Welcome Zach Jacobsen! Many journalistic careers have been launched at CHTV. Can Cook quickly get on the same page with AR? He's never been more than a mediocre blocker. RR knows the offense well and man, he's got great hands (wish Cobb had those hands). He simply lacks any explosiveness. He needs to improve his run blocking to get those snaps. I don't think his YAC is very good. I think Reynaldo sums up his role quite well, if Cook shows what he was brought in to do-run the seam.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

June 01, 2016 at 11:00 am

Thank you! I'm excited to get launched here.

Reynaldo nailed it on the head, and you did as well. RR, so far, shows no explosiveness after the catch. Although development can be made to his game, a sense of athleticism would have to be worked into him in camp. It's likely he won't be used the same way he was in 2015, so we won't see anymore of that lack-of-explosiveness... At least I hope not.

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Nick Perry's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:29 am

I've mentioned it several times, I don't think the coaching or lack of coaching the WR's and TE's had last season can be brought up enough as a reason they looked so bad. Okay so the Packers WR's were slow last season but there's "Slower" WR's all over the NFL who succeed. There's much more than a 40 time that goes into making a "Great WR".

Adams came out as a WR who had great leaping ability with good hands. Obviously you don't catch 223 passes in 2 seasons in College without an ability to catch the football. Abby was known as a WR who ran great routes, was quicker rather than fast. Cobb is the Perfect slot Receiver, a perfect compliment to a true #1 WR who can do so many things well but isn't a #1 WR himself. Monty is the bigger version of Cobb who's even faster if he's playing around 210 pounds but even at 221 he's going to be special. This is a guy who could easily lead the NFL in All Purpose Yards. He NEEDS to stay healthy. Janis was a small school guy with LOADS of physical gifts who needed to learn how to be an NFL WR. I believe he can be a pretty good WR with time. Personally I think not having a WR coach last year, at least not a coach more concerned about the QB's than the WR's stunted the growth of these youngsters. How can a player make the "Year 2 Jump" without proper coaching? All the WR need to get stonger and I think Abby and Adams will be just that. Stronger.

I'll beat this drum until the 2016 season is over and the results can been seen in the Stat Lines and the Win Column. I would have rather saw the Packers go out and sign an established WR Coach like they did with the RB and TE Coaches, but if both Nelson and Cobb wanted and endorsed Luke Getsky that's good enough for me.

Brian Angelichio is the Packers new TE coach who I think can bring out the best in Cook and make Rodgers the "Perfect Compliment" to Cook. The Packers were pretty bad in the Red Zone last season and not THAT great towards to end of 2014 (Remember the Patriots and Seattle Games 9 FG's combined, many in Red Zone). I think Rodgers actually could be the new Bubba Franks, King of the 1 yard TD pass. The good thing is the Packers now have 2 Big bodies to send out in the Red Zone. With Rodgers hands he could easily catch 10 TD's or more.

Taking off my "Homer Hat" I really believe this offense is going to do great things this year and I think it will be because of coaching. If I was ANY of the Packers opponets I'd be very, very afraid.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

June 01, 2016 at 11:04 am

"Taking off my "Homer Hat" I really believe this offense is going to do great things this year and I think it will be because of coaching. If I was ANY of the Packers opponents I'd be very, very afraid."

Especially if those said opponents are out of the AFC South and NFC East. Darn, I wish GB played those two divisions this season... Oh wait. ;)

I 100% agree. It all comes down to the coaching. I feel like the coaching staff was just all out of sorts last season. Sam Gash especially, who clearly failed to keep up with Eddie Lacy's diet and nutrition. Not saying it's one grown man's job to keep track of another grown man's eating habits, but... I mean, for Gash, it kind of was his job. He failed to do so. That's why he's no longer with the organization. Fontenot as well.

