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Cory's Corner: Don't take Aaron Rodgers for granted

It’s easy to take Aaron Rodgers for granted.

We’ve seen countless pinpoint back shoulder throws, many darts that required a sideline toe-tap and even a couple of Hail Mary’s for good measure.

But after a Texas-sized epic 35-31 win over Dallas on Sunday, Rodgers proved yet again that he shouldn’t be taken for granted and that he’s the best passer that I’ve ever seen.

And the reason is the plethora of ways he can beat you. In the first quarter, he dropped his first touchdown pass, a 10 yarder to Davanate Adams, so gently, it looked like it was dropped from a hot air balloon. Late in the second quarter, Rodgers threw a laser beam to rookie running back Aaron Jones — whom you will get to know very well. That pass was placed in the only spot Jones could catch it and he did it by tapping his feet — one yard past the eight-yard first down marker.

In the third quarter, Rodgers put the ball nice and high to give the 6-foot-7 Martellus Bennett a chance to catch it. He not only caught it, but the 33-yard snare was a big deal because it was Bennett’s first significant catch since coming to Green Bay.

Then comes the fourth quarter. You think I’m going to talk about the pass, but not yet. Let’s not overlook the run. On third-and-8, Rodgers scrambled to his left and displayed an unorthodox high step as he tight roped the sideline. Two things happened on that play. First, Rodgers got the first down, which allowed the pass to even take place. Second, if the Packers go to fourth down there, Dak Prescott would get the ball back with around 20 seconds left only needing a field goal to win. That play that saw a scampering Rodgers break two tackles en route to an 18-yard pickup was a lot bigger than people think.

And finally, the throw that may not have happened. Rodgers had the first back shoulder attempt broken up by Dallas cornerback Jourdan Lewis because it was too low. Back in the huddle, Davante Adams told Rodgers to do it again and that’s exactly what he did. However, instead of keeping it low, Rodgers threw a high trajectory back shoulder fade and in typical Rodgers fashion, he threw it exactly where it had to be.

That was Rodgers’ 12th fourth quarter comeback of his career, tying him with current passers Cam Newton, Derek Carr and Ryan Tannehill. However, the Packers have been so good during Rodgers’ career thanks to a 94-46 regular season record as a 10-year starter that fourth quarter comebacks become not as applicable.

What makes Rodgers stand out is that he has a 120.1 passer rating with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in the second half of games this season. That’s remarkable. And let’s not forget that Rodgers has been able to that without both starting tackles on the field in the same game yet this season, the running back position has been shuffled and he was without his top wide receiver in Jordy Nelson for Sunday’s final drive.

And he has risen above all of that and has still led the Packers to a 4-1 record, a three-way tie for the best mark in the NFC.

Now if that doesn’t sound like an MVP, I don’t know what is. 

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Nick Perry's picture

When people try to suggest Rodgers isn't all that they always seem to point to the number of 4th quarter comebacks. Granted the number isn't up there with some of the others, but as Cory pointed out the Packers are normally ahead.

BUT...I'd like to see another stat...How many times has Rodgers put the Packers ahead only to watch Capers Defense blow the game?? How many times have we seen Rodgers put the Packers ahead only to watch the opposing team drive down the field and score the winning points.

AND...With the exception of this year how often has Thompson went out and signed anything other than a UDFA during Free Agency? Rodgers has had to deal with Capers Defense and Thompson's choices without really saying a word his entire career.

It's time the Packers organization make sure they do EVERYTHING they possibly can to put the best roster AND coaching staff around Rodgers every year. This year was a start but after watching that final drive by Dallas I've finally taken of the homer hat about this defense. Just like every season since 2010 the Packers will go as far as he takes them. THAT IMO is taking him for granted.

Bearmeat's picture

Welcome back to reality, NP. Seeing our defense for what it's historically been under TT/MM/DC isn't fun, is it?

But it's the way it is. Hope they improve and give us a shot in January this year.

BPEARSON21's picture

Yes yes yes - been saying this for some time now. Couldn't agree more.

Nick Perry's picture

There was an interesting Podcast on "On The Rock" on the ESPN Milwaukee website. Stephan A Smith has an interesting take on Rodgers. One that I've mentioned more than once and IMO is a possibility.

