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The Bigger They Are, the Harder They Fall

Sunday’s debacle has seemingly been analyzed to death, though I think there’s still a point or two that haven’t received proper emphasis. Everybody is saying that the Packers, across the board, weren’t ready to play against the Saints. There is certainly some truth in that, but in my mind the game came down to one terrible performance. I didn’t hesitate to single out Kevin King in the Packers’ postseason loss to the Buccaneers, so I’m not going to change now: Aaron Rodgers played a stinker of a game, and it dragged down the rest of the team in which he’s the acknowledged leader.

It’s not easy to record a passer rating of under 50, yet Aaron managed to compile a 36.8 rating on Sunday. It was far and away the worst Game 1 performance among all qualifying quarterbacks. Even the rookies fared much better: the Pats’ Mac Jones had a rating of 102.5, the Jets’ Zach Wilson was at 82.9, and the Jags’ Trevor Lawrence came in at 70.1 – almost double that of Rodgers. Twenty-one QBs were rated at 90 or better.

Though the Saints played inspired football, they were ripe for the picking on Sunday. A number of their key players were injured. The crowd at Jacksonville was rooting heavily for Green Bay. The Saints were launching a rebuild season: Instead of all-time great Drew Brees at quarterback, they started a reclamation project in Jameis Winston, who had barely got on the field with New Orleans in 2020.

Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) covers his ears in the huddle during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers is no stranger when it comes to turning in abysmal performances. In his 17 years, I believe he’s turned in ratings around 50 or below maybe a half dozen times. Though he’s has had a number of stirring comeback wins over the years, we’ve many times seen Rodgers fall apart in the course of a game that wasn’t going well – and we watched this happen again last Sunday.

We’ve heard a lot of talk about the Saints’ cover-2 defense, in which the safeties play well back and dare the opponent to run the ball. Against such strategies, which are becoming fairly common, you’d at least expect a quarterback to complete a high percentage of short passes. Instead, Aaron went 15 for 28, a completion percentage of just 53.6, again the worst showing of Week 1. Seventeen QBs had completion percentages of 66% or better last weekend.

Aaron’s average yardage per pass thrown was also an anemic 4.8 yards, second last to Matt Ryan’s 4.7. Pro Football Focus gave Rodgers an atrocious overall grade of 43.3.

There’s no need to get into any deep psychoanalysis of Mr. Rodgers. I’m sure many fans have noticed the famous Rodgers scowl. When things start to go wrong for Aaron, he increasingly tends to storm around the field and on the sidelines, venting his displeasure and frustration. The TV cameras of course love to capture these moments of emotional turmoil.

Aaron has a career-long problem with keeping his composure and focus when things go awry. When a team’s leader loses emotional control and displays his disgust and frustration, it should be no surprise that his teammates also suffer a loss of focus and confidence.

Spurred on by the awareness that Rodgers was in a funk, New Orleans played well, though not exceptionally. They would not have scored 38 points without being gifted with three turnovers. Jameis Winston had a big day in terms of touchdown throws (which gave him a great passer rating of 130.8), but he was otherwise pedestrian: 14 of 20 for 148 yards. Alvin Kamara was his usual self, though the Packers’ defense still kept him to 83 yards in 20 rushing attempts (4.2 yard average), and a long run of 14 yards.

Offensively, Rodgers agreed that the Pack’s pass blocking was not the problem. He had essentially the same set of receivers – though with another year of experience – as he had at the start of last season. Though much of the media set up a smokescreen by saying that the Packers were terrible in all phases of the game, it draws attention away from the obvious: you’re going to get trounced whenever your QB has a passer ratings of under 40.

Future Prospects

Okay, Game 1 of this all-in year for the Packers is behind us. On Monday night, Green Bay confronts the Detroit Lions at Lambeau, another team on the rebuild. The Lions are now led by Jared Goff, the former LA Rams QB and top draft selection in 2016. In an overtime loss in Game 1 to the 49ers, Goff threw a Pick-6 in the second quarter, but then led a furious second-half comeback. The resulting loss left all four NFC North teams with a winless record. Green Bay should be a strong favorite.

