Two time NFL Most Valuable Player, Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, Three time ESPY Best NFL Player, Male Athlete of the Year, NFL Play of the Year Award, and so much more.
Those are just some of the accolades that have been awarded to the future Hall of Fame Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He has been at the top of the league in quarterback play for almost his entire career and he continues to impress– but to what extent?
Last night against the Seattle Seahawks, Rodgers final stat line was 21/30, 332 yards, and 2 TD’s. Not a bad day in the office, right? Wrong. Just when the Packers needed Rodgers most he failed. Not only did he not convert many crucial third down plays, he missed easy checkdown plays to RB Aaron Jones, and several passes to his wide receiving core. Sure, Rodgers had plenty of time to throw the ball, but he should be doing what he has always done best– throw the ball outside of the pocket.
It seemed painful and impossible for the Packers to be consistent and smooth on offense, something we have seen in recent years. This year just feels different.
The play calling is vanilla, and when players are open it seems as if Rodgers won’t pull the trigger and if he does, misses by several yards. For those who have watched closely, Rodgers hasn’t been particularly accurate this season either. He under throws the ball at least two or three times a game and when he does lead a receiver it is too far ahead.
So are the offensive struggles completely Aaron Rodgers’ fault? Of course not. Rodgers has played well at times, and struggled at others. The weight of this is how the key position players are used.
In the Packers’ first offensive drive of the game, the Packers threw the ball to Jimmy Graham for 11 yards, then tossed the ball to Aaron Jones for 8 for the games first points. It seemed like it was extremely easy for the Packers and looked as if this game was going to go much in their favor.
It is so upsetting that this offense is so dysfunctional when they have playmakers all over the field. Davante Adams, a sure top 10 wide receiver in the NFL, is capable of making plays that would impress any quarterback. Aaron Jones is a promising young running back that is the spark plug of this offense, once he gets rolling the Packers move down the field with ease.
Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham, and Aaron Jones are all players that are capable of making this offense explosive and the fault for their underperformance is on Mike McCarthy.
McCarthy has shown that his own idea of the West Coast offense is this, a solid run game then move the sticks with a series of short and secure passes.
The missing logic here is that based on McCarthy’s idea of the West Coast offense, he hasn’t stuck with a solid running game. Sure, Aaron Jones had 15 total carries against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday but he only had 11 against the Seahawks. What would be ideal is for Jones to have anywhere between 15 and 20 carries. This would allow the play action game to open up and for Aaron Rodgers to make clean and accurate throws.
Aaron Jones in the first half showed explosiveness, and the ability to help in the passing game. He could have done the same thing in the second but Mike McCarthy didn’t give him the opportunity to do so. It is almost as if McCarthy sees the production that Jones is having and assumes the Seahawks are expecting the Packers to run the ball in the second half.
The Packers must run the ball more with Aaron Jones if they want to succeed. The thing is, the Packers did not have a single excuse not to in this game. The Seahawks did not have a great run defense, and the Packers were not playing from behind most of the game. This was a game where the Packers needed to stick their foot on the throat of the Seahawk defense and not take it off. Since they did not do that, they felt a familiar feeling with a loss on the road.