Cory’s Corner: Adversity makes Rodgers MVP worthy

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn't missed a beat.
Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn’t missed a beat.

We all know that Aaron Rodgers is good.

But in the last two weeks he’s actually given us a value of how good.

With Randall Cobb and James Jones out with injury, he effortlessly beat Cleveland at home with only nine incompletions as he spread the wealth to eight different receivers.

And then last week, with Jermichael Finley out, he carved up the Vikings. He spread it around to six different receivers and of those, four were still getting used to being thrust into an increased role thanks to a rash of injuries.

Now I know the Browns and Vikings aren’t exactly the cream of any crop whatsoever, but Rodgers proved that he is the Packers’ puppet master.

In a year in which Peyton Manning is taking a machete to the passing record book, Rodgers just put himself in the NFL MVP discussion.

Everyone, including myself, didn’t think it was possible for Rodgers to jell with guys like Jarrett Boykin, a Jacksonville castoff, Myles White, a practice squad promotion, and Andrew Quarless, whose career has been truncated due to injury. The last time Quarless caught five passes in a game was Dec. 2010.

There’s a reason why these guys are backups. Obviously Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are exponentially more talented than this trio. There’s a reason why Rodgers gets all the reps with the No. 1’s in preseason camp so they can quickly get on the same page and develop that needed nonverbal communication that’s so important for success.

Rodgers hasn’t been given that much time with White and Boykin. It’s only been a couple weeks. Usually quarterbacks begin their critical timing at mini-camp and follow that up with more reps at training camp, which lasts five weeks.

And the nice thing about Rodgers is that he hasn’t made any excuses. He keeps plugging along — and winning games for Brett Favre’s fantasy football team.

It looks like it’s going to be the same script again for Rodgers when the Bears come to Lambeau on Monday night. Cobb and Finley are out and Jones isn’t close to making a return. Rodgers’ numbers aren’t going to be as glossy as Manning’s. With a superior running game, Eddie Lacy has been cutting into some of Rodgers’ production, but that shouldn’t detract from Rodgers playing with the Misfit Toys (plus Jordy Nelson) going on three weeks.

Without the receiving weapons Manning has in Denver, I doubt he would be able to have his absurd 29 touchdowns by throwing to Andre Caldwell and Trindon Holliday.

And Rodgers is doing it all without the benefit of a breather. The Packers had their bye back in Week 4 at the end of September. Rodgers must be consistent and play well for 13-straight weeks in order to give Green Bay a chance. And now he’s added a degree of difficulty without his top receiving threats.

Rodgers has mastered the art of quarterback efficiency as the all-time leader in regular season passer rating with 105.2 and third all-time in the postseason with 103.6. He has proven his leadership skills are second to none after following in the footsteps of a legend. Rodgers also has the added dimension of his legs, which he doesn’t need as much this year with a powerful running game, that constantly drives defensive coordinators batty when he picks up a first down on 3rd and 7.

Right now Rodgers is more important than alternative fuel. He keeps the Packers humming with his arm that keeps throwing frozen ropes, like the dart he tossed Nelson, which went for a 76-yard touchdown against Minnesota.

Rodgers is so good that when he rarely has a string of incompletions, fans start to wonder. If only fans in Cleveland and Jacksonville could worry about things like incompletions.

Nobody gave Rodgers a shot to win the MVP this year. But he has played his way in as a write-in candidate thanks to his mind and a cool confidence that when the walls are caving in, he knows he must be even better.

If Rodgers isn’t the most valuable person in the NFL, I’m not so who is. He is proving that it doesn’t matter who Green Bay puts out there at receiver because Rodgers is the quintessential captain that makes everyone better not only on the field, but in the film room, weight room and lunch room as well.

——————

Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

——————

  • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

    Unfortunately, the voters won’t look at that. Hell the Packers are 5-2 without 3 of their 4 starting linebackers and a 3rd stringer playing inside.(Not a knock on Lattimore, the kid has been great!) Without Cobb, Jones, and Finley, not to mention Burnett, Hayward, Lacy, and Stark’s all missing time. What Rodgers does week in and week out is amazing. Cleveland’s defense was ranked 7th in the NFL at the time so their not a bad defense. What’s even more irritating is in New England their going through the same thing with injuries or arrests. Excuses is all I hear for Brady. The media SHOULD be praising Rodgers for his play! Amazing!

  • packett

    Adversity making makes the whole team better. the back ups are getting valuable reps. Injured player come back with a bit of rehab/rest…and ambition to get back to form. Injuries in the early part of the season are far better than the last quarter when you can’t hardly rebound. All in all, GB has weathered a rough stetch. AR and MM seem to have very cool dispositions, and feed off of each other’s unflappable, ‘keep steady’ approach. GB fans are really lucky to such classy leadership.

