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Run, Aaron, Run

In late September I went on record (here) as advocating that QB Rodgers look to run more when opportunities present themselves. We’ve now seen enough to know the Packers are not dominating the opposition this season. The team needs to employ every tactic and scheme available if it is to keep scratching out wins – especially as we anxiously await the return from injuries of many key players.

I’ve now got some additional evidence of how we’ve been squandering a key weapon that the team previously used effectively for well over a decade: Aaron Rodgers’ still-present running ability.

Let’s look at several of the league’s top-rated QBs, and winningest teams, to see whether they freely encourage or allow their quarterbacks to take off running to gain precious offensive yardage. Here’s a list of QBs and their current rushing yardage (most to least, with sack yardage subtracted) and yards per carry, after five games: Lamar Jackson 341 (6.1); Josh Allen 188 (5.4 ypc); Patrick Mahomes 153 (6.7 ypc); Kyler Murray 110 (3/7 ypc); Dak Prescott 60 (3.2 ypc); Tom Brady 36 (4.0 ypc); Derek Carr 29 (1.8 ypc); Matt Stafford 14 (0.9 ypc); and Aaron Rodgers 8 (1.1 ypc).

By the way, Ben Roethlisberger has more rushing yards (9) to date than does our MVP quarterback. Also by the way, if Jackson maintains his pace over 17 games, he’ll have rushed for 1,159 yards.

While age is definitely a factor, most runs by quarterbacks don’t require great speed or maneuverability – though neither hurts. Also, running QBs usually avoid injuries by sliding to a stop rather than being tackled.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles out of the pocket as Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Cameron Sample (96) gives chase in the first quarter of a Week 5 NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

I’d be remiss if I were not to mention the most prolific running QB of the last decade or so. Russell Wilson came into the league lightly regarded in 2012. The Seahawks took a chance on the 5’11” QB when they spent their third round draft pick on him. Since then, Seattle has gone something like 98-48, has been to the Super Bowl twice, and they won it all after the 2013 season.

Russ has been a prolific runner his entire career. His career rushing yardage currently stands at 4,574. His peak year was in 2014, when he rushed 118 times for 849 yards and six TDs. He also had other seasons of 489 or more yards five times, including 83 jaunts for 513 yards last season. However, even before his recent finger injury, which will put him out for six games or so, Wilson’s effectiveness has lessened in the team’s first five games, as he’s had 17 carries, but for only 68 yards.

As a reminder, if you go back to Aaron Rodgers’ first year as a starter in 208, you’ll see that over the next 12 years Aaron annually rushed for 100 to 199 yards twice (the broken collarbone seasons),, from 200 to 299 yards five times and for 300 or more yards four times. He peaked out at 369 yards in 2016, but he also gained 356 yards (and scored 4 TDs) in 64 carries in the Super Bowl season of 2010 – and in that postseason he added 14 carries for 54 yards and two TDs.

C’mon Matt, Nathaniel, and Aaron: let’s not forgo such a valuable tool as having the QB pick up yards on the ground when such situations present themselves. You’re not really “all in” if you don’t utilize such a powerful tool. Let, or make, Aaron run, and especially so when games are on the line.

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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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27 Comments

  1. Deepsky October 12, 2021

    Rodgers tore his ACL in high school, had knee surgery around 2015, and played with a broken bone in his leg for 2018. He clearly isn’t as fast as he once was.

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 12, 2021

      Yep Deep, right you are….Don’t forget, he broke 2 collarbones trying to scramble and make something happen, once left, once right.
      .
      I also don’t believe that MLF has designed this offense for Rodgers to be running around all over the place.
      But this season, he doesn’t have any choice a lot of the time.
      .
      It’s been spoken of time and time again…the legs are the first thing to go.
      Rodgers gave us a lot of holy shit moments scrambling out and pulling off unbelievable plays, and still does occasionally.
      Rodgers turns 38 in 7 weeks or so.
      I don’t know anyone who’s as fast at 38 than he was at 28.
      .
      Ideally you want Rodgers sitting in the pocket throwing darts to open receivers.
      But the reality is, against some teams the Packers have trouble getting separation.
      Plus, you have to be able to stay in the pocket.
      .
      Football games are won and lost at the…..well, you know.

