Archive for the ‘Rodgers’ Category

Rodgers’ candid interview

June 9, 2010

I had only read excerpts of the Rodgers’ interview on ESPN Milwaukee until reader Schaef sent me a link to the whole article. Interesting thoughts – can’t say he’s too far off either.

For those still not certain, let me clarify: Aaron Rodgers is definitely his own man. Sure he tried to tread lightly in the shadows of Favre initially, but this guy is his own man. We’re lucky to have him.

Admit it Packer fans, Favre dominant this year

December 1, 2009

Brett Favre looks incredibly good so far this year. In fact, if I had to decide on NFL MVP right now, Favre would be in the mix (along with Charles Woodson, Manning, Chris Johnson). I don’t like to admit this because I’m still bothered by his role in the GB divorce and I hate anyone who has anything to do with the Vikings. I’ve heard the counter-arguments: that he’s played against mostly weak teams/defenses, or that he has Adrian Peterson behind him, or that the Vikes’ have a strong offensive line, or that their defense helps the team keep leads, or that the Vikes are just a very talented team overall. Those things are all true and yes they help. But I have seen him play enough this year to say confidently, Brett Favre might be playing at least close to this well just about anywhere right now. His passes are crisp, his timing is phenomenal, his pocket awareness is special, he’s shown he can still make any throw (and the MN offense hasn’t been shy about letting him let it fly), he’s not hiding behind AP and the run game and perhaps most curiously, his playcalling has been top-notch. (There have been rumors alleging that most of the offense’s success is due to Favre finally gettingĀ  the green light to call some of his own plays. Together with Bevell and possibly Childress, they are making tremendous play calls game after game.) Favre’s stats this year speak volumes: 24TDs, 3 picks, #2 in completion percentage at 69.3 and #1 in QB rating at 112.

I can’t say this surprises me though. As soon as the Vikes’ rumored interest in Favre surfaced earlier this year, I went on record saying he’d improve their record to at least 12-4. At that time, my 12-4 claim was mostly met with “Andy’s on crack again” comments. But I mostly held to it. I think it’s now safe to say the doubters were wrong. He has played extremely well this year. The offense is so smooth and very difficult to defend due largely to Favre’s performance. Heading into this season, the popular comment was “who’s he going to throw to?” Now it’s “man, look at all the weapons he has”. I think it’s fair to give some credit to Favre for making superstars out of guys who otherwise may have languished in mediocrity. He did it in Green Bay and he’s doing it in MN.

As well as Favre has played though, a question keeps popping up in my mind: did both the Packers and the Vikings end up winning in this divorce situation? I’m not saying this like the kid who says (pouting) “I didn’t want the most expensive brand new football that all of my friends got for Christmas anyway” here. I really am beginning to believe that this has worked out well for both the Pack and the Vikes. They got their franchise QB who could come in and provide competent quarterbacking while importantly bringing a strong sense of confidence to a position that had been a negative focus for years. The Packers, meanwhile, got a high quality young QB better suited to dealing with (and more willing to deal with) the ups and downs of leading a young team. The Vikings are dominating the division, but the Packers are slowly creeping back into the race – largely because of the efforts of Aaron Rodgers.

Wouldn’t it be something if these two teams squared off again this season, in the playoffs…and the Pack snatched the one that counts most!

Aaron Rodgers is really, really not bad

October 26, 2009

Growing up, my dad would often say that things were “not bad” when most others would have said they were “good” or even “great”. My mom would spend all afternoon putting together an enormously delicious Shepherds Pie and my dad would render his post-meal verdict: “that was…not bad”. If my mom had particularly outdone herself she might hear: “I will say this, that was really not bad”. When my high school soccer team won the state championship, I believe we received a collective: “that was really, really, not bad”. It wasn’t a mean habit of his at all – we all knew that anything “not bad” was actually something to be proud of. Well, using my father’s lingo, I’m comfortable saying already that Aaron Rodgers is really, really not bad.

As a preface to what I’m about to write, I want to establish the following: 1) I understand that statistics don’t always tell the whole story; 2) I realize that career passer rating isn’t the only way to measure a QB’s effectiveness and 3) I understand that Aaron Rodgers needs more games under his belt to more accurately compare him to some of the people I’m about to compare him to. With that out of the way, Aaron Rodgers has a career passer rating of 96.3. (This includes his first 3 years when he was a back-up and played in garbage time that didn’t matter – and stats from those years bring down his overall rating. If we counted only the years he’s been a starter, his rating would be 98.4. He’s #2 overall this year at 110.8.) Again, while I know Rodgers needs to play more games for this to be fair, at this moment, his 96.3 career passer rating would put Rodgers behind only Steve Young (96.8) in NFL history. Steve Young has been on top of this category for years now. The next two are Peyton Manning (95.4) and, you may be surprised by this, Tony Romo at 94.7. That’s some good company.

