TE – Richard Rodgers
Week 6 Statistics:
Rodgers – 2 catches (3 targets), 15 receiving yards; 1.50 fantasy points
I miss Jermichael Finley.
That’s all I can think when it comes to this particular Rodgers. I’m not sure how (or even if) I ever talked myself into thinking he might be a worthwhile successor to Finley, but it continues to prove to be foolish thinking. This is even worse than it sounds by the way. Finley frustrated the hell out of me, with his constant penchant for maddening drops perplexing me to no end.
With him though, there was at least a certain level of play-making ability to make up for his faults, and his dynamic athleticism over the middle gave Green Bay a dimension few teams could even hope to prepare for, especially considering he was only one of a multitude of deadly pass-catching options on the Packers’ offense.
With Rodgers, we have none of that.
He is much slower and less athletic than Finley, unable to give his quarterback any sort of zone-busting option in the middle. We can see this in part with the way defenses have resorted to tons of simple two-deep safety looks. If Finley (or someone with some semblance of his abilities; in theory, Jared Cook can do this when healthy) were around, he would be able to devour the defense in the middle of the field between those safeties. Rodgers can’t do that, so defenses don’t even have to plan against this possibility.
Finley also was powerful; he could shake off would-be tacklers to turn even short catches into huge gains — and huge gains into touchdowns. With Rodgers, I’m still waiting to see him break a single tackle, and we’re nearly halfway through his third season.
The one area Rodgers was supposed to have a huge advantage over what Finley was are his hands. As I said before, that was my biggest issue with Finley, and was enough to make me wonder far too often how much better the offense could be with a player who had more consistent catching ability. Not only has Rodgers not had the kind of hands I was hoping for (despite that area being his supposed best trait coming into the league), but it turns out his have actually been much worse than Finley’s!
In Finley’s 6 seasons with the Packers (2008-2013), his catch rates were: 50%, 76%, 81%, 60%, 70%, and 74%. Here’s Rodgers in his career so far (2014-2016): 67%, 68%, and 50%. Finley wasn’t nearly as bad as his perception it seems, but Rodgers is much worse than his, to the point where he’s putting up the same catch rate as the lone starter right now which Finley did as a little-used third-string rookie.
Suffice to say, Rodgers is giving the Packers little reason to trust him out there on the field beyond not having any other options (at least until Cook comes back from injury) — and given fantasy owners even less reason to consider turning to him.
He can’t live off that Hail Mary goodwill forever, and if he doesn’t find a way to play better he may not (or at least he shouldn’t) be long for this team, no matter his how strong his so-called reputation for good hands is.