Why does everybody assume he'll resign with GB?? Smith was talking about the Packers and Ted Thompson failure to put a defense around him for all these years and Rodgers HAS GOT TO BE FRUSTRATED. He says sources close to him have confirmed his frustration and I for one can't blame him if that's truly the case. That 9 plus minute drive on Sunday by Dallas was pathetic by the defense. What if a REAL Coach had been coaching? What happens if Garrett isn't making stupid decisions to help GB. Would the Packers have gotten the ball back? And if they did would they gotten it back with over a minute left on the clock and a timeout? HELL NO!!!

Smith's and my point is after 7 years of getting blown out in the playoffs. After game after game like Sunday's game by the defense Rodgers HAS to be getting sick and tired of this crap. It's something to think about and something that's not that farfetched. I guess it goes along with taking Rodgers for granted. IMO that would be a HUGE mistake by Thompson, McCarthy, or Murphy to assume. Afterall what happens when you assume???? We all know.

Bearmeat's picture

You're not wrong.

The only hope against it is how this year pans out. TT did more this year, and everyone assumes he's done very soon. Who is the next GM? That's the 10 million dollar question.

Since '61's picture

Nick - I agree. I have posted many times that AR may not resign with GB. His agent may advise him to hold out for the highest bidder, in which case the Packers would lose out. Denver for example could repeat the move they made to snag Peyton Manning. SF will probably still be seeking a starting QB or maybe the LA Chargers or the LA Rams will pay the price. Any California team with a good defense in search of a QB would be a candidate to make a huge bid. I don't see Rodgers going to a bad team, but a team with a good defense and an owner who is willing spend money could be a likely landing spot. Let's hope TT move first but will Rodgers wait to see what FA brings? Thanks, Since '61

pacman's picture

Simple stat missing - how many 4th qtr come from behind attempts did AR get? Maybe only count the ones with less than 6 minutes left.

Bearmeat's picture

No one here takes Rodgers for granted. He's inhuman and we'll never have another QB like him. Which is why many of us are livid that we've only won it all once under Zeus (which is what I'll be referring to QB1 as for the rest of the year).

We've. Got. To. Get. Another. Lombardi.

Turophile's picture

The first part of your post I certainly agree on. Rodgers might be the best ever at QB. I'm not sure anyone takes him for granted, but they are likely to be impatient if the guy that follows him is no better than ok. Can't ask for much better, than the results of the last 25+ years. Pretty much every team bar the Pats would have traded their last quarter century for the Packers, in a heartbeat.

As for him only having one SB, that doesn't bend me all out of shape. SBs are a team accomplishment, and even though a QB is a big part of that, its still a team thing.

With Favre, a first ballot HOF guy, with Holmgren as HC, with (for a short while) both the best offense AND the best defense in the league, guess what - 1 SB.

Too much focus on superbowls takes away from the journey to get there, and THAT is really what it is all about, if you want to enjoy the season.

JDK52's picture

Love this take, Turo.

Watching this team has given me so many great memories. Do I want to watch another SB win? Well yeah, duh. But even without 5 rings like a certain other #12, I can and will still enjoy the journey and the process. The games are what's fun about football.

Bearmeat's picture

That's all well and good. It's certainly not wrong, and no one can say that I don't enjoy the hell out of the journey. I've been here too long for people to call me a frontrunner, or a homer, or a bandwagoner, or even a Chicken Little. I'm slightly to the pessimistic side, but unfortunately, I've been right far more than I've been wrong since 2012 - when I started calling for Capers and TT's job.

That all said, the single biggest piece of winning a super bowl is having an elite QB. GB has had better QB play than every other team in the NFL since 1992. And it has 2 trophies in that time.

I'm sorry, but that is systemic failure - from the GM down to the intern level.

Finwiz's picture

Correct, Bearmeat.

JDK52's picture

Sounds like you're made up your mind.

As long as you really are enjoying the journey, we can at least agree on that. Systemic failure or not, this has been a hugely entertaining team to watch for very long time! Hopefully we can keep Rodgers for a long time yet.

Bearmeat's picture

Of course!!

Finwiz's picture

Entertaining yes, but frustrating as well. (I hate bad defense)
They were fun to watch at times in the late 70's and 80's as well, but mostly when they had a shot at a good record, and the playoffs.
A Super Bowl was sadly an unrealistic dream until Ron Wolf came around.
Entertaining football only goes so far - eventually you'd like to see the ultimate success - a championship.
I'll bet the Patriots think their 16-0 regular season was very entertaining as well, but most likely they'd rather have been 13-3 and won the Super Bowl.

dobber's picture

Yes, but when they were 16-0 and headed for the playoffs, don't you think they were convinced that they WOULD win the SB?