      Reply
  2. NobodysBurfect October 13, 2021

    Having him opportunistically slide into an easy first down is one thing, and obviously his scrambling ability is part of what makes him who he is. But he doesn’t need to be Michael Vick or Russell Wilson at this point in his career. Let him be a sniper from the pocket and keep him safe.

    Reply
  3. Tom M October 13, 2021

    Rob, I respectfully disagree. The last thing you want is your soon to be 38 yr old QB running with the football. Especially one with a history of concussions, broken collarbone, broken foot, ACL, and the list goes on. Unless of course, you want to facilitate the transition to Jordan Love. Most of the QB’s you mention are a decade younger that Rodgers. What makes Russell Wilson unique is he’s built more like a RB than a QB. While it remains to be seen if the diminutive Kyle Murray can hold up over the course of his career running with the football. Trey Lance, also a running QB, is out with a knee injury after his first start in SF. Aaron Rodgers runs as much as he wants. He doesn’t need more plays from his OC to do so. He’d just ignore them anyway. And Rodgers has no desire to run the football. What Rodgers needs to do is throw the ball to ALL his receivers. Especially his TE. Good luck with that….

    Reply
  4. Howard October 13, 2021

    If there are no open receivers and the pocket is collapsing the next key for Rodgers to run, is (1) can he see the back of the coverage defender’s helmets on one side or the middle of the field. (2) Are the back of the defenders helmets at a depth that Rodgers can pickup a first down, long yardage, or a TD? If Rodgers can make any of those last three happen after the first three keys occur then Rodgers runs. If not then Rodgers throws the ball away or takes a sack. Rodgers is more than likely not going to run if the defender’s face masks are facing him and the defenders are at or within the yardage needed to gain. Rodgers understands his limitations. For two of several examples look at the Pittsburg TD. Rodgers could see the back of the defender’s helmet, at the proper depth on that side of the field and he took off. Right or wrong look at the TB defender at the goal line in the NFCCG facing Rodgers. Linebackers and corners in zone defense rather than man will for the most part stop Rodgers from running.
    .
    Unless a pass play and the offensive line breaks down Rodgers is not going to run the ball. The one exception may be if the Packers are in short yardage or goal line and the defensive edge players are crashing down on running plays then Rodgers may keep the ball and go around the edge for an important first down or TD. A bootleg run by Rodgers may only occur once or twice a year and only in critical situations and games at critical times.

    Reply
    1. Mick October 13, 2021

      Good stuff Howard! We are not witnessing a 28 – 30 year old Arod, nor should we expect it. As the athleticism wanes a/c age, the smarts need to take over. #12 does a good job of rolling out right or left when needed to move the pocket, and that is even receiving more pressure because of our injuries to the OL and the lack of the deep threat,,,,,(MVS). PF4L mentioned the legs are the 1st thing to go. I agree, but also the accuracy on the deep ball is a close 2nd. We are starting to see that with Rodgers. We all agree that #12 needs to spread the ball around more, and they need to be more committed to the run game. With out MVSs’ speed, defenses are condensing the field and making life tough in the middle of the field. With all the Packer injuries, we should feel fortunate that the team is 4 and 1. The schedule doesn’t get any easier in the next month or so, let’s hope for better luck in the injury department.

