Post-Draft, Looking on the Bright Side – Part 3
Packer Nation is understandably nervous. After fifteen years of intense observation, Green Bay fans know that Aaron Rodgers is a prideful, and sometimes prickly, guy. How will he react to Brian Gutekunst choosing a potential future franchise quarterback in the first round of the 2020 draft?
The future HOF quarterback can react to his new teammate, Jordan Love, in a variety of ways. I hope he views the event as a positive thing, and uses it to engage in a self-analysis and self-improvement program. I believe it’s entirely within Aaron’s own power to improve his game.
There’s a bright side to all this. I’ve repeatedly said that a decline at this stage in a QB’s career cannot be blamed on the aging process in general or, absent some notable injury, on a lessening of physical abilities. Let’s give that premise a more detailed look.
The six seasons from 2014 through 2019 took Aaron from age 31 through 36. This should be his prime, not his descent.
Tom Brady was on the ascent through 2016, when he had his second-best passer rating at age 39. Drew Brees just peaked last season (or has he?), with a 116.3 rating at age 40. Since he turned Aaron’s age of 36, his ratings have been 101.0, 101.7, 103.9, 115.7, and 116.3.
From ages 36 through 38, Peyton Manning recorded ratings of 105.8, 115.1, and 101.5. Though never a passer rating dynamo, Brett Favre still managed to put up ratings of 95.7, 81.0, and 107.2 when was 37 through 39 years old.
Rodgers has adhered to a strong nutritional and fitness program for many years. His downhill descent isn’t due to any physical decline.
Aaron’s passer ratings from 2014 forward have been: 112.2, 92.7, 104.2, 97.2, 97.6, and 95.4. Among his peers, he ranked 2nd, 15th, 4th, 7th, 13th, and then 12th last year. That’s a half-dozen years of slippage.
If Aaron doesn’t reverse these numbers, it’s only sensible to extrapolate that after two more years he’ll be in the bottom half of the passer rating column – which in turn would make it likely that the Packers will be going to a new starting QB by the start of the 2022 season.
One can argue that Gutekunst was only being practical when he drafted Jordan Love. Perhaps having no plan in place if Aaron’s descent continues would be the wild gamble on Gutekunst’s part.
For a few years now, I’ve advocated that almost all of Aaron’s problems can be rectified: he just needs to commit to releasing the ball more quickly. It’s that simple. Putting it another way, he needs to commit to largely becoming a pocket or rhythm passer.
Here are a couple of specific areas at which Aaron needs to, and can, improve on: the long pass and the short pass.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was targeted 56 times in 2019, but caught only 26 balls. I’d bet that a third of those passes were deep balls – Rodgers just kept going and going deep to MVS, and for a good reason: he was usually wide open. Rodgers just couldn’t hit these targets.
MVS wasn’t the only one. Aaron missed on several deep balls intended for Davante Adams, and even on a couple meant for an open Aaron Jones. Call it a lack of concentration, or choking up on these chunk plays, but these misses weren’t due to Rodgers’ age or the condition of his throwing arm.
As for short passes, how many times did you see Aaron flip a pass out to a receiver or running back in the left or right flat – only to have it peter out and land at the receiver’s feet? Again, it’s not a physical problem. Rodgers has gotten quite undisciplined over the years when it come to setting his feet and making a proper release and follow through on these tosses. He needs to get his fundamentals back in order. That’s certainly doable, and it’s not asking too much.
Quarterback trajectories aren’t inevitable. The QB with the top passer rating in 2019 – a superb 117.5 – was none other than the Titans’ Ryan Tannehill, who had never before had a rating above 93.5.
The bottom line to this sub-heading: Aaron is at a stage where he needs coaching assistance – he needs to accept and follow the advice of his coaching staff. He needs to make changes – to clean up – his game.
The discussion leads back to the acquisition of Jordan Love. No question, the Packers’ general manager has put Aaron on notice, and that strikes me as a good thing.
Aaron needs to get himself back to where he belongs: into the top-six group of quarterbacks – I’m not asking for more than that. If he won’t or can’t do this, I fully expect that Jordan Love will get some shots sometime during the 2021 season at the latest.