Finwiz's picture

For a guy that makes some very interesting posts, and has a good head on his shoulders, you sure miss the point a lot.

dobber's picture

I think you would be surprised... ;)

Bearmeat's picture

Actually, no. They thought they had the best shot. But they knew they were vulnerable on defense late in that year. I remember reading Bill Simmons' articles and he was a basket case from Thanksgiving on.

If you go into the playoffs with a well rounded team, and have a better QB than your opponent, you're probably going to win. The 07 Pats didn't have that. They were fun-n-gun. So have many of our teams been.

Our best shots to win it all:

95 (grrrrrr)
97 (double grrrr)
04 (UGH)
07 (Double UGH)
14 (TRIPLE UGH)

Notice a pattern there? Each and every one of those teams had a middle-of-the-pack-or-better Defense. Notice that none of the ARod years except 10 and 14 have had that shot. That is FAR too long between "real shot" years. Again, to me it shows systemic failure as an organization to build a team around what is by far the most important piece (franchise QB).

Now, I admit, this is JMO. It's not fact based. But you can generally tell who's got a legit shot coming into the playoffs. It's based on QB play and passing defense (in that order).

Finwiz's picture

Another excellent post out of Bearmeat.
Good stuff!
Read it....know it....live it!

jh9's picture

I don't know about the "intern level," but I'm with you, Bearmeat, regarding TT, MM, and DC not getting the job done. We should have at least two Lombardi Trophies by now with AR and playing to get our third.

Mojo's picture

There was euphoria with the group I was with when we won our last SB. Even days afterward people were happy and excited.

Any team can have a journey. The Cleveland Browns have a journey every year. I get it, every season has it moments, but sprinkle in a Lombardi once in awhile.

stockholder's picture

BEFORE WE GIVE A-ROD THE Next SUPER MAN SHIRT. We saw what happened with Nelson out. He even missed him on a easy pass on the goal line. A-Rod has the best receivers he's had in years. Their in their prime. A-Rod understands this offense. But age has a way of creeping up on people. The IR is full of players of what can happen. No one player should be put above the Team. And the WRs of the future must be found. A-Rods window kept us on top. A-Rods next contract could hurt this team. Are you going to pay him on past heroics, or his value to the team. TT did not pay Farve. A-Rod was ready. TT will draft a QB high this draft. The future is calling for the next A-Rod.

Johnblood27's picture

like prom night and newlyweds, this is just premature...

dobber's picture

I agree to a point. It's all a matter of what happens to Hundley. If he goes or is dealt, they're going to have to find a backup who can play meaningful snaps with only one off-season of prep. Callahan isn't likely to be that guy...he's BJ Coleman, or--at best--Matt Flynn.

I think it's entirely possible they take a QB relatively early in this draft. It's shaping up to be a good QB draft. I just don't think they're drafting the heir apparent, yet. #12 is still at the top of his game, and will likely be there--barring injury--for at least a couple years, yet. I've voiced the question of whether or not they pay him, but am now of the opinion that they're going to HAVE to pay him. Franchise QBs are cap eaters. That's just the way it is. But you're going to win more games with that QB and a tight cap than you're going to win without one.

dobber's picture

"Are you going to pay him on past heroics, or his value to the team."

There's no one more valuable to his team than #12 is right now, and he's not likely to drop off dramatically for a couple years, yet. When QB1 signed his current deal there were some concerns that it would be tight on the cap, but the cap continues to grow and the Packers have room. You don't let an elite--maybe goat--QB walk or get too pissed off, because...

"TT did not pay Farve. A-Rod was ready. "

Huh? #12 was ready, yes, but Favre retired. It wasn't about getting paid. It was about frustration on his part. He was pissed because TT drafted #12. He was pissed because TT wouldn't kiss his ass. He was pissed because a team that shot through the regular season got beat on one of his mistakes in the NFC Championship. The drama was going on for a couple years with #4 at that point. Favre opened the door to #12 himself. TT and the Packers were happy to close it for him.