      Reply
      1. PF4L October 13, 2021

        Maybe the other receivers need to get separation quicker
        We constantly see receivers open against us.
        Why can’t we be more consistent getting open?
        Some games, almost every catch seems to be a contested battle.
        Either they need to get separation on their own, or they need to scheme them open.
        .
        The options get limited the less time you have to get the ball out.
        .
        This offense clearly isn’t clicking like last season.
        So it begs the question….why?
        I have a couple thoughts, but i enjoy reading others opinions.
        .
        This team isn’t about Rodgers running….whatsoever.
        If your dependent on that at all to eke out wins….you’ve already lost

        Reply
        1. rebelgb October 14, 2021

          “Maybe the other receivers need to get separation quicker
          We constantly see receivers open against us.
          Why can’t we be more consistent getting open?
          Some games, almost every catch seems to be a contested battle.”- PF4L

          Man weve been asking this question for it seems like 5 or 6 years now……

          Reply
          1. PF4L October 14, 2021

            Agreed….
            .
            In 2016 and the first 5 games of 2017, i’m not so sure those questions were being raised.
            But for the majority of the 17′ season, the 2018 season, and years thereafter…. what happened?
            .
            Here is what i do know, here is what changed….and didn’t change.
            1) Brett Hundley took over. No need to waste time describing that situation.
            .
            2) 2018 saw Jordy Nelson released, instead of Randall Cobb, whose production was undoubtedly
            declining each season after he got his money before the 2015 season.
            Most thought the Packers kept Cobb was because he was younger.
            I pointed out (at the time)….why does it even matter, the Packers won’t keep Cobb around the following season, they weren’t going to re-sign him with declining production levels.
            Bottom line….Nelson and his 22 TD’s in the last 23 games with Rodgers, was told to go home, his services were no longer needed.
            .
            3) As stated…Cobbs production clearly regressed annually.
            .
            4) When Jordy was released, Gute quickly announced the signing of Jimmy Graham, making him the highest paid tight end in the league. With the belief this was the answer to Jordy leaving, even though Graham was almost as old as Jordy and didn’t have very much production since his Saints days….years before.
            It was a dumb fucking move as even Pro Gute people will admit.
            .
            5) Mike McCarthy’s stale offense. Take your #1 receiver away, and run the same old shit all other teams know your going to run, minus your TD machine. Miss the playoffs.
            .
            6) Spend 182 million in one short 2019 off season, mostly on the defense, sans Billy T.
            .
            7) Neglect the offensive side of the ball in the draft with most high picks again going to the defense or being used for the “post Aaron Rodgers team build”
            Basically….planning and drafting for AFTER….they send Rodgers on his way.
            .
            FAST FOWARD: A new coach, means new life.
            2019 was a transition period going from McCarthy to MLF.
            .
            2020…Saw a new offensive game plan install. Something teams haven’t seen from the Packers, so obviously it put them back on their heels.
            Result…A-Rod 2020 NFL MVP
            .
            2021….Slow start, massive O line issues….
            .
            2018- 2021….STILL no clear #2 receiver.
            Because….it’s largely been ignored…
            .
            Some people think because Gute kicked money down the road to keep most of the 2020 team together, that was his way of going “all in”
            LOL…that’s the poor mans way of going “all in”
            .
            TRUTH: Gute had no plans of going all in for Rodgers while he was here.
            That isn’t my opinion…that’s fact, based off his actions.

            Reply
  5. Sal October 14, 2021

    We’ve had to flush entire seasons because of injuries Rodgers sustained while running too much. I couldn’t disagree more with this take.

    Reply
  6. Tom M October 15, 2021

    Receivers are getting open. That’s a false narrative. MVS was constantly getting open deep and Rodgers couldn’t come within 5 yards of making deep throws to him. This is the same offense as last year with the same skilled players. At least it’s supposed to be. And Tonyan and Lazard did just fine. But when over half your throws go to Adams and Cobb then there’s not much left for anyone else. Jordy was not cut to sign Graham. We had no one to play TE. No one. Now, if you want to make an argument that we should have retained Jared Cook, I’ll buy some of that. We therefore could have avoided Bennett and Graham. But Jordy had nothing to do with it. Of course the great myth is that Jordy Nelson had years and years of pro bowl seasons left in him. Sure he did. He signed a two year contract with the Raiders and they cut him after one season. And no one picked him up. Even after he expressed a desire to play for his home state Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid said no thanks. Another false narrative is Mike McCarthy’s offense was old and stale. Anyone seen the Cowboys play this year? They’re averaging 35 points a game and winning by double digits. They’re explosive on offense and can score multiple ways. While Matt LaFleur’s offense looks very much like Mike McCarthy’s offense the last couple of years in Green Bay. Where we’re struggling to score TD’s in the red zone. So what’s the constant here? Aaron, it’s my way or the highway, Rodgers. He runs his own offense and he doesn’t give a rats ass what his HC, who ever it is, says. He knows this is his last year playing for the Packers and he’s more interested in getting his buddy Adams his last big contract and this is his big FU to management. The last thing he wants is to win a SB before he goes. He wants to save those for his new team. Pittsburgh. Good luck with that. So go ahead and pretend no one is getting open. Jordy could still play. And McCarthy’s offense was stale as we head for yet another post season playoff loss. Have your excuses ready….