Aaron signed a four-year deal, and it’s good through 2023. No team, however, can afford to pay premium money to a QB who’s performance has slipped to average or below. Just ask Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Rodgers’ deal was for $134,000,000; importantly, $98,700,000 was guaranteed. That means he’s getting his money, regardless, for the first three years. After the 2022 season, the Packers could release him with little or no penalty .
Now he has a new head coach, who is in a slow process of installing a new offense. As I see it, unless Rodgers’ faults are also attended to, the Packers’ new offense won’t fare much better than the old offense.
Here’s another post-draft bright side: due to the presence of Jordan Love, Matt LaFleur suddenly has genuine leverage over his veteran, and revered, quarterback. Gutekunst’s bold move just incentivised Rodgers.
In all those years that Rodgers was McCarthy’s starting QB, the head coach had next to no leverage. Rodgers ruled the roost, and none of his backups had the skills to pose a threat to him. I’m not putting the blame on Big Mike – it’s just not in the cards to try to change the game of a QB who was the league’s MVP a short time ago (in 2011 and 2014).
Thanks to Gutekunst’s daring move, however, Matt LaFleur can be insistent that Rodgers make certain changes to his game – with Love in the wings it won’t be an idle threat.
I don’t think anyone doubts whether LaFleur was completely on board with Gutekunst’s draft strategy. I seem to remember a TP commenter indicating that the head coach looked ecstatic when the pick was announced.
In a Q&A session following the Love selection, LaFleur was asked about his inclusion in the decision to trade up and make the controversial pick:
“Yeah, we definitely spent some time with Jordan, had a Facetime interview, myself and Offensive Coordinator] Nathaniel Hackett, as well as [Quarterbacks/Passing Game Coordinator Luke] Getsy. . .extremely talented. . .what I love about him is just the accountability he took for everything, whether it was a good play, bad play. . .it’s one of those rare opportunities where you never thought you’d be in a situation like you were.”
Coach LaFleur pointed to his own past experience with Robert Griffen and Kirk Cousins when they were rookies with the Redskins, and with Jared Goff in his second year with the Rams, adding: “I feel very confident that we can train these guys in the right way.”
You might recollect that a young Matt LaFleur quarterbacked Saginaw Valley State for three seasons, and he led the Cardinals to the playoffs each time. I can’t think of a lot of current NFL head coaches who were former college quarterbacks – there’s a quiz for you readers. I’m sure Matt has some strong feelings as to how a quarterback can best serve his team’s needs.
Competition is a good thing – it just might bring out the best in both quarterbacks.
The Packers front office has been lacking critical thinking in terms of player personnel since the retirement of Bob Harlan and the hiring of Mark Murphy. Murphy hired Thompson and now Gutenkust. Murphy did nothing during Thompson’s last 4 years as he was ineffective with draft picks and free agency. Then Murphy allowed McCarthy to hang around 2 years too long as he became predictable in every aspect of the offense. Thompson admits complacency! Now Thompson hires Gutenkust who allows himself to be influenced by a first year head coach by trading up for Roger’s replacement 2 years too early. And we all must agree Murphy gave the green light on this move. If not, he should be fired immediately! Put yourself in Rogers shoes. He sees the ineffective mismanagement of player drafts, acquistions, free agency or lack of, etc……for the last 5 years. It is this exact mismanagement by this front office that has given Aaron Rogers this “prickly” personality or attitude that you speak of. This Packer front office has actually undermined the effectiveness of one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. There is no accountability with Murphy because he has the Executive Board so enamored with Titletown Entertainment district it makes me sick. The Packers Executive Board has taken their eye off the ball. They have been blinded by success and no longer see Super Bowls as the number one critical aspect of the the organization. The dumbing down of Packer fans! This team will never get to another Super Bowl as long as Mark Murphy is President! He has allowed for the drafting of Love by trading up. Should have never happened. There will not be another Super Bowl in Green Bay with Rogers at quarterback because this front office has sold out on Rogers. Turned their Back! Because the priority to win for the long term is higher than priority for a super bowl with Rogers at quarterback. This is wrong!! They could have had both! But this front office does not know how to think critically!! Because they have no owner to stop stupid mistakes like this from occurring.
