Deconstructing Aaron Rodgers and Packers

On October 16, 2017, in NFL, by Stephen

If you’ve ever dated the most beautiful girl in school, you know the feeling. You’re constantly worried you’re going to lose her because every guy is hitting on her. So when it inevitably happens, you’re disappointed and hurt. But not surprised.

That’s the way I feel about Aaron Rodgers. If you’re a Packers fan like I am, or have Rodgers on your fantasy football team, then your worst fears have come to pass.

Do I blame Anthony Barr for launching into Rodgers after he already had thrown a pass and breaking Rodger’s collarbone? No. I’m going to despise Barr the rest of my life, but I’m not going to be hypocritical about this. I think NFL rules have gotten too soft especially on the defensive end. Too many hard hits are now penalties when back in the day they were hailed as great plays.

Rodgers was out of the pocket when the play happened. Thus he lost certain protection privileges. It was a borderline hit. Barr could have let up. Most players wouldn’t, though, especially when they have a clear path at hitting a quarterback while running full speed. The referee was right on top of the play. He didn’t throw his flag. Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former vice president of officiating and an excellent TV commentator, didn’t believe Barr’s hit was illegal either. Pereira’s word is good enough for me.

Truth be told, Rodgers had been living on borrowed time.

Rodgers has the greatest combination of elusiveness, accuracy and long passing ability all rolled into one I’ve ever seen. Part of Rodgers’ greatness, though, was his ability to extend plays by waiting until the last second before throwing. The flip side of this was risking taking extra hits after he released the ball. It caught up to him on this play.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson went into this season playing Russian Roulette with his superstar quarterback by not fortifying his offensive line after foolishly cutting Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton two years ago and not signing Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang during the offseason. If the Packers suffered a clustery injury problem on their offensive line they would be in trouble. That’s what has happened.

Rodgers’ great mobility and pocket awareness hid this problem to some extent. But he still was sacked 19 times and knocked down another 16 times in just the first five games before going down for good.

The Colts and Packers have once-in-a-generation quarterbacks and their general managers fail to adequately provide them with proper pass protection. Andrew Luck has yet to play this season and now Rodgers is done probably for the season. Absolutely inexcusable. Let’s just hope Russell Wilson isn’t next.

So what do the Packers do now? Are they dead?

There are no great teams in the NFC. The Eagles have the best record with a spotty ground game and soft secondary. The Vikings have a backup quarterback and no Dalvin Cook. The Panthers have an inconsistent, interception-prone Cam Newton. The Falcons just blew a 17-0 lead to the punchless Dolphins at home after losing their previous home game to the Bills. The Seahawks have a terrible offensive line. The Rams can’t yet be taken seriously.

Mike McCarthy can coach Brett Hundley up. Hundley may have had the best preseason of any quarterback with a passer rating of 126.3. He has more receiving weapons than any other team and enough youth and mobility to keep plays alive when pass protection breaks down.

It’s best for a team to go with a youthful quarterback who has mobility rather than some talentless, washed-up journeyman such as Matt Cassel. The 49ers showed that Sunday with the switch from Brian Hoyer to C.J. Beathard.

Some are suggesting the Packers pick up Colin Kaepernick or Tony Romo. Kaepernick wouldn’t be a fit in Green Bay and Romo wouldn’t last two weeks behind Green Bay’s offensive line especially if tackles David Bakhitari and Bryan Bulaga are both out again.

Joe Callahan, Hundley’s backup, also has mobility. The Packers can live with those two. Their schedule for the next five weeks is Saints at home, bye, Lions at home, at the Bears and then Ravens at home. I could see Green Bay going 2-2 during this span if not 3-1.

The Packers don’t need to panic. They just need to sneak into the playoffs and hope Rodgers is ready by the postseason.


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