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 15, 2021

      Are you really that fucking stupid?
      .
      I’m not going item by item with you because it would be a waste of time..
      .
      I could explain it to you, but i can’t make you smart enough to understand it.
      .

      Reply
    2. Ferris October 16, 2021

      Maybe you should watch a Cowboy game. He is not calling plays. I don’t think McCarthy is even in the room when they game plan offense. It is all Kellen Moore. McCarthy would just say run the FB on 3rd and 1 it works every time.

      Reply
      1. PF4L October 16, 2021

        Don’t even bother…lol…ignorance is bliss over in viking land.
        .
        Tommi’s proving for the upteenth time, just how clueless he really is.
        .
        Any “informed, educated” NFL fan knows about the situation between Jones, Moore and Fat Mike.
        .
        Fuck..i knew this shit when McCarthy was hired a year and a 1/2 ago, articles were written about it and Jerry Jones hand in dictating that whole situation when Fat Mike was hired.
        .
        The mistake Jerry Jones made was allowing McCarthy to bring in Mike Nolan. That was about as smart a move as signing Jimmy Graham.
        .
        Lets wait for Tommi to look up Nolan to see who he is.
        ****************************************
        What’s next Tommie?…you gonna tell us about players “saving SB wins”?

        Reply
  7. PF4L October 15, 2021

    “Another false narrative is Mike McCarthy’s offense was old and stale.” – Princess
    .
    NO…it was new, innovative, and exciting!!!
    .
    You stupid fuck.

    Reply
  8. PF4L October 15, 2021

    “Jordy was not cut to sign Graham. We had no one to play TE. No one. ” – Princess
    .
    So if they didn’t cut Jordy and his 10 million, they would have signed Graham to his 10 million a year….anyway?
    Nothing gets by you does it?
    .
    So who was signed or drafted to replace Jordy?
    If you say MVS, just do the world and your family a favor and kill yourself now.
    .
    Signing Jimmy Graham was about as stupid as signing Martellus Bennett.
    How stupid was it?
    It was so stupid, that it sounds like something you would have done.
    .
    Good luck with your team on Sunday against the Panthers, hopefully they’ll have an easier time than they did eking out a win against the winless Lions.
    .
    SKOL

    Reply
  9. PF4L October 15, 2021

    What is this….A game of who can say the dumbest things on the internet?
    You win Princess…hands down.
    .
    “The last thing he wants is to win a SB before he goes. He wants to save those for his new team.”- Princess
    .
    Rodgers wants to “save” Super Bowl wins…….is that right Tommi?…lmfao
    Is that even a thing Princess?…lol
    Princess…how many SB wins has Rodgers saved over his career…2? maybe 3 or 4?…lmfao
    .
    Maybe Brady should have saved last years Super Bowl win for this year?…lmfao
    .
    Did Patrick Mahomes not win the SB last year….because he wanted to “save” it for this year?
    .
    Did Russel Wilson throw a losing interception with 20 seconds left at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, because he wanted to SAVE IT Tommi?….lol
    .
    Do you even realize, or have any understanding of how stupid you sound?
    .
    Holy shit
    .
    I never thought….anybody could reach this depth of stupidity….congratulations Tommi

    Reply
  10. PF4L October 15, 2021

    ” He signed a two year contract with the Raiders and they cut him after one season” – Princess
    .
    Sounds like good proof to me…..Tommi.
    .
    Because the Raiders are the Gold Standard of Success in the NFL of making the right decisions for their football Franchise…..ain’t that right Tommi?

