A lot of talk this week has been surrounding Aaron Rodgers. I’ve seen everything on Twitter from “Aaron Rodgers needs to be traded!” to the strange “Aaron Rodgers is no Brett Favre”.
I’m not going to lie, Rodgers really hasn’t played well this season. We’ve all seen his game thrown off. His game against Chicago wasn’t the greatest, but I think everyone would be better off if they would relax (no pun intended) take a breath and let the film speak for itself. As we all know, “the eye in the sky never lies”.
The all-22 film is the truth serum. There is no hiding from it or making excuses. That is what I base all of my analysis off of. So lets look and see what it had in store this week for Aaron Rodgers.
This is what I like to see. It’s a quick 3 step drop. Rodgers hits the plant foot, finds Graham on a seam route and hits it quick. Short passes like this can turn in to big gain plays. One of the things that makes Rodgers so good is his quick release. It’s all about timing. Both him and Graham have to be on point here. If not its just another incomplete pass. This is one reason why I would like to see Philbin go more to a quick game rather than go vertical. You don’t have to get huge chunks of yards each play. I would rather see the offense control the clock, hit quick throws and steadily march down the field.
Here’s another quick look from Rodgers, this time to Cobb for a quick 5 yard gain. This is a good 1st down call from Philbin. I feel like the short pass game is a good way to establish a drive, other than running the ball. Rodgers does a quick ride with the ball, pulls and delivers. Even while getting pressured by the slot corner he does a good job in finding the Cobb for a decent gain. Again, it’s a quick 1-2 throw play.
One of the most crucial times to deliver a good throw is when you are backed up close to the red zone. Personally I wouldn’t even ponder throwing the ball here unless it was a 3rd down play.
Again we see another quick pass to Cobb, this time on the slant. Rodgers looks comfortable here in the pocket. Too many times it seems like he gets flustered and wants to break the pocket and buy time with his legs. Not really something you want to see from the face of the franchise. Nonetheless, it was a well-timed play.
When it comes to Rodgers 3 step drop back there are 2 crucial steps. The first is the initial step. Since this look is in the shotgun, he doesn’t have to create as much separation from the line of scrimmage as he would have to if it was under center. It is important though that he pushes off and gets far enough away from the line of scrimmage.
The second crucial step is the gather step. This is where he hits the plant foot and steps up. Notice how he hits the step, turns the shoulders towards his target and delivers the throw. I’ve often heard people say that when a quarterback throws the ball that his shoulders should be pointed at his target. He does a good job of turning his shoulders through his progression and zinging this pass in.
During the broadcast of the game this is one play where I thought Rodgers scrambled too quickly. When watching the tape though, I don’t fault him for it. This was initially supposed to be a screen but was picked up perfectly by Khalil Mack. With the screen busted, Rodgers tucked and ran. It was a good decision against a 5 man front. I always cringe when he does tuck and run though. You never want to see the franchise quarterback tucking and running.
Here is another clip where Rodgers went to the ground, only I didn’t like this decision at all. After the play fake, it seems like he was already looking to take to the ground. If you look at the top of the screen, you can see that Rodgers missed a wide open opportunity to go to the flats. I’d rather take my chances with a receiver going one on one with a corner or safety rather than a quarterback try to pick up the first down on the ground. It was a decent gainer but not the right choice in my opinion.
Some people have been critical of Rodgers holding the ball too long. I tend to agree with that on plays like this. As you can see, the offense comes out in a 3X1 set with Graham as the isolated receiver. He runs a quick dig with the defensive back trailing. It looked to me like a sure thing, but Rodgers was hesitant and took the sack on third down. I understand wanting to hit a deeper route on 3rd and 10 but I would rather see the ball get in the hands of a receiver and see if he can make a play.
Here is a better look at the play from the end zone view. This is the point where I think Rodgers should have hit it. Graham isn’t the fastest guy on the team but he would have given the offense a chance to get the first down and keep the chains moving.
When wrapping up my evaluations over Rodgers I had to keep in mind that Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and as fans, we’re dang lucky to have him. However, Rodgers should be held accountable just like every other player. I’ll use Clay Matthews as an example. I’ve always been a big Clay Matthews fan ever since he was drafted, but I have been critical of Clay all year long. I love the guy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize him.
I think the sooner fans realize the same thing about Aaron Rodgers, the better.