Call me a homer, call me naive, call me a fanboy, call me whatever you want, but I am not going to be critical of Aaron Rodgers the rest of the season.
Without Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers might have lost to the Falcons by four touchdowns. Rodgers gained almost 400 yards of total offense and led a 90-yard drive near the end of regulation that should have sent the game into overtime.
Unfortunately, Rodgers also fumbled on a quarterback sneak at the Falcons’ 1-yard line late in the first half. That miscue shifted momentum and the Packers were in catch-up mode the rest of the game.
Obviously, fumbling at the 1-yard line is bad. You can’t do that. But consider the following:
- Rodgers is playing without his 1,200 yard rusher and his (arguably) No. 1 receiver.
- The Packers offensive line would not be able to run block against a team from the Lingerie Football League right now.
- The Packers currently do not have a running back capable of consistently picking up one yard when necessary, even if there is no hole.
All of this means that Rodgers is being called on to make more plays. Sometimes when you need to make more plays, you take more risks. When you take more risks, the odds increase that something could go wrong. That’s what happened on the goal-line fumble. Something went wrong. It happens.
What did you want Rodgers to do in that situation? Cover up the ball, close his eyes, and hope he magically falls into the end zone? Rogers knew if the Packers were going to score, it would be mostly because of him. He knew he had to drive his legs, stretch the ball out and try to get into the end zone. Playing it safe was not an option if Rodgers was serious about scoring a touchdown.
Rodgers’ fumble against the Falcons was similar to the interception he threw at the end of the first half of the first Vikings game. On that throw, Rodgers threw into double coverage because he thought he could squeeze the throw in. He felt he needed to make a play and he took a calculated risk to try and make it. It didn’t work out, but I am fine with a player of Rodgers’ caliber deciding when it’s appropriate to take a chance.
I am not trying to make excuses for Rodgers or argue that turning the ball over in any situation is acceptable. But making plays requires taking an occasional risk. The Packers need plays out of their star quarterback. Unfortunately, the ball might get knocked out of his hands every now and then. I’ll take those occasional screw-ups as long as we get a bunch of “Holy Sh–!!” plays in return.
However, I probably should clarify my opening statement. I will criticize Rodgers if he holds the ball too long or is not on the same page with his receivers. To me, those are things that Rodgers should have worked out at this point in his career and this season.
But I am not going to complain one bit if Rodgers tries to fit one into double coverage and gets picked or drops the ball fighting to cross the goal line.
If you want to complain about it, go ahead. You would not necessarily be wrong. However, I will focus my angst on the Packers special teams, struggles against elite quarterbacks, and inability to run block. Rodgers is the least of my worries.——————