    Reply
  11. Tom M October 16, 2021

    Oh, your not going item by item, then spend your next 4 posts doing exactly that. So, we run Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. Matt LaFleur has no input then? Cuz that’s the way it’s done in Dallas. Right ladies? We couldn’t beat Dallas right now. We were lucky to beat Cincinnati. Even though PF4L said there was no doubt. The Packers and the Raiders aren’t the “gold standard” of NFL franchises because they cut Jordy? Ok then, what kept the remaining NFL teams from getting into a bidding war for Jordy Nelson who had multiple productive years left? This according to PF4L, the astute talent evaluator, who told us Kurt Benkert was an NFL QB. PF4L who also told us a 30 yr old OLB Z Smith with his recent back surgery has trade value. Sure. Dez Bryant and Antonio Brown both got cut and both signed elsewhere. And they were head cases. Not Jordy, who was actually a good guy. But a good guy with not much left. Now Ferris and PF4L are trying to peddle this bullshit that no one is getting open but Adams and Cobb thereby forcing our hero to make all his throws to his two best buddies in the whole wide world! What a coincidence! And one just happens to be in a contract year wanting 27 million per season. You don’t get that kind of coin with a mere 5 to 7 targets a game. You’ve got to be targeted 15 to 20 times a game to get that kind of scratch. And fuck the game plan! Not to worry Davante, Aaron Rodgers has got your back. Fuck the SB and fuck the Packers. Neither “Micheal Jordan” or “Scotty Pippen” are back next year and are far more interested in auditioning for their future suitors and padding their stats than winning a championship. Why Aaron Rodgers shamelessly whored himself to Mike Tomlin not two weeks ago. Basically saying come get me Pittsburgh. Brian Gutekunst should have traded Rodgers in the offseason. We’ve been down this road so many times. We know how the story ends. But PF4L and Ferris, you ladies put on your prettiest cheerleader outfits with your green and gold pom poms and tell us there’s no doubt we’ll beat Chicago this week with a rookie QB and no RB and no RT.

    Reply
  12. PF4L October 16, 2021

    I changed my mind, is that ok?…go fuck your mother.

    Reply
  13. PF4L October 16, 2021

    “Ok then, what kept the remaining NFL teams from getting into a bidding war for Jordy Nelson who had multiple productive years left?” – Clueless Tommi

    Mr. Clueless…..Nelson had productive years left with Rodgers when Jordy was shown the door, probably 3 or 4.
    The reason?…..When did Rodgers and Nelson have a drop off in production playing together?
    THEY NEVER DID……do you still wonder why people think you’re clueless.
    .
    Do you bother gaining knowledge….at all?
    Are you ignorant to the facts of most subjects you bring up?
    (That was rhetorical, we know the answer stupid fuck.)
    .
    Jordy announced his retirement stating he didn’t want to move his family around anymore, and he would have only stayed to play for the Packers.
    .
    There you have it Tommi…now you have more knowledge than you had before you read my post. (As per usual).
    .
    You’re welcome.

    Reply
  14. PF4L October 16, 2021

    “The Packers and the Raiders aren’t the “gold standard” of NFL franchises because they cut Jordy?” – viking fan
    .
    Did i say that? Of course i didn’t say that. Everyone here knows i didn’t say that. How stupid do you think the readers here are?
    You think they are as dumb as you are?….i don’t think so Princess
    .
    But for you to believe you are actually right about anything, you have to distort and change the narrative (lie).
    .
    So why would you imply i said that?…Hmmm…Let me think….because you’re a cunt?