JDK52's picture

Favre showed himself the door, and yeah, TT was happy to let him go his own way.

Also, why do so many people see to think it's easy to run an NFL franchise? The fact that maybe a handful of other teams in the league have seen close to the level of success the Packers have seen should amply prove that this organization is doing a damn good job overall.

#12 needs to be paid. There's no debate worth having about that. Make him retire a Packer!

dobber's picture

"Also, why do so many people see to think it's easy to run an NFL franchise?"

Because it's easy to criticize what management does because almost all our decisions are made in hindsight after actually watching what guys do, how they develop, and seeing who gets hurt. We don't make those calls in March and April when virtually all meaningful player acquisition happens.

I have no doubt roster management is hard, but I'll sadly never know just how hard. I would love to spend a year as a fly on the wall with TT/Gutekunst/Wolf/Highsmith/Ball.

Razer's picture

Rodgers is the only thing keeping this franchise competitive. Any talk about not going on to the next contract is absurd. Do we want to be like all those teams that struggle year-in, year-out to be relevant? Do we want to be the next Chicago. You got to ride this star out until there is no shine.

As for taking him for granted, the lack of an average defense these past 6 years is a total waste of our biggest natural resource. The organization has taken him for granted by not fixing the most obvious missing piece of the championship puzzle. We can only hope that Rodgers plays well for another 5 years so that the defense might get re-re-re-rebuilt.

JDK52's picture

Are you saying the best player in the NFL is the only thing keeping this team competitive?

Hot take right there.

dobber's picture

Ask Drew Brees--who has the same number of SB rings as #12, a future first-ballot HOF QB and annual top 3 QB in passing yards, TDs and QBR--how many wins an elite QB is worth. NO struggles to get to 7.

Bearmeat's picture

Great point. I think TT has done a great job building an ok team that could get to 6-8 wins without ARod. Certainly better than Loomis swinging for the fences time and again and wiping out. The real question is - is what TT has done good enough??

I'd say no.

dobber's picture

The last 6 seasons certainly say no. We're pretty much locked into this one and will have to see...

Duke Divine's picture

I want to freeze time!

JDK52's picture

One thing that's really stood out to me this season is the way the team plays in the 2nd half. It seems like every week adjustments are made, the offense finds a groove and moves at will, and the defense starts to figure out how to get stops.

Yes, Atlanta happened...whatever. Early season, injuries, juiced-up team, plenty of reasons that game went sideways. But the other games have all featured a team that wins in the second half, and looks good doing it.

I'll take that all season long!

RCPackerFan's picture

Atlanta's game basically kind of got away from them. The game changing play was the penalty on Bennett which negated a play that gave them the ball at midfield. Next play was an interception. That was the huge swing in the game. Going into halftime down 17-7,17-10,17-14 would have been completely different then down 24-7.

I love the way this team has came out to finish games. They make half time adjustments and play much better.

Doing a little research I find this interesting.
So far this season the Packers average 6.8 points in the 1st quarter, which is ranked 3rd in the league. They average 2.8 points (31st ranked) in the 2nd quarter. They average 6.8 points (ranked 6th) in the 3rd quarter. They average 10.6 (ranked 2nd) in the 4th Quarter.
They are ranked 6th overall in points per game averaging 27.4.

Playing their best ball in the 3rd and 4th Quarter is huge!

dobber's picture

Last season they finished the season as the fastest-starting team in the league and were awful in the 3rd Quarter...something like 31st overall. Just shows how the script can flip from year to year.

egbertsouse's picture

I have this recurring nightmare: TT tries to lowball AR and he ends up in SF with a zillion dollar contract. I never take anyone for granted.

dobber's picture

I wonder how many compensatory picks that would net...

Razer's picture

one 3rd rounder - great value

Mojo's picture

Everyone realizes the more we "appreciate" ARod with a huge contract, the less chance we have to either sign or retain other difference makers?

If winning a Lombardi is important to ARod then the best way the club can show their appreciation for him is by taking the extra money ARod could have made (assuming he doesn't demand a huge cap %) and spending it on talent to put the team over the top.

dobber's picture

The franchise QB is the holy grail of the NFL. Right now, there are 20 players who have a higher base salary than #12. 20!!! That includes 10 QBs. I'm guessing most of those were viewed as 'franchise' QBs when they signed their deals.

spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/base/

Rodgers's cap hit for 2017 is tied for 6th with Ryan Tannehill. QBs ahead of Rodgers in terms of cap hit are Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins (who's playing on, like, his 30th franchise tag). Teams are going to sign their respective 401k's over to anyone they think is or can be a franchise QB. That being the case, what is #12 really worth?