“Mr. Hellem, what you’ve just posted is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent, manifesto-like screed were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this blog is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Agree 100%. Sad there are haters like Savage57 here
two typo’s in my above. 1) Insert Murphy for Thompson who admits complacency! 2) Insert Murphy for Thompson who hired Gutenkust. Thanks.
Great article! I believe that Rodgers still has a lot left in the tank. He has just become way to subjective and has created a few bad habits from the last few years with the Buffoon (some out of necessity btw). It will be interesting to see if this lights a fire under his ass, to once again show us how talented he STILL is. My only concern is that he internalizes it and becomes recalcitrant and fucks the coach off. But I will go with the former, because he still has the requisite talent to be an MVP. It is mostly in his head, and in his fundamentals. Even for older world class musicians, practicing the rudiments keeps them on top of their game. It is the desire and the dedication to the craft that pays dividends. Aaron Rodgers knows this. A few of his peers adhere to it. Trusting that he will as well . . .
Lather, rinse, repeat. At least you’re consistent.
No one would never guess this is a blog for one of the most successful NFL teams over the last generation were they to read your posts.
Lol! At least this one was a tad more positive . . . I guess pleasing guys like you (which I could care LESS about) is tantamount to winning the lottery everyday. With that being said. I will defend my position regarding your “cute’ statement; “No one would never guess this is a blog for one of the most successful NFL teams over the last generation were they to read your posts.”
My posts are just MY opinion. The premise to most of my posts is simple . . . We have had two HOF QB1’s in a row. Our brain trust at 1265 Lombardi has shit the bed MORE OFTEN than not by not getting the requisite talent, draftees, and coaching. If you are that myopic that you cannot see the ABJECT FAILURE of Sherman, TT (The Frugal GM), and now the “new” GM; you are either as dense as a post, or are a closet homer using cognitive dissonance or some ridiculously lucky victory(s) to enable your confirmation bias.
Furthermore, if you cannot envision what I have just stated . . . then all of the NFCCG'(s) losses and misappropriated tweener players and 1st round project players are beyond your scope.
To quantify my position regarding my posts, here is one from Empacador basically stating my thoughts regarding why I bitch about the incompetence at 1265 Lombardi.
“Empacador May 3, 2020
It isn’t a lack of appreciation. It’s knowing what could have been as one realizes the end is near. I’d love to be considered one of the “worst kind of fan” if the Packers had been to 10 Superbowls since 1992. I mean the Patriots have been to 9 since what, 2000? The “It’s so HARD, only 1 team wins every year” excuse didn’t really seem to apply to the Patriots did it? Why not the Packers?
I just EXPECT MORE as a fan knowing the level of talent that they have possessed at QB1 for almost 30 fucking years. I guess that you would take so much less . . . and SO EASILY. The question should be why would you want less? With those two QB1’s running the show?
I love being a Packer fan. I watch every fucking game. I Know this team could do so much better with a better President and GM. Go Pack!
Nice post MMSUCKS. I feel the same way and I know I’m not the only one.
It’s not that I can’t see it: I just realize incessantly bitching about it has no effect and won’t change past outcomes. Suffice it to say we see pro football and the Packers place in it through different lenses.
Savage has it correct i believe…
Some fans follow, some fans lead…
Some fans think for themselves, some prefer others do it.
Some fans are vocal, some are meek and mild.
Some fans don’t agree with the business plan. some think it’s being ran as well as it can be.
Some fans want a Super Bowl appearance, some are fine with…”making the playoffs is hard.”
At the end of the day, Packer Nation is a diverse crowd.
Yea Baby!!…Stay Thirsty My Friends!
Go MMSucks Go
Anyone who reads MMSUCKS theory’s, viewpoints and observations, and doesn’t understand them, or questions his fan loyalty should probably just give up, and find somebody else to do their thinking for them…respectively.
Thanks for the kind words you guys! I am humbled. I really do LOVE the Packers! just not the upper management . . .
Unfortunately, A-aron has been left to his own decline in fundamentals. No accountability, or re training. Aaron is way to obsessed with statistics, Namely TD vs INT.
Aaron is a selfish fuck. Next thing you know he’ll be asking for a receiver, or a tight end or something out of line like that.. But i can’t say for sure, i don’t know the man.