    Reply
  15. Tom M October 16, 2021

    My, aren’t we especially salty today! So how many targets will Davante have tomorrow? 15? 20? Aaron Rodgers is on target for 10 INT’s. When’s the last time that’s happened Mr Stat? Everyone at Soldier Field tomorrow will know where Rodgers is going with the ball. No need for a game plan. Just a couple of buddies playing pitch and catch. Will Chicago’s defense make Rodgers pay? If we only had Kellen Moore as our OC. He’s the only one who could get Aaron to throw to Tonyan and Lazard. Ok, maybe not. Assuming Jaire Alexander doesn’t return this year and Aaron Rodgers continues to force everything to Adams. I see 6 more wins on the schedule. Chicago (2) Detroit, Washington, Seattle, and we split with Minnesota. That means losses to virtually every playoff team left of the schedule. Assuming of course no one loses their QB. Now it’s possible we beat Cleveland at home on Christmas Day but I highly doubt it. The way we struggled against San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. That puts us at 10-7 or no better than 11-6. A division winner but hardly home field throughout. What say you PF4L? You predicting 14-3? And who shall we blame when that doesn’t happen? Gutekunst? That’s too easy. We’ll blame Tonyan and Lazard because they can’t get open, right ladies? For me, I’m gonna blame everything on the fact they didn’t make ZaDarius Smith team captain. That was so vitally important.

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 17, 2021

      So you now know who Kellen Moore is?
      .
      The world can rejoice, you’ve learned something!!
      .
      Again…You’re welcome
      *******************
      Newsflash Gomer…Not many expected the Packers to get to a Super Bowl this year with a healthy team.
      .
      I’m not sure why you are trying to convince us we’ll have a terrible record w/o Smith, Alexander and who ever else can’t show up.
      Maybe as a viking fan that’s how you get your jolly’s. If that’s what makes you chili dippers happy….go with it
      .
      Maybe the Packers are going to lose games on purpose so they don’t win the SB.
      .
      Because (as you said)…..Rodgers wants to save this years SB win for his new team. Remember that Gomer?
      Here…i’ll refresh your memory…..
      .
      “The last thing he wants is to win a SB before he goes. He wants to save those for his new team.”- Princess
      .
      Just curious Princess…where do NFL players save Super Bowl wins….can you tell the good people here at totalpackers how that all works?
      In Tommi logic :)

      We’re listening…educate us.

      Reply
  16. Tom M October 17, 2021

    That’s exactly why everyone was brought back, to win a SB. Everyone but clueless you expected this to be a SB team. Tinker Bell himself said SB or bust. That fact that you’re now making excuses on why it isn’t a SB team surprises no one. I know you think it’s all about stats. But you really play to win championships. At least that’s why Brady plays and that’s why he’s the GOAT. While Aaron Rodgers is a stat whore who only wants to get his buddy 125 catches and 1800 yards this season so he can secure that DeAndre Hopkins contract. And fuck Matt LaFleur and his game plan. You think management put up with assistant GM Aaron Rodgers and all his offseason drama just to go 10-7? Jordan Love could do that without all the bullshit. I’ve learned so much from you PF4L. I’ve learned about catch rates and team captains, and how Kurt Benkert is an NFL QB. And the most recent revelation, Kellen Moore is the key to the success of the Dallas Cowboys. I fully expect McCarthy fired at seasons end and Kellen Moore elevated to HC. Sound about right ladies? If they could only find a way to make to make Kellen Moore HC and team captain. He’d be so deserving!

    Reply
  17. PF4L October 17, 2021

    “Aaron Rodgers is on target for 10 INT’s. When’s the last time that’s happened Mr Stat?” – Princess
    .
    No problem Princess…glad to help out
    .
    The last time that happened was 2010, when he had 11. The same year he and the Packers would win the Super Bowl.
    .
    Before that Super Bowl game against the Steelers. I wasn’t even sure the Packers wanted to win it.
    .
    I thought maybe….Rodgers would save that Super Bowl win for a different year.
    Bwahahahahahahaha
    .
    Princess, you might recall that time…it happened shortly after your football team’s stadium collapsed.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI2mBiy1FGE

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 17, 2021

      Hope that helped answer your question…
      .
      You’re welcome.

      Reply

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