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Aaron Rodgers Needs to Spread the Ball Around

At the conclusion of this year’s training camp, the Green Bay Packers’ fan base was jazzed by the prospect of the Packers having seven exciting young receivers on the roster. The head coach expressed confidence in them all, with Trevor Davis and Jared Abbrederis — and Davante Adams, of course — in particular being praised by the coaching staff.

So, how has that worked out for the four non-starters?

The offense has taken 426 snaps through seven games. Jeff Janis (after getting the cast off his hand) has gotten 88 of them. The stats say he’s been targeted seven times, though five is more accurate, and he’s had four catches for 23 yards. Trevor Davis has had 43 offensive snaps, was targeted twice and has no catches. Jared Abbrederis had 24 snaps, two targets and one catch for 8 yards. Ty Montgomery – in five games of spot duty before being forced into regular duty these last two games – had 17 snaps, and zero targets or catches.

Cumulatively, that’s 172 snaps for seven receptions and 31 yards. What’s wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong is that the Packers have a quarterback who only throws to those he personally highly trusts. This is not only accepted as a fact, but Aaron Rodgers actually brags about how the receivers have to win his acceptance.

The Rodgers’ in-crowd is currently Jordy Nelson (390 snaps), Randall Cobb (360), Davante Adams (299), and his newest pledge, Ty Montgomery (95 snaps in the two most recent games). Nelson, however, with one catch in 83 snaps against the Bears, could rapidly be falling out of favor. It remains to be seen whether new roster addition Geronimo Allison, who Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy both praised during training camp, will get any throws.

Rodgers has become extremely and increasingly selective as to who he will throw to. The only other explanation for the almost nonexistent production of the four subs is that they either can’t get open or they aren’t NFL-quality receivers.

Do you believe that? Countless viewers have noted that Rodgers has routinely looked off non-favored “open” receivers going well back into the 2015 season.

Seriously, why play these others at all and for that matter why have them on the team, if they aren’t going to be put to use? It also leaves the team with roster shortages at other positions.

To the list of reasons that have been ascribed to Rodgers’ tanking passing production, I’d be sure to add: the lack of trust in and use of several of his receivers. He’s not helping himself with this attitude.

Targeting Rodgers’ new triumvirate of Adams, Cobb, and Montgomery 44 times against the Bears produced a victory, but I doubt it’s a formula for long-term success.

I think it’s high time – if not past high time – that McCarthy sits down with his quarterback and makes clear that the coach dictates which players are sent onto the field, and which plays are to be run (mostly) – and Aaron’s job is to execute those plays, not act like a personnel manager or offensive coordinator.

When Josh Sitton uttered some mild criticism of the team’s offensive strategy at the end of last season, McCarthy took great offense and roared back, “Josh Sitton needs to play guard.”
Maybe it’s time for McCarthy to pronounce, “Aaron Rodgers needs to play quarterback.”
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Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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11 Comments

  1. PF4L October 28, 2016

    Yea, sure. Rodgers is selective. He usually has 2-4 open receivers at any given time, which provides him the luxury to “play favorites”

    Rodgers is known to use 8-9 receivers in a game, getting all involved.

    Don’t confuse lack of trust, with the inability to get open.

    Get open, get the ball.

  2. PF4L October 28, 2016

    Jeff Janis has 15 receptions incl. post season in 3 years. Abby had 16 receptions in 2 years. Montgomery has 35 receptions in 2 years. 20 of them coming in the last 2 games. This isn’t fucking rocket science. This also isn’t Rodgers only throwing to someone he trust. As if he has a lot of choices of open receivers.

    The fact that these 4 players played 172 collective snaps, is absolutely meaningless to the issue of trust. When the players aren’t part of the game plan.

    This is about McCarthy, and his refusal to implement those receivers into the game plan. He’s admitted it.

    To prove my point. Montgomery was put into the game plan the last 2 games. What has he done with it? He’s produced. He was targeted 25 times, and made 20 catches. Did Rodgers all of a sudden gain trust in Montgomery the last 2 games? No, he was actually made part of the offensive game plan by McCarthy.

    You’re welcome.

  3. PF4L October 28, 2016

    Now (cough) if we could just get Rodgers to trust Nelson again.

  4. MJ October 28, 2016

    The lack of targets for the WRs other than Nelson, Cobb or Adams can be ascribed to Rodgers, but to McCarthy as well. Who dictates which WR will be the first read, the second, etc, and who are just playing decoy?

  5. PF4L October 28, 2016

    If it was just a matter of trust, then riddle me this……why keep throwing to Adams the past year and 1/2 when he’d clearly run wrong (bad) routes, drop way too many passes? Makes no sense.

  6. MMTTDCSUCK October 28, 2016

    PF4L, You and I see eye to eye on most things Packers. One that we do not see as closely is Aaron Rodgers. I firmly believe he is part of the current problem. This does not mean that I do not like him or do not respect him. I am only saying that I believe he is definitely NOT innocent in this cluster fuck. I wrote a post on the “Pod Cast” blog part that explained my feelings . . . I will repost here for you in case you did not read it.