I never understood the whole “Rodgers is obsessed with his statistics” argument. Some people might actually appreciate a QB who values ball security. You know, especially after watching Favre “just having fun out there” while tossing 6 interceptions during a playoff game or at other critical junctures during games. How quickly people forget. Not like Favre and Rodgers have stark differences in their playing style or anything. I guess now is the time to blame Rodgers for failing to return to the Superbowl because he’s a self absorbed prick of a primadonna. The Packers going into the future will be way better off without his salary cap eating, roster spot taking dead ass holding them hostage year after year…oh wait.
Matt Lafluer “Did Aaron just audible again?”
ML “What did he say?”
Gute “Trade me to San Francisco.”
I think i’m gonna be sick.
It will get worse after and 8-8 season and 2 Viking losses.
I have been trying to digest this since the draft. My question is, lets say two or three yrs from now #12 is gone and Love is the QB. Will there still be a sellout crowd at Lambeau field? Probably YES, I would bet on that. They will save alot of $$$. It`s a business more than a game, and money talks and bullshit walks. If #12 goes elsewhere I become a fan of that team…
I agree to a point….i think he’s gone in 1 year (at least i hope). When #12 goes elsewhere, i’ll still be a Packer fan (with remaining bitterness)
I’ll be rooting for Rodgers. No, i won’t be buying Rodgers new team jersey if he’s gone, nor will i be buying anything Packers…until further notice.
The reason i hope Rodgers leaves in one year is two fold, he isn’t getting any younger, he’s wasted enough years under the big tent in Green Bay.
In 2021, the Packers can put their new team on the field and lets see what you got Gute. From your moves i’ve seen since you became GM, you don’t have a lot….prove me different.
Freaky triangle of height, weight and speed. Active and strong with NFL size. Has all the tools to set a strong edge. Forceful into initial contact at point of attack. Good contact balance, thanks to sturdy base. Has disruptive qualities when he bends and plays low. Very good pursuit speed from backside and makes tackles down the field. Fires out of a track stance with energy and twitch. Can make conversion of speed-to-power look easy. Uses long-arm bull-rush to collapse the edge into quarterback. Strong enough to overtake tackles in late phase of the rush. Quick laterally and it shows up on twists.
Production as rusher failed to match traits and talent. Rush plan is somewhat basic at this stage of development. Long-arm bull rush is his only real rush tool. Hands lack skill and have yet to be unlocked as rush weapon. Lacks classic hip bend to dip and run the arc. Runs himself around the pocket rather than working back under. Plays fast but with no regulator for control. Lacks instincts and awareness for misdirections and counters. Tends to lose pad level on inside counters. Doesn’t come to balance consistently as open-field tackler.
What does this describe? a cross fit champion but not much of a football player. Thank God we have Gute calling the shots no?
3 years tops. But if Love shows he can play Rodgers has two years and hes gone. The one and done shit is too over the top for me. No way. Rodgers will have to completely go to shit ability wise for me to get rid of him after this season.
Amen to that!!
Bree’s has some skilled players on offense, not to mention possibly the best line in the league…but i digress, what would skill players have to do with a QB’s performance. He also has a coach who isn’t trying to mimic somebody else’s offense, learning as he goes. While Gute drafts to “rebuild his offense”.
This is my favorite of the article…..
“No team, however, can afford to pay premium money to a QB who’s performance has slipped to average or below.”
Really? Rodgers is average, or below league average for starting QB’s? Hmmm, interesting…. I did not know that.
Did you really lump Rodgers and Cam Newton together in the same paragraph? Newton has a career 86.1 passer rating and a 1.68/1 TD/Int ratio. That’s Jay Cutler territory….but ok.
“Thanks to Gutekunst’s daring move, however, Matt LaFleur can be insistent that Rodgers make certain changes to his game – with Love in the wings it won’t be an idle threat.”
So am i to assume that Jordan Love is somehow a threat to unseat Rodgers? Giving LeFleur the leverage to sit Rodgers ass on the bench? That will happen the same day you can convince me Rodgers has descended into a below average QB.
Rodgers, get your head out of your ass……
I don’t know how Rodgers can miss MVS as much as he did. MVS is “usually wide open” (i’ve read). I’d put some blame on MVS, but i didn’t read anything where he was to blame, so i can only assume it’s all Rodger fault. (I’m only as smart as the content i read people.).