  • Curley

    GB’s shiny new Ferrari running game should get a lot of credit for Aaron’s success with his decimated receiving corps. Not that Rodgers isn’t brilliant, because he is, but defenses can’t just focus on stopping the pass anymore.

    • Archie

      Fully agree. And the schedule softened just at the right time. We could peak in lat DEC. That would be awesome.

    • Stroh

      Not sure Ferrari is the best word for the runnin game. Speed is not what the run is based on for the Pack. Mack truckeque is more appropriate don’t you think?

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        I like the ‘Mack Truck’ for the monicker running attack. The running game actually speaks to Rodgers value. There have been a couple of articles (jsonline and other local coverage) detailing how Rodgers is switching the run plays at the line (and switching from pass to run at the line as well). Last week, his patience with Lacy’s short runs in Q 1-3, which set up longer runs by Lacy and Starks in Q4 as well as that sweet long distance TD to Jordy, was a thing of beauty. Much of that is on McCarthy as the playcaller, but its Rodgers’ choices at the line that have put the edge on. IMO mastering run audibles was the ‘final piece’ of Rodgers becoming an all-time elite QB from a skill perspective. He has been growing into that for a couple of years now and this year he has done it in style, and all while missing their best tackle all season.

        That said, MVP is a regular season award, and the award givers are normally blinded by pretty passing stats, which go to Payton this year. I think that’s Ok, especially if Aaron can ‘console’ himself with a game MVP awarded in February, if you know what I mean. Look out!

        • Stroh

          I’ve been somewhat critical in the past couple years that Rodgers has checked out runs to pass. Its understandable considering the state of the run game. Its certainly a welcome change that he’s now checking into runs. I said all along Lacy would have a profound impact on the offense.

          Teams will have to start gameplanning to stop the run if this production continues. And w Rodgers at QB that opens up major issues for the D.

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    Rodgers helps the running game and the running game helps Rodgers. The defense will pay if they sell out stopping one or the other. That he was MVP without a running game speaks volumes as to how good he is..Cheeseheads are very lucky fans, they don’t make many QBs like Aaron Rodgers. (or Favre before him for that matter).  Hopefully the newly discovered running game helps to keep AR healthy for a long time.

  • Archie

    #1 – Most Packer fans knew AROD was as good as it gets BEFORE the last two games. If they didn’t, well, that doesn’t speak well for their ability to evaluate QBs. The guy reads defenses like an Einstein, has a quick release, is strong armed and as accurate as they come. And he’s even more dangerous when he uses his feet to roll-out or escape the pass rush. Is there anything this guy doesn’t do as well as the game has seen? Oh yeah, and he has the highest career QB rating and the lowest turnover ratio of any QB ever. Did you note MM compared him favorably to Joe Montana this week. That’s the highest praise there is. To cement his place on the Mt Rushmore of NFL QBs however, he will need to win two or three more Super Bowls. Why Greg Jennings wanted to miss out on all this is beyond my comprehension. He made his bed now he must lie/lay(?) in it.

    #2 – Bears have not lost a game by more than 8 points this year. Vegas has them +11 vs Pack. I will pass but were I forced to bet on the win side, I would give the 11 points.

    #3 – O/U = 50. I think chances of O/U > 50 are quite good (80/20) and much greater than the chances of the Pack covering 11 (50/50) in an intense rivalry game for 1st place in the division.

    Bring on MNF!!!

  • http://Jkevinturner@comcast.net Kevin

    Manning’s regular season stats are going to be epic and deserving of an MVP award. Consequently, AR will have to be content with the Super Bowl MVP.

  • Archie

    Bears can’t stop the run nor rush the passer. That will make it tough on their two top notch CBs. We should be able to exploit their weak play at S.

    I expect Bears to throw underneath to Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. I read today that the Pack defense has allowed 12 TDs through the air this year and 8 have been against AJ Hawk. Hard to believe that is true re: Hawk but if it is, that is the most damning stat I have ever come across.

    • Chad Toporski

      According to PFF, Hawk has only given up one TD in coverage, and that was during the SF game.

  • Chad Lundberg

    I’m sorry, as much as I love Rodgers, and yes you make a TERRIFIC point about how he’s proving that he can produce in the passing game regardless of what kind of receivers he’s playing with (something Brady is currently proving he can no longer do), I have to say that Manning is hands down the MVP this year. Manning has 2,900 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes in just 8 games. That’s on pace to break both the passing yards record and the touchdown record. I wouldn’t trade Rodgers for Manning considering their age difference, but I would take what Manning has done this season over what Rodgers has done this season.

