Packergeek reader Cindy with great question


Read below for Cindy’s appropriate comparison of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. I was in the middle of writing a post on the topic of Rodgers’ leadership when I read this question so I put all of my thoughts into this response.  Here is the great question:

I agree with most of what’s inyour article. But I am wondering about Rodgers as a leader. I look at what Matt Ryan is doing in Atlanta. The rookie comes in and becomes team leader. Why is Rodgers not coming in and taking over? Is it his personality? Is he being hampered by management? Would a come-from-behind victory “make” him a leader? I would be interested to hear your take on this.

Here are my thoughts:

  • Expectations. The circumstances the two QBs stepped into were quite different. While both may have had fairly high expectations put upon them for this year (Ryan because he was the #1 pick, and we know why for Rodgers), there were different expectations for each team. The Packers were still expected to be good and the Falcons weren’t. So, I think it can be a bit easier to win over teammates/fans/coaches when the expectations aren’t so high.
  • Fractured team. Rodgers inherited a team that had been freshly fractured by an ugly split with Favre. We don’t know probably half of what really went on, but think it’s safe to say it had the effect of disrupting at least a little bit, the cohesion of the team moving forward. Ryan inherited a very bad team that was excited about getting a fresh start with a new coach, an exciting new RB and some new players.
  • Coaches. Right now, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Mike McCarthy has had an off year. Whether it be play-calling, personnel decisions he does have some control over or managing his players effectively (for example, teaching how not to get penalized) – Mike McCarthy hasn’t been very good. He was very good last year, not this year. Mike Smith has out-coached McCarthy and most other coaches this year (could win coach of the year). I would argue that Smith’s quality coaching and his quality game planning week in and week out have set Ryan up to succeed which helps him to step more credibly into his leadership role.
  • Winning. This seems basic, but winning helps a lot in terms of establishing credibility as a leader. Frankly, it is a major reason why I was bothered by the Favre split. He had credibility as a winner because he’d won more games than anyone in NFL history. When a QB wins frequently, they have the luxury of being given perhaps more credit than is fair thrown their way. And this has the effect of the QB building confidence in himself, but also builds the team’s confidence in him.
  • Running game. Ryan Grant has been only OK this year and our O-Line has been weak. Michael Turner has dominated and has won me many fantasy games. Having such a consistent and powerful running game takes a lot of pressure off the QB – especially in the clutch. For example, Ryan didn’t have to do much in OT yesterday because Turner was running wild.
  • Rest of the team. Rodgers has had to battle his own defense and special teams this year. They have set Rodgers up in several games to fail. While Atlanta’s D and special teams aren’t phenomenal, they are at least competent. This also takes pressure off a QB, leading to more victories and therefore, more credibility as the team leader.
  • Winning in the clutch. Cindy hits on a key reason why Rodgers doesn’t appear now to be the leader that Ryan is. Ryan has won I believe several games down the stretch with some good throws. I saw him beat Chicago when he completed a very clutch sideline pass with almost no time left that set up the winning field goal. His team knows that there is precedent now for him to lead them to victory when things get tense. This is a precedent Rodgers has not yet set. Rodgers has had 7 chances to do so this season and hasn’t delivered yet. He needs to do this to establish precedent.

I like Aaron Rodgers and think he’s very good. And, I think teammates and others actually do regard him as a good young leader (albeit a developing young leader). I have been impressed by what he’s done this year and believe it’s mostly just a matter of time before he leads comebacks and becomes that mentally tough QB that opposing teams will worry about…especially in crunch time. But it’s imperative that he win a close game, by making a great play or two at a critical time, soon. Either this year or early next year. If he doesn’t do it soon, it could become an ugly mental obstacle for him and potentially affect his ability to be viewed as a credible leader. Ultimately, I expect Rodgers to be a good leader and as this team evolves and hopefully becomes better, I actually think people will start talking about how good of a leader he is.