This whole article is depicting Rodgers as the sole culprit of all that is wrong with the Packers. No where in it did i read anyone else bore any responsibility. Do we ever, want to write up an article judging all Gute’s moves? We never see that for some reason.
Don’t get me wrong, Rodgers is fair game to be judged. Though…but how you judge him average and below, i couldn’t get drunk enough to understand or agree with.
So the story is Rodgers needs to re-tool his game at age 36, because if he doesn’t, he has a back up QB who’s ready to swoop in and take his job? That’s LeFleur’s newfound leverage (threat) over Rodgers i guess. that’s not just an idle threat :)…Now, all we have to do is wait for Love to win pre-season MVP and were all set. Who knows, maybe MVS will magically turn into the next Julio Jones….too soon?
Rob…you had a far better grasp on this in your initial post draft articles.
Lets try something new, lets try the stone sober realty of truth……
The Packers are going in a different direction. The Rodgers era, is over.
It’s that simple. End of story.
Stay thirsty my friends.
I remember feeling this way in the 70`s and 80`s. We used to say, Why has are first round draft pick left to play elsewhere in just four years… I`ve been watching this clown show for fare to long. Everybody involved from players to the brass is making boat loads of money, and here we are funding it all. It is what it is. There not trying to win at all cost.
Sadly we might have witnessed the wasting of maybe the greatest arm of all time. P.S. The ball flew out of Namath`s hand also.
Love poses zero threat to unseat Rodgers, unless LeGute wants to roll the dice and move on. There is NO COMPETITION. In the 97′ draft the 49ers took a QB in the first round, Jim Druckenmiller, at #26. Do you think Steve Young was worried about losing a QB competition? Not at all.
Everyone wants to compare the Packers picking Love to when they picked Rodgers in 2005 because Favre was the same age as Rodgers is now. Therefore, Love is supposed to be the next Rodgers. Yet, no one talks about Love being the next Druckenmiller.
I know the Packers want to snag their future QB but as we all know the timing and money situation make zero sense. Meanwhile, they haven’t selected a WR in the first three rounds for the past SIX years. Blame Rodgers when need be, but the Packers don’t even know who their #2 receiver is. Green Bay is banking on an UDFA who was pulled off of the practice squad to be that guy. Lazard had a few decent games. Will he pull a Jarret Boykin and disappear or continue to have success?
The Packers defense got obliterated by a run team twice last year. So, as a result the Packers want to convert their offense to a running offense. You would think the solution would be to fix your run defense, right? Nope, just ignore that. We’ll make up for it by outscoring the other team with a fullback.
Win Now Mode! In Four Years! Maybe!
Just a bullshit article without merit. Rodgers is on contract for big cash the next three years and he can see the night from day. Something most Fans remain clueless.
At 36 Rodgers, like Favre, is gonna do whatever he wants. The only way Rodgers keeps half azz trying is if the Packers win via the running game and defense, kind of like what happened last year. I expect Rodgers to continue to play the same way he has for the last few years. Aaron Rodgers 2011 is long gone, as much of a memory as Bart Start. And if the Packers aren’t winning, we’ll see sideline fireworks every week.
I don’t know where my post went, so forgive me if I post twice. Rodgers, like almost all late career QBs including Favre, will do what they want to do. There is no coaching possible. Part of his decline is because of his broken collarbone. The Rodgers of 2011 is as much of a memory as Bart Starr. Rodgers is about to go Antonio Brown on the Packers, the only way he doesn’t is if the Packers win by running and defense and the fact that Rodgers doesn’t turn over the ball. A bad season and the Rodgers/LaFluer fued will be on ESPN every Monday, all day long.
“At 36 Rodgers, like Favre, is gonna do whatever he wants.”
Pssttt Deep…..In Green Bay, with a new GM and a new Coach…The PACKERS are going to do whatever they want. And THEY DID.
Big picture perspective.
Let’s put Rodger’s age in perspective. Marino, Kelly, Starr, Montana, Young, and Fouts all were retired by 36 years old as are most QBs. Brady is not the norm. Manning and Elway were successful after 36, but they didn’t do it with a strong passing game. And Rodgers is far more beat up than Elway, Manning or Brady.