While I recognize that it will be difficult for Rodgers to maintain this high level of proficiency, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he ends up doing it mostly because he is a very smart quarterback. Rodgers takes the plays that are there but at the same time, he’s been showing more this year that he can also improvise intelligently. As he continues to develop this critical balance between being smart with the ball and taking intelligent chances, my guess is that Rodgers could arrive at a Peyton Manning-like level of sensible QB decision-making. Consider the Havner TD yesterday, the long 3rd down conversion to Donald Lee yesterday, the Finley TD against the Vikes, etc. The guy has a great feel for the flow of the game, throws a beautiful ball and outside of some pocket awareness issues, has a very well-rounded game for a 2nd year starter. (And, a solid case could be made that he’s done all of this with a mediocre-at-best offensive line in front of him.) Even this early in his career, it’s already evident that Rodgers just plain gets it. In fact, I will say this: I’m growing more and more confident that some day Aaron Rodgers will end up being better than “really, really not bad” – perhaps he’ll reach “tremendously not bad” status.

Aaron Rodgers’ mustache – um…no

September 3, 2009

Wow, a few years ago it was kind of funny. Now, it’s just scary. I’m glad Jessie Garcia asked him about it – and I’m glad he’s not planning to keep it. I shaved my my facial hair down to a mustache a few years ago mostly to scare my wife. She was very, very scared. Not a good look for most people nowadays.

Some major love for Rodgers

September 3, 2009

Read here for Adam Schein’s preseason awards. Yes, that’s right, Aaron Rodgers for MVP.

For some reason, I don’t mind that expectations (and with that pressure) are mounting. Rodgers had pressure on him last year and responded. I think he’s a mentally tough player so I’m feeling confident he will handle the growing pressure of expectation for 2009 effectively.

A subtle factor in the Favre divorce?

August 31, 2009

Here is a question: what role did Aaron Rodgers’ high football IQ play in the Brett Favre divorce process? At one point I believe in 2007, McCarthy said that the offense under Favre had only learned 1/4 of his total playbook. McCarthy didn’t say this as a crack on Favre – more as a matter of fact. Was Favre reluctant to learn the other 3/4 of the playbook? It’s well documented that Favre has a narrowed preference for all things West Coast and that learning new plays especially later in his career was not something he was much interested in. Did MM ever feel like the true potential of his offensive ideas could only be realized with a potentially more cerebral (or at least more willing-to-learn) QB like Rodgers? Again, I’m not saying Favre is dumb, I don’t think he is, and I know there were lots of other factors in the divorce – but I wonder if this was even a small part of the discussion.

This year, my guess is that we’ll see Rodgers run a huge variety of plays – leaving defenses often guessing and fans once again praising McCarthy’s creativity. While there were times last year when the playcalling was poor/predictable, that seemed to me to be toward the beginning of the year when I think MM was trying to make it easy for Rodgers. But starting with the last 4-5 games of last year through this preseason especially, it seems Rodgers has grown more comfortable calling a greater variety of plays. Perhaps he’s now tapped into the other 3/4 of MM’s ideas.

Your thoughts?

Rodgers calling plays?

May 20, 2009

This morning on 620 WTMJ radio, I heard an interesting quote from Aaron Rodgers. He was talking about how close he and Mike McCarthy are and how he feels confident that McCarthy has lots of confidence in him. Rodgers said something to the effect of “he trusts me to call the plays…”

While this may not be a big deal really, and it may in fact be a simple reference to him being granted the ability to audible when he sees fit – it make me wonder if Rodgers may have more of a role in play-calling than Favre ever seemed to. I wouldn’t be surprised because I think Rodgers has a very good understanding of the offense, the coaches clearly have lots of confidence in him andĀ  he is very bright and quick to diagnose. I wonder if Rodgers may get to a point with McCarthy like Peyton Manning in Indy: where he knows the offensive system so well he’ll be able to call most plays. Anyway, I just thought this was an interesting comment for a 1-year starter to make when his predecessor, outside of an occasional audible or freak play, seemed to take most offensive play-calling direction from the sidelines.

I wanted to extend Rodgers, just not sure about the contract

November 2, 2008

Aaron Rodgers looks very good so far. He appears to be a quality decision-maker, understands the offense well and his stats are very good. His 98.7 QB rating is not a fluke and there is strong reason to believe this rating will end up being fairly representative of the kind of play we can expect from him. Like the Pack did with Grant, I also like the idea of getting our younger players signed so we know we’ll have a strong nucleus for at least the next few years. I also recognize that we wanted to get him signed now so that it would count against our cap this year when we can easily afford it. For these reasons, I too wanted to extend Rodgers and I would have offered him a nice contract…just not this kind of contract.