Back on June 13, I issued this ominous warning:

“As of June 8, when Rodgers failed to show up for mandatory team training, he has definitely already done real damage to the team’s chances in the upcoming season. His not being around to adequately train with his offensive teammates is inexcusable. . .Because Aaron Rodgers’ holdout is doing real and irreparable damage to the Green Bay Packers – right now – in terms of lost practice opportunities with young or inexperienced teammates. He’s also damaging the team in other ways, such as creating distractions, dividing the fan base, and hindering planning. . .”

I believe the genesis of last Sunday’s loss goes back to the quarterback’s antics and attitude during the off season. Fans should not be too concerned over whether the team will rebound, but rather: will Aaron Rodgers rebound?

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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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16 Comments

  1. rebelgb September 18, 2021

    Finally an honest and fair assessment of our starting QB last Sunday.

    Reply
    1. PF4L September 18, 2021

      See Tommi….for any critique regarding Rodgers, or any inquiring information on Mark Murphy, back when he was a NFLPA attorney.
      .
      Tommi is your expert.

      Reply
  2. Tom M September 18, 2021

    Regardless of what happened in the first half. We score a TD on the opening drive in the 3rd quarter and we’re right back in it. Once he threw that INT, it was all over. Aaron Rodgers just isn’t the QB you want when your in a dog fight. He wilts. He’s great if he can get out to a big lead and coast but that rarely happens in the NFL. And he’s always been this way.

    Reply
  3. Ferris September 18, 2021

    There goes Tom…the Milli Vanilli tape is stuck. Same message over and over.

    Reply
    1. Tom M September 18, 2021

      Ferris, you may not like what I have to say. But you’re not telling me why I’m wrong either. See what I did there? Just for you babe….

      Reply
      1. PF4L September 19, 2021

        Well Tommi…maybe he never tells you why you are wrong, because he knows you would never admit you were wrong.
        Because he knows you’re a cunt.
        For example: If he told you, you were wrong about Mark Murphy being a NFLPA attorney…what would you do Princess?
        1) Ignore him.
        2) Be silent
        3) Be silent, ignore him while acting like a cunt?
        .
        Plus, he probably doesn’t want to engage in dialogue with you and listen to more bullshit than you already spew in here
        .
        See what i did there….reality
        .
        Just for you…the psychotic troll.

        Reply
  4. PF4L September 18, 2021

    We should maybe trade Rodgers while he’s still worth something on the trade market.
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    We could always use an extra towel boy, maybe even a conditional 7th round pick.
    .
    As Max Kellerman once noted…sometimes older players just fall off the cliff.
    *******************
    What’s with all these stats anyway Rob.
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    You got guts Rob.
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    Tommi don’t go for all that fancy stat talk.
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    You’ve been warned.
    ******************
    But ask him about when he said Mark Murphy was a NFLPA attorney.
    .
    He loves telling fiction.
    .

    Reply
    1. Tom M September 18, 2021

      Oh, we’re going to trade Rodgers. That’s a given. The only question is when. But probably after we cut Z Smith sometime in February or March. You’ve got two choices PF4L. You can follow your sweetheart to the ends of the earth. Which will probably be Denver. Or you can start burrowing your nose up Jordan Love’s ass right now. Proclaiming “I just knew he was a franchise QB all along!” And you’ll have some bullshit, make believe, “stats” to try any backpedal your way out of all the horse shit you’ve spewn over the last two years. Neither option for you is very appealing, is it?

      Reply
  5. PF4L September 19, 2021

    Tommi…you constantly (try) to insult me for using stats.
    .
    Look at all those stats in this article.
    Does Rob get a pass?
    .
    Or isn’t it [REALLY] about stats at all?….maybe it’s just more about you trolling, harassing, and obsessing in here to get attention.
    .
    GD man….you got problems.
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    I hope how you conduct yourself in here somehow fills the void in your life you seek.
    .
    Godspeed…..I hope you get better.