Not manning. He had a bunch of neck surgeries. His family was generally concerned with him lacing up.
Good point Deep, but lets keep in mind those QB’s you mentioned, weren’t afforded the protection they are today.
Brady is not the norm, but there has been 15 QB’s who have played into their 40’s
Yeah, good point about Manning, I forgot about that.
“Now he has a new head coach, who is in a slow process of installing a new offense.” Robster
“…….in a slow process……”
So we get a new GM 2 years ago, we get a new head coach, and now….we are in the slow process of installing a new offense. I’ll add, drafting for the new offense.
Well….how much time does Rodgers have? The Packers aren’t interested in Rodgers anymore. In front of the camera’s they are. In the meeting room it’s all about building “tomorrow’s team”. Lets get our head out of the sand.
So…when i say they are giving up and going in a different direction than Rodgers, does that not make any sense?
Cannot agree more….feels like this organization is headed back to the 70s and 80s. I will say it again…..No critical thinkers in the front office to produce a super bowl team. Sure they can win, but not superbowls. Barely got there as a wild card team in 2010 thanks to Rodgers. Front office continuous with stupid idiotic decisions and no one held accountable until the entire state of Wisconsin is screaming for change. Then finally Murphy acts! Remember his excuse “complacency”. Give me a break…..this draft was inexcuseable. And last years 12th pick overall was just as ridiculous. More wasted first round draft picks. What an absolute sad waste of a talent in Aaron Rogers. Would have had 3 SB’s with any other quality team. Packers will not be in another Superbowl with Murphy leading the show.
When I read so much about how Rodgers has been wasted, I always think of The Saints too. Nobody seems to talk like the Saints have wasted Brees, but they have. Yeah they got hosed on a PI no call but it never should have come to that. Then they lost on the miracle, that should not be called a miracle, it should be called the Saints stupidity. They have also had questionable draft picks, with a few good ones mixed in. Traded away picks to win NOW and still haven’t. Their coach was suspended for a year and everyone forgets. It’s not a pass but Green Bay is not the only team that F’s things up.
Ferris…i’ve thought the same way for years (posted such occasionally). Similar parallels.
Bree’s also should have won multiple Super Bowls, but all told, they could never build a defense strong enough.
Personally…i think Sean Payton is an excellent head coach, but i think Mickey Loomis dropped the ball.
They did win the SB in 2009 season. they had the #1 offense (31.9 PPG). They had the 25th ranked defense BUT, they didn’t bleed too bad, giving up a semi respectable (21.3 PPG)
You have to wonder how Drew’s career would have turned out had the Chargers not wanted to move on so they could get Rivers. True the odds were against him being damaged and all with the shoulder, but it really makes me wonder how successful he would have been had he stayed with the Chargers.
I agree…Sometimes when coaches and players get together, they just click. But there is also the other intangibles, management, personnel, coaches, locker room vibe, general atmosphere around the team. When a player goes from one team to another, nothing is exactly the same.
Look at Ryan Tannehill. With Miami for 6 years, he has a passer rating of 87.5. He goes to Tenn. and he has a rating of 117.5 Maybe Tannehill falls on his face from now on, idk. But with Miami, he never sniffed a passer rating of 100, let alone 117.5.
A team’s success is never the result of one (or 2) players, that’s been true from the Packer 60’s Glory Days, Dallas SB years, the 49 SB years, the Patriots. A QB can carry a team, but he can’t win Championships alone. Championships are won by organizations.
Which is why i believe the front office dysfunction of the Packers is the main reason they didn’t get to a SB after 2010. Some people don’t seem to understand that the President of the Packers oversee’s football operations (including the President of the Packers) whether he likes it or not, it’s his job. Mark Murphy turning a blind eye to the regression of football operations was in effect “Derelict of Duty”. He himself acknowledged that in 2018 when he said he “discovered” a lack of communication. He’s been working with these people for the last 13 years and he didn’t know what was going on?
That’s without getting into a lack of structure, teamwork, accountability, etc.
For the 50th time….Championship teams are built from the top down.
We are now witnessing the closing chapter of a wasted decade of Aaron Rodgers. Some Packer fans understand that, some fans just don’t get it.