Cory's Corner: It Pays To Be Comfortable

Keeping Aaron Rodgers' jersey clean is the best path to a victory in Tampa. 

The NFL is a simple game. Keep your quarterback comfortable while making the opposing quarterback uncomfortable. 

It’s safe to say that Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been comfortable this season. He has been pressured 19 times and has been sacked seven times. That sack number is tied for fourth in the league with Daniel Jones and Matt Ryan. 

This might be the weirdest start to a season for Rodgers because he hasn’t had his offensive line at full strength yet as both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins have dealt with knee injuries. Jenkins made his first start last week vs. Chicago since tearing his ACL on Nov. 21 last season. 

“It starts up front with the offensive line and the backs and tight ends and protection,” said Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich. “It always does. And just like Aaron said, a lot of times, he’s been known for holding on to the ball, creating those extra plays downfield so there’s a fine line that you kind of walk when you do that. I’m sure as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable with the wideouts and everything like that, hopefully we see less of those where he’s running around and taking big hits.”

Which brings us to Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the best defenses in the league, with 20 hurries tallied through two games. Edge rushers Shaqil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka lead the team with five and four hurries apiece.

To make matters worse, one of the best blockers on the team in tight end Marcedes Lewis has been dealing with a groin issue and may not play. Oh yeah, and the wide receivers are a walking first aid unit. Allen Lazard is still dealing with a bad ankle after getting stepped on in practice a few weeks back, Christian Watson and Sammy Watkins both have pesky hamstring injuries and even Randall Cobb has thrown his hat into the ring with an illness.

The best part is that the two best players aside from Rodgers are still healthy. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon had a combined 27 touches in the Packers 27-10 blowout win over the Bears. That number will need to be higher in order to keep Rodgers’ jersey clean. 

The Buccaneers have their own injury issues with receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones and Mike Evans is still suspended, but unless Rodgers stays off the Raymond James Stadium grass, the Packers won’t beat a team that is only allowing a 25 percent conversion rate on third down. 

“But yeah, you definitely don’t want to see the quarterback get hit ever,” Stenavich said. 

So it’s simple: Just keep Rodgers comfortable. (I know, easier said than done.)
 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (19)

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Savage57's picture

September 24, 2022 at 07:21 am

More dirt balls and crowd balls and fewer times eating the ball for negative yardage would be a good thing to see on Sunday.

It's a trade worth making, and one I hope AR can become comfortable with.

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egbertsouse's picture

September 24, 2022 at 07:43 am

Akiem Hicks is also out. That should help.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 24, 2022 at 07:59 am

This is true, but we also have to strengthen our pass rush as well. With Jason Pierre-Paul gone, I think that signing Benson Mayowa would be the best option. He had 13 sacks, 37 pressures, and 5 forced fumbles between 2019-20, his last full seasons and the last where he played OLB (he also never played more than 61% of the snaps in either season). He only had one sack last year with Seattle, but was playing ILB, and only for about 46% of snaps, dropping into coverage often. He'd be cheap, too. I think the Packers would have little to lose and much to gain from signing Mayowa.

The Packers could also look to add to the d-line, which, aside from Kenny Clark, has been dissapointing. It may be too early to judge, but someone like Ndamukong Suh or Sheldon Richardson could help and would add depth. Trading Dean Lowry (& a draft pick) to the Commanders for Daron Payne (who has two sacks so far this season) could also be an interesting idea - that would give Kenny Clark some REAL help on the d-line.

The Packers could explore other options to bolster Safety depth as well, such as free agent Jaquiski Tartt and Anthony Harris, who's on the Broncos' PS.

What do you all think?

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PatrickGB's picture

September 24, 2022 at 11:52 am

Reed have been a disappointment. I was really hoping for a big ole NT and then move Clark to DE full time. And I thought that other linemen on the defense would do better this year. So I thought about your suggestions. Lowery can still bull rush well but has limited skills otherwise. I don’t see him being traded because he is a known quantity. I definitely don’t want Suh. The others mentioned seem to be a reach but I suck at player evaluation. My hope is that Gutie is better at it.

Right now it has to be improvement from within.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 24, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Maybe for the D-line, and Abernathy is an interesting prospect, but Garvin isn’t getting any better and Enagbare is a project. I think that signing Benson Mayowa should be high on Gutey’s to-do list

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 25, 2022 at 03:01 am

Payne is playing on his 5th year option. I suppose he'd be a one-year rental, since I expect him to get pretty big money next year. Enough to get a 3rd round compensatory pick in 2024, or Washington could franchise him for something in the area of $18M and try for a sign and trade. WA doesn't have tons of cap space but they have many ways to generate more than OTC is showing. There are plenty of reports that Payne was available via trade prior to the season. WA is 1-1.