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Nick Perry's picture

June 02, 2016 at 05:43 am

Welcome Zack, excellent point about Gash but what can you REALLY expeact from an Ex-Lions Coach : )

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D Ernesto's picture

June 02, 2016 at 06:08 pm

I read prior to the draft that Adams played in a spread offense and ran quick slants and had a ton of catches for five yards or less. He was not a route runner and had very little experience running downfield routes.
So his hands were in question because most of his catches were gimmies if you will.
Adams lacks speed and intellegence to be a factor. Both he and Rogers were not the best picks for Ted. Certainly not the best player available at the time.

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Since'61's picture

June 01, 2016 at 04:26 pm

To me the arrival of Jared Cook means that R. Rodgers will become the Packers short yardage TE and not just for the redzone. He could be part of a 2 TE set on short yardage downs either to block or catch a quick pass for a 1st down. If I were R. Rodgers I would work really hard on my blocking skills during TC and pre season games. He will get more snaps if he can contribute to the running game in addition to red zone opportunities. If everyone stays healthy the Packers offense will create many headaches for opposing DCs this season. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

June 01, 2016 at 11:07 am

He'll definitely be able to catch those short-yardage passes for 1-2 yard gains. I lost count how many times I saw that in 2015.

I'm expecting him to be more of a factor in the run game, truthfully. A big body like that should be able to pave the way.

Thanks for your comment. :)

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Finwiz's picture

June 01, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I've never seen a bigger guy go down with the 1st hit, no matter the size of the tackler, like RR. No ability whatsoever to break a tackle.

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dobber's picture

June 01, 2016 at 12:42 pm

On the other hand, there are guys who fight so hard for the next foot that they're susceptible to hits and keep losing the ball.

Gotta be something in the middle...

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D Ernesto's picture

June 02, 2016 at 06:10 pm

Or bench sitter. He has not shown any ability to be a key skill player he should be.

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johnnyd17's picture

June 01, 2016 at 10:14 am

hoping R.Rodgers will cut a few pounds and work on speed and quickness, already has a good pair of hands and, as a coaches son, seems to be dependable compared to some younger players that Aaron Rodgers doesnt trust yet...after just 2 seasons, many NFL players should be improving still

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dobber's picture

June 01, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Now, I would go the other way and say that RRod needs to focus on being the best inline TE/outlet/redzone guy he can be and leave the other stuff to the next speed/move TE that comes along. I don't see him getting much faster even if he drops 10 pounds, and even then, he'll lose bulk and be less effective inline than he already is.

I'd like to see him hone his craft to become a capable blocker. He could have a meaningful Ed West kind of career, but I don't see a lot more than that.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:10 pm

If he can become a good blocker -- our no-huddle offense will only become more lethal, more Full House formation and Play-Action from under Center should be more effective.

I wonder if he has it in him to develop some sort of mean streak. 2 plays off top;

@ CAR
that fossil playing Safety just man-handled Rodgers out of bounds and then shoved him into the guard after the play. He gets up like nothing happened.

@MIN
He runs a crossing pattern, catches the ball and it's only a trailing defender and a CB in front of him at the pylon. Instead of putting his head down and barreling over the CB he decides to jump straight up (not a hurdle) into the CB's chest and he barely breaks the goal line. James Jones' body language as it played out is priceless.

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Finwiz's picture

June 01, 2016 at 01:32 pm

This guy has never shown ANY ability to break a tackle - none. No elusiveness and no RAC, not to mention - no speed. He does have good hands, I'll give him that. There is a big reason they went out and took a chance on a free agent tight end. Cook was a chance and no sure thing, but they clearly believed they were done with Quarless and Rogers wasn't the answer either, so had to do something. RR makes Bubba Franks look elusive.

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Point-Packer's picture

June 01, 2016 at 01:35 pm

All I know is if I see another 3 yard out pattern to R. Rodgers that gains a net 1.5 yards, I'm going to blow my top.

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3rdigraphics's picture

June 01, 2016 at 02:25 pm

Richard Rodgers is a JAG. That's what he is and will be. He was not put in a position to succeed last year. Injuries and poor/stubborn coaching put him in that position.