I’m not writing this to be a poop or to be anti-Thompson or Rodgers – but the fact is, this is an extraordinary contract given to a player who has played 7 games. According to PFT here, Rodgers’ average annual salary will put him in the top 5 of all NFL players. (PFT also reports that the contract for new money is really 5 years at $63.5 million – a huge amount of money). Now I know contracts are all about the present and in 2 years, this may seem like a more modest salary. But the fact is, paying a guy who has played 7 games as a top 5 player is simply too much. When asked about the contract, Rodgers himself admitted he was surprised (I heard him say this in an interview picked up after the signing by WISN Channel 12 in Milwaukee). I’d say it’s usually a sign of overpaying someone when that person is “surprised” by the terms of an extension. Just reading the comments by Rodgers and his agent, it almost seems like they didn’t do hardly any negotiating because the Pack just came to them with an enormous offer. Now I realize, as PFT indicates, that the $20 million guaranteed is a bit less than what other elite players are offered, but it’s still a ton of money for a player with an injury history.

It’s hard for me not to wonder if this is also sort of an “I told you so” moment for TT. Fact is, he did tell us and if Rodgers remains injury-free and playing at a high level even for the remainder of this year, I would welcome any gloating. But Rodgers has only played 7 games and to sign him to this kind of contract seems to me to be a bit too much. I do recognize that with any contract there is risk, but again, this just seems to be a bit much. I’m just sayin’…

Leroy Butler: Rodgers “much better” than Romo

September 23, 2008

Interesting nugget here from Leroy Butler (originally from jsonline, but I link to it here at

Ex-Packer: Rodgers better than Romo Former Packers all-pro safety LeRoy Butler analyzed the Cowboys-Packers game: “I saw the game in person and I played 12 years so I want people to know that, from what I saw, Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback than Tony Romo. Based on throwing the ball in certain areas. The interception Romo threw to Collins and some of these other passes and the way he moves around, Aaron is a much better quarterback. Aaron doesn’t put his team in those kinds of situations. When you look at Romo’s stats, you’ll see those long passes and those glamour things. Aaron’s stats are OK, too, but if he gets the opportunity to throw 40 or 50 times a game, he’s going to be good.” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

Leroy Butler isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, and if you pay enough attention to what he does say (weekly game keys, sports radio interviews, etc), you’ll learn that he has a tremendously insightful and fascinating take on things. This is an interesting comment considering I compared the two on Sunday night saying to my dad that I thought they had very similar styles (agile, good arms, smart passers mostly, choose to run in similar circumstances, etc). I’m encouraged that Leroy believes this because he often ends up being right.

That said, I wouldn’t go as far as Leroy does here just yet. While Romo’s interception was a really bad one (2 of our guys were waiting to just pick it off), he had some other really nice throws and played a solid game. Both of his long “glamour” passes to Austin hit the guy in stride and he had a bunch of other quality passes/good decisions out there Sunday night. I’d say he played a better overall game than Rodgers (though I’ll concede he faced a bit less pressure than Rodgers – though he got pounded on the Austin TD). Rodgers played decently, but he had some questionable throws too – one of which should have been an easy pick for Pacman. I think what Butler is getting at here is that he thinks Romo is a riskier passer than Rodgers and may not be quite the game manager Rodgers may be. That may end up being true, but I do think it’s premature to reach a conclusion like this after just 3 games. Romo has played at a high level for several years now. He is an established player. So far, I agree with Butler that Rodgers looks really good. But I’d stop short of claiming he’s “much better” than one of the best QBs in the NFL…for now anyway.

Favre take – Gregg Easterbrook, ESPN

August 15, 2008

Read this take on the Favre situation (if you can stomach any more Favre situation talk) by one of the best writers out there – Gregg Easterbrook. Makes some sense to me, and echoes Steve’s post re this now being Ted Thompson’s team.

Also, wanted to add that I am still waiting for the “upcoming firestorm” from Favre and company for which the Packers apparently hired Ari Fleischer. Much of the reason I wanted to hold out on completely bashing Favre for his behavior during this episode was based on my firm belief that something bigger happened that the public just hasn’t been told about yet. While I acknowledge there was some justification for Favre feeling unwanted based on things we do know (especially if McGinn’s claim is true that TT didn’t want Favre back dating back well into last year), if this is all the info we have, I can’t help but be more bothered by Favre’s handling of this than the team’s handling of this. Perhaps we’ll hear more as time rolls on, who knows.

In the meantime, I’m focused on the Packers this year and really pulling for Rodgers. We still have a pretty good team I believe if the D-Line can come together. I will also though, be keeping an eye on how Favre does in NY. Maybe in some sense, it is fitting for Favre, who has played his entire career in the NFL’s smallest city, to go to its biggest city for a rousing send off. We’ll see.


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