    Points that have needed to be discussed for the last 4 to 5 years! This train wreck was coming waaay before most would acknowledge it to be so. I believe that some of us saw the “Emperor wearing no clothes” during the 2010 Super Bowl. Poor coaching skills at many coaching positions. Player procurement, favoritism, no accountability for some players. This present situation that the team finds themselves in the middle of stems from a few things. One is that Rodgers for years never had a very good line. This created a few problems; injuries to Rodgers, stress to Rodgers well being, and the most important one, concussions. These, I believe have manifest into “happy feet” the fear of being concussed and absolute frustration with the upper management for not surrounding him sooner with more capable players. The second is TT not getting Rodgers capable players for this West Coast Offense. TE’s, Marshawn Lynch, and a few WR’s that he hinted that he would like to throw to. None of this materialized (other than by draft!) until this years weak attempt at TE . . . where is he at now? This has created in Rodgers head a self protection bubble mode where he has crawled inside of. This brings me to the third point which is this protection bubble. Because Rodgers is a Stats guy who is very persnickety and through his own devices has found ways to protect himself and his stats. Throughout the last 3 years this situation has been becoming obvious to most Packer fans. What was not, was Rodgers going into a shell of protection. MM the Buffoon should have seen this by how Rodgers was reacting to plays, how he was starting to become VERY PICKY with who he wants to throw to (I remember years ago where the announcers and the stat lines spoke volumes to the amount of different receivers Rodgers would target! double figures sometimes!) THAT has gone away period! I firmly believe as someone stated that the coaching staff; either through inaction, complacency, arrogance or ignorance has created a “DIVA” in the same manner as Favre was messed up with thanks to Sherman. The fourth possibility I believe is that there may be lingering complications from his injuries. Whatever the facts may be, I firmly believe that this INNEPT coaching staff (TT included) have created this cluster fuck. I just wish all of us were screaming 3 to 5 years earlier when we should have been.

    1. PF4L October 28, 2016

      Here’s my view, in simplistic form, only because it would be so long, no one would read it….no offence killer. I believe the following things factor into the current state of the offense.

      Still no accountability, from Murphy down. Still the pompous arrogance.

      Still the same stale plays. DEFENSES KNOW WHAT WE RUN and how to defend it. Still McCarthy’s inability to be innovative. whether that means in terms of play calling, personnel, attitude, whatever.

      Lack of leadership, from Murphy down.

      Lets not pretend this isn’t a problem, the receivers have serious issues getting open, even with 5-8 seconds. Yes, it’s easy to look at a laptop watching the 22’s and pointing out a receiver got open momentarily, or sitting on your couch rewinding it with DVR. It’s a bit different looking for receivers through progressions in battle behind 300lb lineman in 2.5 seconds.

      Aaron Rodgers, is not Aaron Rodgers. He still has the feet to buy some time and run for 1st downs. But his accuracy is also off because of bad footwork occasionally. I think Rodgers maybe over thinking, trying to get out of this rut. I think Rodgers is still highly confident, but he’s also lost a little. I also think he’s pissed off that finding receivers is so hard these days. I think he also might be pissed off at McCarthy, for reason’s i stated above.

      I also believe that a lot of receivers run their routes, then get lazy and tip toe around in one spot being lazy, when Rodgers is stretching out a play looking for someone open…I’VE SEEN IT.

      I said this before, and i’ll say it again….This offense needs some new blood, new idea’s, new passion after 10 years of McCarthy. They need a real off. coordinator, who can run and call his own plays. Obviously McCarthy’s way isn’t working. Clements play calling didn’t work because it’s still the same stale offense.

      I lay the majority of this failure at the feet of McCarthy, who gets little support from TT, who apparently has no boss to answer too.

      This is why i’m not afraid of failure with this team, it’s the ONLY way anyone, will wake up and demand changes. Unfortunately, it won’t be from Mark Murphy, it has to be from someone that takes their job seriously and demands accountability. Maybe someone on the Board of Directors has some backbone.

      I was pretty much in a relaxed, stress free zen moment before i wrote this, now i’m fucking seething. I owe you one…fucker :)

  7. PF4L October 28, 2016

    Funny thing is, this team rises and falls, mostly on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. Although things haven’t looked great the last season and a 1/2 (blame whomever you like). He’s provided job security for a lot of people, some too much.

    The bottom line is, Rodgers could retire tomorrow, and i’m cool with that, and with him. In Rodgers 1st 7 seasons starting, he’s done it like no one else, better than anyone in that stretch. and up until now, he’s done it with no signs of weakness anywhere in his game. This guy has made plays, so astonishing and unbelievable, you may never see anything like it again.

    I said in the past, if TT AND MM were to leave Green Bay, i’d buy the plane tickets. If Rodgers were to retire tomorrow, i’d buy him a vacation somewhere. Even though he could probably buy and sell me 500 times over.

  8. PF4L October 28, 2016

    “I just wish all of us were screaming 3 to 5 years earlier when we should have been.”

    I was …..scroll back in time and read my post….lol

    1. MMTTDCSUCK October 28, 2016

      PF4L, I know you were, I was referencing the vast majority of the bandwagoneers’ (homers) that would call guys like us out . . . where in the FUCK are they now? They are the REAL BANDWAGON people! I continue to hear crickets from these lemmings . . . These weak sisters should have been screaming as well . . . but they COULD NOT see it unfolding.

  9. Kato October 30, 2016

    Wow. A lot of good posts. I feel like MM is a great coach. But his reluctance to make adjustments is killing this team. And I think his offense has grown stale. Time for a change.