If the Packers traded for him now, his cap number would be $7.1M. At the trade deadline Payne's cap number would be $4.26M, which is more doable. Both numbers assume that GB would not restructure his base salary to lower his cap number. GB would definitely have to offload a salary, and the only salaries of significance are Lowry and Lazard.

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

September 24, 2022 at 09:07 am

There is a saying in the league, when a starter goes down, be ready, it's an opportunity for a new star to shine.
Just ask Douglas....

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Coldworld's picture

September 24, 2022 at 09:21 am

If Lewis can’t go or is limited, this is a game where a smart coach might have had one of Tom, Jones or Watson helping as a TE this week. Tom, with his mobility and leverage, might be the perfect candidate for the role with his speed and agility, although I can’t deny the attraction of Jones pancaking a few opponents completely.

Of course, we have LaFleur. He doesn’t do that kind of thing. He will stick with Davis no doubt. Even MM used that trick at times. It’s the kind of thing that allows a coach to give his team an edge. It’s pretty sad, but I’ve come to the point where I don’t think LaFleur is that imaginative.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 24, 2022 at 11:36 am

Cold, that’s an interesting and innovative solution. MM used the UB71 formation a number of times because it helped the run game. It’s an interesting idea to use something like that for pass protection.

I do think that LaFleur is imaginative but he is also stubborn and slow to make adjustments.

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mnbadger's picture

September 24, 2022 at 11:55 am

He's also afraid to demand that his qb execute the game plan.
It still embarrasses me when he's more involved in cheerleading than game management.
I think we learn alot about our HC Sunday. I'm not optimistic.
GPG

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Rarescope's picture

September 24, 2022 at 12:11 pm

I love how people here seem to think that a two second camera cut of the coach on the sidelines during a game gives them deep insight into how he performs his job.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 24, 2022 at 12:57 pm

I like the idea of Tom or C, Jones (especially I as a makeshift TE. I do agree about MLF, though - not many trick plays, either

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LambeauPlain's picture

September 24, 2022 at 03:44 pm

The old U 71 ground and pound with 5 OL, another OL at TE, a FB and Ahman Green.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 24, 2022 at 11:30 am

I could not agree more. Classic Aaron Rodgers needs time in the pocket. While Matt endeavors to scheme around it it’s still in Aaron’s nature to hold on to the ball and make sure he throws to an open WR for a bigger gain. It’s in his DNA. It’s has worked for him and the team for quite some time. Other teams know that. And as the quality of our WR’s have diminished they have responded with pass rush and two high coverage. As we all have noted the run game is the primary solution. With the drop off of offensive line play it’s the best way to attack the defensive coverage.

And there is one more concern. The more Aaron Rodgers gets hit the greater the likelihood of injury.

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stockholder's picture

September 24, 2022 at 11:37 am

We knew Lewis, Balk, Cobb and Watkins would be questionable. We know they're favorites. But Rodgers must get Comfortable; with player's that can hold up! It's what must happen if this team is going to make the play-offs.
Position by position. The stats have told the story. Rather it be blocking, or targets. The grades tell the story.
MM didn't want to give the ball to Jones. And it seems LeFluer / Rodgers, doesn't want to give these Wrs a chance at stardom either.
The speed needs to be out there! The blocking must not be a make- shift line. And Tonyan must be that guy that replaces Lewis.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 24, 2022 at 12:06 pm

This reminds me of last years game at Arizona. A bunch of no names struggled at receiver. But the team had no choice and kept plugging away with mixed results. It was down to a couple of key plays by both the offense and defense to pull that game out with a victory I also remember another game there where Aaron threw to backup players and kept us in the game until the end. So, it is possible. I agree about the speed issue but Rodgers prefers separation over speed. He wants them open. I understand that but it’s not realistic. This game he may not have much of a choice. Doubs is the closest the team has to being the #1 WR for this game. He is smooth but may not run the preferred route. So just stick with it.

Tonyan can block ok but no TE blocks like Lewis.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 24, 2022 at 06:53 pm

They had their chances in '20 and '21. This is rebuild and hope they scratch into the playoffs. I would have Watson and Doubs next to Lazard and move the train forward. Too many misses in his drafts.

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jhtobias's picture

September 24, 2022 at 12:16 pm

The one thing especially packer beat writers are not mentioning is that truth is Joe Berry job should be on the line this week : Please let me explain before giving me a thumbs down ,

This is also a matt lafluer judgment since he hand picked him.

If Berry can't or does not have the ability to adjust in game to stop a physical hurt team like the bucs he is only holding this team back and if I were Gute I would tell lafluer you or him need to go.

Truth is not one adjustment was made to stop the Vikings, not one adjustment was made to stop the bears run game. If they lose 7 to 3 ok that's one thing but they have one weapon this week Leonard fournette . If they can't contain the bucs this week than you have two assumptions , The defensive talent stinks which I don't believe or the coaches put their players in positions not to succeed,

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 24, 2022 at 06:56 pm

Not blitzing Cousins is either a crime or Barry had money on the game...

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