The double-extra-special holy grail, of course, is a QB on a rookie deal who plays at a high-to-elite level, early. Those teams are going to rocket up the standings because they'll be able to do exactly what you imply: open their pocketbooks to build the supporting cast while the QB isn't costing them very much. But look at Seattle: they've atrophied since they had to pay Russell Wilson. They can't do a lot to address their needs on OL and their defense is starting to age. So it's a catch-22: you can't really win without a franchise QB (unless you get really lucky), but can you manage the finances well enough to win with one?

Ferrari Driver's picture

Rodgers is the best QB that I have ever watched in person and that includes some terrific ones including: Mannings (Archie, Eli, and Payton); Unitias; Rote; Marino; Favre; Starr; Brees; Brady; Elway; Montana; and a large number of other very good quarterbacks in the NFL.

Perhaps the greatest factor to the lack of elite defensive players in the Packers defense is the NFL draft system which has teams with the best records drafting behind others who have been less successful.

It's a great system which allows those with losing records to draft and sign who are highly rated before others get an opportunity to do so. It tends to make for a balanced league, making it difficult for any one team to dominate the NFL like the Yankees did in baseball decades ago.

The Packers, having Favre, followed by Rodgers have given that team perhaps the best quarterback tandem in the history of the league and do to the superior play of those two individuals, playing the single most important position on the football team, the Packers have missed out on drafting a great many talented players.

Lphill's picture

Let's have a game where we don't need a 4 th qtr comeback .

4thand1's picture

AR is the only reason this team is in the playoffs every year. He hasn't had the benefit of a defense to get the ball back or make game changing stops. He makes everyone on offense better, but has no control over the defensive side of the ball. I thought the game was over when Dallas marched down the field and scored. Thank god their D is as bad or worse than ours, Old defensive co-orinators that the game has passed by on both teams.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Can we discuss Capers or is that too big a downer? If not for Rodgers wouldn't he be the center of the discussion?Now he's barely mentioned, despite letting the other team march down the field in a long sustained drive with the game on the line. Doesn't scream good D. Excuses aside (King out) have we not seen that too many times before? Dak is good, but guess what?... another QB having his best day against the Pack. Safeties playing 15 yards behind receivers... good D scheme? Ha Ha doesn't have the quick moves to quickly drive on a receiver, but he's back on a lighthouse with binoculars trying to locate the receivers. I was a safety, don't remember ever playing so far back unless it was final play with seconds left. Thats all on Capers. That's the D he employs and has employed for years. Rollins never challenges a receiver on the line. He's not quick enough to give up 8-10 yards and then make that up. That's on Capers. He's a miserable defensive coordinator and has been tolerated for years. He has to go or this Groundhog Day we keep going through will never end (make playoffs thanks to Rodgers then goodnight till next year. Repeat). There's a lot of talent in this Defense right now. The injuries are mostly to the offense. Capers is killing us.

stockholder's picture

Ok, You guys want A-Rod over everybody. But thats not a realistic view. Every fan has their favorite player. But How many would take A-Rod over Manning, Brady,Favre, Montana, or others that won, or came close to winning a super-bowl. (Don't give me the NFL has changed. ) TT took A-rod, but how many of his picks failed at getting Rodgers or Favre help. So Do you say TT is great because he took Rodgers? How many in the NFL would take Favre or Rodgers that aren't Packer fans. My thinking is after reading so many points. We lock up Rodgers before Adams. Why? Because as so many pointed out. Rodgers maybe the greatest player in Packers history. If you don't keep Rodgers you won't need Adams, Cobb, or Nelson. And watching other greats, how many had the Wrs A-rod threw too? Sterling Sharpe , James Lofton, Jennings etc. How many games did the 49ers win with Montana and Rice etc. Your points suggest lock up A-rod now. I've collected football cards all my life. A-Rods are easy to get. Its not just supply and demand.

dobber's picture

"A-Rods are easy to get. Its not just supply and demand."

What?

stockholder's picture

Comparing the values of a football cards. To Other great Qbs cards. Fame, love and desired most.

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