Packers fans have been spoiled at the quarterback position for a few years.
First it was Brett Favre throwing fastballs while playing through all amounts of pain and now it’s Aaron Rodgers cerebrally reading the field as he surgically cuts up a secondary.
But on Sunday, Packers fans saw something they have not seen in a long time: a quarterback reduced to average.
When Rodgers played the entire game in 2013 he never threw for less than 200 yards in a game and now he has done it twice in 2014. The answer is simple: the seventh-year starting quarterback only fully trusts one of his receivers.
The only reason the Packers were able to squeak by at home vs. the Jets was because Jordy Nelson had an all-world game. That sure came in handy because Rodgers never stopped looking his way.
With Randall Cobb still showing rust from that broken leg and a tight end position that cannot be counted on for much, Rodgers has put all his faith on his favorite target.
Normally that’s not a big deal. Jay Cutler looks Brandon Marshall’s way a lot. Matthew Stafford makes sure Calvin Johnson is happy and Andy Dalton gets A.J. Green plenty of looks.
But the difference is that Rodgers has always been an accurate passer. Coming into this season, he completed 63 percent of his passes as a starter. This year he has completed less than 60 percent in the last two games.
Rodgers has been known to find the open man — regardless of who it was — and kill defenses with efficiency. But now he is throwing it into heavier traffic just to get it into the waiting arms of Nelson.
Plenty of people complain about the scheme and play-calling. Don’t get me wrong, those things are so plain and predictable that it seems like Mike McCarthy is coaching Nintendo’s eight-play Tecmo Super Bowl and the defense keeps picking the play.
But the loss ultimately falls on Rodgers. This is the guy that holds the NFL record for passer rating in a season with 104.9 and is second all-time in the playoffs with a rating of 103.1. Rodgers is arguably one of the most efficient quarterbacks ever.
Yet, it seems like his superlatives are starting to form an ugly stain. This season he has held on to the ball too long. Instead of throwing the ball for a modest four or five-yard gain, Rodgers has gotten greedy and held it hoping for something much larger.
And one of his biggest equalizers — his legs — is barely getting used so far. After three games last season he only had 34 rushing yards, but the key is that he had rushing attempts in each game. This year, he’s got 28 yards but all those yards came in the Sept. 14 Jets game when he totaled all of his rushing attempts for the season with six.
He really stretches and stresses defenses when he runs outside of the pocket. From there he becomes a perfect dual-threat quarterback that can gain a chunk of yards with his legs or throw with plenty of zip on the run.
This is Rodgers’ team, there’s no question about that. But, he needs to start forming a stronger bond with guys like Jarrett Boykin and Davante Adams or else this season might be wasted by a defense that is starting to take shape.
It was Rodgers that stuck up for James Jones when the receiver signed a three-year deal in 2011. It would make sense that Rodgers misses the big veteran target, but now that he’s a Raider, Rodgers needs to move on.
Teams will continue to prepare to stop one receiver and when that eventually happens, the offense will be bottled up and soon after that the Packers will be grounded.
Rodgers has been a model of effectiveness during much of his career with the Packers. But you cannot be very effective if you are on the same page with only one receiver.——————
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
9 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Aaron Rodgers must trust teammates not named Jordy”
If ever there was a time to sign a veteran at a reasonable rate, it would have been James Jones. He is missed more than most of us realize.
If Rodgers trust in other RECEIVERS is low and if MM and Rodgers feel Janis isn’t ready,then why not activate Myles White from PS,unless he’s not trust worthy either,than we have a serious rapport problem(growth and learning) between QB and Receivers and time isn’t endless. 🙂
I am not sure that James Jones would have any affect on the play of this offense, nor do I think that Rodgers would play any better with any other WRs. The offense is not playing fast or executing the plays that they do run. Detroit’s second-string secondary played Cover-2 all day long and we couldn’t take advantage of that. Forget that our O-line under performed from the first whistle, we still should have been able to exploit the Lions beyond their front-four. Even after Tulloch went out, we continued to crap-the-bed.
The Lions know the Rodgers progression and MM playcalling and, like everybody else in the league, simply drop the bodies into coverage. If our O-line wasn’t a collection of low round projects we should have been able to force them to the line. If you can’t win that line of scrimmage then everything after that is a reaction to pressure or penetration.
I agree completely. We have 2 miserable offense performances when teams (‘hawks & Lions) close Jordy, and one average when team (Jets) left Jordy one on one… This article is the shot in the middle…
The Packer receivers dropped 6 passes during the Lions game. If Rodgers does mistrust some of his receivers it might be understandable at this point. This offense has a lot to figure out between now and Sunday. We’ve been 1-2 before, but this season has a more negative feel about the 1-2 record than last season. In 2013, we lost to SF on the road but we played hard and could have won that game, compared with how we opened versus Seattle this year. Then we played Washington at home and dominated that game until garbage time when we gave up an easy score during the 4th quarter. This season we had to mount a strong comeback to overcome an 18 point deficit and defeat the Jets at Lambeau. In our 3rd game last season we had Cincy beaten on the road but defeated ourselves on the Franklin fumble and losing CM3 to injury. Then we mounted a 4 game winning streak and could have been more but Rodgers was injured. This year we played poorly in our 3rd game on the road against Detroit and our offense often looked futile. Last year our offense was fine even during the 1st 2 defeats until Rodgers was injured, but we were concerned about the defense. But this season we’re 1-2 and the offense, including Rodgers are the question marks. This team goes as Rodgers goes, no matter how well the defense plays. So if Rodgers doesn’t pick it up there will not be another win streak following our 1-2 start. Based on what we have seen through the first 3 games I’m not as confident as I was last season at this time. Thanks, Since ’61
I agree, but I also agree with some comments below suggesting that Rodgers’ lack of trust is reasonably understandable. If trust is the problem, then likely things will get better as the season progresses. My real concern is whether Cobb will step it up or if he has lost some physical ability due to his injury.
Can anyone say Jermichael? The BIG drop off isn’t about Jones becoming a Raider. It’s the loss of Finley and what he did to coverages. Until ANYONE emerges as a threat at TE, the Packers will struggle.
Trying hard to believe in Richard Rodgers and Brandon Bostick.
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