    Reply
    1. Tom M September 19, 2021

      Sweetheart, you insult yourself every time you post. You don’t need me. I come here for the belly laughs. You ladies take yourself so seriously and your all pretty much full of shit. So ladies, keep telling yourself how smart you are and how Aaron Rodgers is the GOAT even though he hasn’t won a SB in over a decade. Keep living on fantasy island and I’ll keep bringing you back to reality. I’m fully aware being right doesn’t make you popular around here. But I refuse to buy into your delusions.

      Reply
      1. PF4L September 19, 2021

        Tommi…you constantly (try) to insult me for using stats.
        .
        Look at all those stats in this article.
        Does Rob get a pass?
        .
        Or isn’t it [REALLY] about stats at all?….maybe it’s just more about you trolling, harassing, and obsessing in here to get attention.
        .
        GD man….you got problems.
        .
        I hope how you conduct yourself in here somehow fills the void in your life you seek.
        .
        Godspeed…..I hope you get better.

        Reply
  6. Cheese September 19, 2021

    And the Rodgers haters are puffing out their chests and licking their chops. Saying the entire team played badly, including Rodgers, wasn’t good enough. It was ALL Aarons fault. Lol.
    .
    It was Rodgers who made Kevin King do some Kevin King shit and give up a 55 yard touchdown. It was Rodgers that called roughing the passer on a clean hit, which negated an interception. It was Rodgers who tripped MVS and made him fall over on 3rd down.
    .
    Yes, this was one of Rodgers’ worst games of his career, if not his worst. Big deal. If this was how he performed every week, then most definitely move on. But it’s not.
    .
    You know who else lost to the Saints 38-3? Tom M.’s lord and savior, Tom Brady. Brady threw for 0 TD’s, 3 interceptions, had a QBR of 40.4, and scored ZERO points himself. OMG, was this because of Brady’s offseason antics? Did he do irreparable damage to the team? Was he creating distractions and dividing the fan base with his TB12 brand? Did online commenters say “Tom Brady needs to start playing like Tom Brady!” If they did it didn’t last for long, because a few weeks later people were back to slobbin on his knob and considering him the God of football. Rodgers on the other hand, might as well retire because his NFL career is clearly over.

    Reply
    1. Tom M September 19, 2021

      Fear not Cheese. I fully expect Michael Jordan, I mean Aaron Rodgers, to beat the Lions Monday night. And we’ll win the division only to lose on the road in the playoffs. It’s unlikely we end up with the top seed but winning regular season games has never been the issue for your girlfriend. It’s the playoffs, where the lights are the brightest, is when your sweetheart struggles. Although we did get a preview last week of things to come.

      Reply
  7. Mick September 19, 2021

    Good article Rob! The next few weeks are going to tell a lot about how this team matures, or falls by the wayside. We’ve heard from all the pundits claiming Rodgers looks tired, he seems aloof, the O-line is young and inexperienced, J. Barrys’ D is a sieve, LaFleur is lacking game adjustment skills, he’s too friendly with the players, STs’ are a disaster; and on and on. Maybe some, or a lot of what is being said, is true. What really is concerning is the fact that the Pack got steamrolled IN EVERY PHASE of that game against the Saints. They were out-played, out-coached, and out-hustled. Even though the team got off to a fast start last year after not playing starters in the pre-season, that doesn’t mean it will happen every year. I get it that coach doesn’t want injuries to starters in pre-season but, the starters on both defense and offense need to see real game competition against other live action——- not the soft contact against your own teammates. And it’s necessary before week 1 of the regular season. Let’s all hope that week 1 was an aberration. Another thing that is concerning is what is the atmosphere in the locker room? This is where the leaders on the team need to calm the waters!

    Reply
    1. Dean September 20, 2021

      Last preseason was cancelled and all the teams were on equal footing. This some teams could choose to rest their starters or not.

      Reply
  8. rebelgb September 19, 2021

    And so much for the Saints, they got steamrolled today. Makes you wonder what the fuck that was by the Packers last week?? Sam Donald seemed to be just fine against that “vaulted” NO defense that the Pack couldnt seem to handle……

    Reply

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