Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reacts on the sidelines in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2015 NFL regular season coming to an end, the Green Bay Packers look to make a run in the postseason, that will stem off the rally of Aaron Rodgers.
It’s safe to say the 2015 season has been a bit unorthodox for the Green Bay Packers. A team that sits at 10-5 has drawn an unsatisfactory response from all concerning parties as the postseason nears.
As it should.
The Packers have been a disappointment offensively, while quarterback Aaron Rodgers is enduring one of the worst seasons of his career statistically. While Rodgers has been able to throw 30 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions this season, his quarterback rating is the lowest it has ever been since he became the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008, at 93.7.
He has looked lost on the field at times, while not being able to find that rhythm we’ve become so accustom to seeing from him in his career.
But from my point of view, we’re not watching the same Aaron Rodgers in 2015 as we have throughout his 8 year tenure as the Packers starting quarterback.
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Rodgers lacks that killer instinct that we are used to seeing in his confidence and ability. Although his ability is still there, the trust in the player’s around him has depleted his own sense of confidence that has created such ability.
The trust Rodgers lacks in his offensive line and wide receivers have caused the two time league MVP with the inability to unleash the offensive spectacle we are so used to seeing. Too many times, Rodgers looks to scramble rather than setting his feet and throwing. The trust in the offensive line is the root of this, and with being sacked 41 times this season (3rd highest of career) entering Week 17, you can gain an understand as of why.
Depth plays a big role into this too, and with players such as Don Barclay and Josh Walker at the tackle position last week, Rodgers didn’t have much of a chance against an Arizona Cardinals defense that blitzes more than any team in the league. It is near impossible to gather any sort of a rhythm as a quarterback when you’re constantly checking over your shoulder to see if anybody is coming.
It’s obvious Rodgers doesn’t have much trust in his offensive line right now, given the injuries and lack of depth.
Now, with the line breaking down consistently on the outside, that then puts the wide receivers into a frenzy as well– and too often we are seeing players not able to get open in the scramble situations the Packers are notorious for. It’s something Rodgers has been known for his whole career, and the receivers this season have not been able to get open when the play breaks down, even in a simple man to man coverage at times.
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Green Bay Packers guard Josh Walker (79) helps up Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
In collaboration with that, Rodgers has not given them much of a chance to make plays either. One of the things I have always admired about Rodgers, is his ability to take care of the football. His touchdown to interception ratio has been remarkable his whole career, and is one of the differences between he and former Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Not always a fan of, while still respecting, Favre’s game, I wish we would see more of a gunslinger style out of Rodgers this season.
It’s to a point, where I would rather see Rodgers take a chance and throw an interception, rather than see the offense consistently stall out. Going into the playoffs, I believe Rodgers needs to make an exception from his current playing style, by throwing the ball up to chance more.
A lack of trust and depth have limited Rodgers these last nine weeks, which has drained the confidence we are so use to seeing. Although the Packers’ backs may be against the wall right now, even at 10-5, this is a team that carries the personnel to do some damage in the playoffs if they can get this thing figured out quickly. Many of the teams that are in the NFC playoffs lack the deep playoff experience the Packers have, which is always a factor that seems to be overlooked.
Although Aaron Rodgers’ performance has been below expectations this season, you still have to have that glimmer of confidence with him under center entering the playoffs. The problems surrounding this team are troubling, but they can be masked with a little more trust of Rodgers to stand in the pocket, set his feet, and throw the ball up for grabs more often.