9 Responses to “Packergeek reader Cindy with great question”

  1. Ron La Canne Says:

    Ciny’s question is valid. In Rogers press conference after the game something very important slipped out. He was asked about the Full Back dive play MM seems to love so much. He said they had considered the dive and QB sneak during the timeout. A followup question acked if he could have audibled to the QB sneak if he saw something. His answer was an emphatic NO. This tells me MM is not letting Rodgers have much audible authority, if any. If that’s the case, I think much of what is disappointing about Rodgers can be put strongly at the feet of that control freak, MM.

    Sooner or later you’ve got to trust the guy on the field to see things that require a change of plays. If MM doesn’t trust Rodgers then maybe we don’t have the QB we think. Or, we’ve got a coach who is a control freak and won’t abide by any differences to his plan. Also, not good.

  2. 56Coop Says:

    Well Cindy, obviously Atlanta has better pad levels, leverage, field position & communicatioin. They kow how to fill & keep filled their gaps. They also have a coach that sees the things that are wrong & gets them fixed. Obviously they also have players that can be coached.

    What a sad, sad, sad ridiculous season. I agree that thye Favre fiasco was a much bigger disruption than anyone let on & I’m not completely convinced that some of our players weren’t just giving half efforts on the field because of it. Maybe a few linemen just happened to “chip” their guy rather than block him to give Rogers an intro to the NFL. Who knows. I hope not.

    I do know that there had better be lots of changes this offseason and we probably should start now. No playoffs this year. As has been suggested earlier on this blog, maybe it’s time to play some other players and let’s see what we got. Maybe even play Wynn for a while.

    Just ramblings from a frustrated Packer fan

  3. Aaron Says:

    I’m sorry, but I am sick of this comparison. Give Rodgers Turner behind him and that running game, and Rodgers would be winning games and be hailed as a “leader”.

  4. bucky Says:

    What I worry most about with Rodgers this season is that he might develop Brett Favre Disease, which causes him to believe that each fourth quarter throw has to be the one to win the game. Favre lost plenty of games for the Packers by trying to do too much on a particular play, and I see Rodgers starting to fall into that habit as well. Of course, the fact that he has no defense to fall back on may explain some of this; Rodgers has now led several drives to tie or take the lead late in games, only to have the defense (with the help of the special teams) give back the lead.

    Rodgers would look a lot better as a leader if the Packer D hadn’t allowed the Vikings/Panthers/Texans/Jaguars to march the field late in the game to retake the lead, or the Titans to march 55 yards in 10 plays in overtime to win that game.

  5. Taggart Craig Says:

    Ryan went into a genuine pressure situation and became a leader and actually won important games. Took the entire ugly Vick saga and turned it into a true positive. And he wasn’t babied by the national/local media ala Rodgers.

    All I heard/read this season was that Rodgers was under “great pressure” What pressure? He never earned or had to compete for the job, it was GIVEN to him..and after a few games, he was awarded the contract.

    Btw, if catching Brett Favre disease means W’s..I hope the Young Pretender catches the malady.

  6. 56Coop Says:

    Sorry Aaron but I don;t think Turner, Barber, Taylor, Jones-Drew, Tomlinson or any other running back in the league does much better than Grant, or Jackson for that matter, with Green Bay’s O Line in front of them

  7. 56Coop Says:

    Well Aaron you did say “and that running game” so I’m sure you meant with their O Line also, at which point I agree with you.

  8. PackerBelle Says:

    I think Rodgers has struggled some and definitely looked like a rookie at times. I have to wonder what would have happened if the team was playing better and if the play calling was different. Or if the defense could just actually make a stop. He needs to step up and make the clutch throws, but I also think he doesn’t have the other pieces to make it easier. Favre didn’t do much game saving during the 4-12 season because he didn’t have much to work with. Not exactly the same situation, but I don’t think all of the blame is Rodgers’.

  9. Kozak Says:

    Rodgers has put the Packers in the position for several come from behind victories, only to have special teams or the defense let the game slip away. This years poor showing has been a team effort, from the front office on down. Rodgers has been one of the few bright spots IMHO.

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