Asking RR to be shifty and get open down the seam is like asking me to grow 5 inches taller in 3 hours - just because you want me to doesn't mean it's gonna happen.

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4thand1's picture

June 01, 2016 at 06:18 pm

Man, people give up on players waaay to quickly. Paul Kaufman was the slowest player I've ever seen and was productive. He said himself," I have deceptive speed, I'm running a lot slower than it looks". Zach , I've said the same thing about this offense this year, look out, it's going to be fun. Welcome.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:00 pm

"Man, people give up on players waaay to quickly."

It's crazy.

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ray nichkee's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:07 pm

First, welcome zach, best wishes to your future. I agree with the bubba franks comparison. R rodgers has some hands. I hope having cook and a healthy group of WRs will help rodgers develope more. McCarthy loves to use tight ends creatively so it can only help, I hope.

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John Galt III's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:28 pm

Competition

Maybe that will make R Rodgers a better TE

Concensus

If everyone here has noticed R Rodger's tendencies - mostly bad as I read here - then so have 31 opponents and our coaching staff. Therefore, they are working on this as he is as I write this, right?

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Rossonero's picture

June 01, 2016 at 07:41 pm

I'm excited for Jared Cook, even though I view him as a poor man's Jermichael Finley. Still, he has all the tools to make a big impact for this team. Richard Rodgers is what he is -- great hands, short yardage guy, who still needs to improve his blocking.

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chaka's picture

June 01, 2016 at 09:53 pm

Packers should reach out to former TE Colt Lyerla if they want a break away TE. Lyerla and Cook would be unstoppable causing many match up problems.

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MarkinMadison's picture

June 02, 2016 at 07:26 am

I think that joke has gotten old. You are joking, right?

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Tundraboy's picture

June 02, 2016 at 01:36 pm

I guess until we have a proven TE threat, the Colt posts will linger. I actually look forward to them in a sick sort of way. Just goes to show how hard up we have been these years, waiting for a very good TE.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 02, 2016 at 06:50 am

Most people (myself included) are excited to see what Cook will be able to do in this offense. Cook's speed and size make him a mismatch type of player. That is one thing that Rodgers doesn't bring, is speed.

But lets be honest. We don't need Rodgers to have a lot of speed. That is what our WR's and Cook is for. What we need from Rodgers is to use his great hands and become a great 3rd down and Redzone target. If Rodgers can catch key 3rd down passes and continue drives it gives our high powered offense more chances to score.
Rodgers doesn't need to be Finley. If Rodgers can be the Heath Miller type of player for our offense, that would be a very, very good thing for our offense.

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4thand1's picture

June 02, 2016 at 03:59 pm

I watched some clips on Cook, man he runs away from people and doesn't go down easily. Some of the QB's throwing to him, I never heard of. There's a very good chance he'll get a big payday next year.

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D Ernesto's picture

June 02, 2016 at 06:01 pm

Rogers better get it, he is on the way out if he doesn't get his act together.
I think he is a slow guy with lousy hands and poor route running abilities.

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4thand1's picture

June 02, 2016 at 06:27 pm

No one cares what you think.

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ray nichkee's picture

June 02, 2016 at 09:54 pm

I think every body but you knows his strenth is his hands. You must have been taking a whiz during most of his catches...or maybe doing number three in the bathroom.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

June 05, 2016 at 05:18 am

RR needs to improve in blocking. It doesn't help he's slow as molasses. EnterCook who has the ability to be a threat down the middle. A tight end can mean do or die for the Packers. Hopefully, his foot problem is resolved. If Jordy isn't 100%, thePackers aren't going to go the distance, unless Cook works out.Apparently the Packers hired a new tight ends coach that means business. You can't get into the SB without a very good tight end. Cook cold be the answer. I have faith in Aron. He is so good, even aliens from out of space are staking him.

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