    Let the dislikes roll… sigh (I still love you guys, lol)

    • Savage57

      Fair assessment, although the homer’s thumbs are sore. If AR was putting up those same numbers and someone was saying another QB deserved the award, my monitor would go up in flames reading the article.

    • Corporate cheesehead

      If Arod was in Denver and asked to pass all four qtrs And never let up, he’d have similar numbers to Peyton. Personally, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the packs balanced attack. When the playoffs and cold weather come, theycan win games in Ferrari mode or in hummer mode or in hybrid mode …. LOVE it!

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        To extend, with the stats as they are this season and right now, I’d still take Arod. But Peyton’s passing record beating season will (and probably should) take the MVP. Of course, Peyton needs to finish off the promises of the first half, we’ll see in Indy came up with something that could slow him down. Likely not, but there are still 8 games to play.

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    No dispute from me, as great as Rodgers is, and he is having a great year. Manning is having a historic monster year & after most everyone had written him off. If it continues, gotta give it to Manning.

  • Aaronqb

    Frankly, I prefer recognition that is earned (playoff and Super Bowl wins) over recognition that is awarded based on votes (Pro Bowl, MVP). Rodgers didn’t even get voted to the Pro Bowl in 2010 (Ryan, Brees, and Vick did) and the Packers won the Super Bowl.

    Rodgers will be hungrier if he gets passed over.

  • Dobber

    I’d like to see how the second half of the season plays out before anointing Manning or Rodgers as MVP.

  • Stroh

    Manning deserves the MVP and he’s a great QB. My issue with him and IMO why he puts up great statistical seasons is running up scores and throwing when he should be running the clock out. I think that hurts him in the playoffs tho. Its doesn’t get him ready to handle adverse situations which explains his relatively poor playoff success!

    • Chad Toporski

      That’s the same annual argument against Brees and the Saints, and I think it’s an important point to make. Though I don’t think it diminishes his measure of skill as a QB.

      I’m waiting to see how that team does in the cold weather.

      • Stroh

        It doesn’t diminish the skills and ability Manning has as a QB at all. It just diminishes his chances of winning a SB IMO. Teams and QB’s for that matter have to learn to handle adversity. It makes them mentally toughter, which I think Manning lacks. He’s a tremendous passer, and can is very knowledgable making adjustments on play calls, but it doesn’t help him win when it matters.

  • Katsuya

    Yeah, I think Manning is like 9-13 in the playoffs. Even in his Super Bowl run, he played pretty poor. He threw like 3tds/7ints during those games.
    However, everyone seems to ignore the Bob Sanders led defense and the Dominic Rhodes led running game that actually won them the Super Bowl.
    That is why I think it is stupid to judge a QB by SB wins. SB’s are won by a team effort, not by qbs, but people only look at the qb

    • Savage57

      Favresque kind of record. Maybe that goes along with chasing numbers.

  • http://httm bill from trenton

    Lets play manning in the SUPER BOWL and settle it in JOY-SEE who is MVP

    • Curley

      I’d prefer a SB I rematch with KC. Just think of all the Vince Lombardi / Hank Shram footage we’d get to see.

  • Dobber
    • Chad Toporski

      Call me a superstitious, but I wish they hadn’t written an article on that subject.

      • Dobber

        In this case, I claim no responsibility because I reposted it. Bob McGinn wrote it…and even noted that he might be invoking a jinx.

        But the applicability to this argument is that, if he’s correct, Bob McGinn might argue that ARod does NOT belong in the MVP argument.

  • Tom Mueller

    Peyton Manning is a great quarterback. He’s a lock for the HOF. Any team would be happy to have him. But I wouldn’t trade AR for him. This season is only half over. It’s a little premature to be giving Manning MVP. Let’s see how the rest of the season plays out. His defense is suspect and the Broncos are due their share of NFL-wide injuries. I don’t see the Broncos making it past the Colts and KC to the Super Bowl. Why don’t we hold off for a while on crowning King Peyton.

  • Cory Jennerjohn

    I love the Mack truck reference. That’s awfully fitting. After I saw that, I was wondering what would Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward be referred to? An Abrams tank?

    The quarterback position is too valuable in today’s NFL to assume that a backup quarterback, let alone a 33-year-old backup, would step in and be able to lead this team.

    Aaron Rodgers has a great arm, nimble feet and a great persona. But his best quality is what cannot be measured: his mind.

  • Big T

    Peyton is a cyborg, he has more nuts and bolts in his neck than most people have in their machine shed. When it gets cold those nuts and bolts will freeze and Peyton will no longer be able to rotate his neck, game over…

    • Rob

      Oil Can?!