Aaron's Answers: No, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers shouldn't change how he plays
Throughout the season, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at PackersNews.com. If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Green Bay Packers will be back on the gridiron Monday night after a week away for their annual bye week, time they certainly needed to get away from things, heal up and come back recharged and ready to take on the Detroit Lions.
With Brett Hundley set to make his second NFL start, Packers fans have plenty of questions and I’m ready to do my best to answer them. Let’s get to it.
From Walter Williams:
I love your video chats and perspective on situations when it comes to the Packers. You give it raw and keep it real. Like what you said about how Rodgers getting out of the pocket would eventually bite him.
Hopefully Aaron should learn from it and not rely so heavily on patting, patting and throwing at the last second, management should take this time to recognize they have to do more with personnel.
Whether it means ramp up their development practices or bringing in more serviceable and quality talent. Do you think in both cases, Aaron's and management, they will learn from this? Will Aaron be quicker with his passing and not always audible looking for deep and big plays? Will McCarthy and management be better with personnel and playcalling?
Lot going on here, Walter. Let me take things one at a time.
First of all, thanks for tuning in to the Facebook Live chats. I do try to give you guys the unvarnished truth, or at least my opinion on it, and yes I have been saying for some time that Rodgers continually holding onto the ball until the last possible second was going to end up biting him.
With that said, no, I don’t see Rodgers or McCarthy changing much of anything when it comes to how the two-time league MVP plays his game. Yes, they undoubtedly will stress the need for him to get rid of the ball a bit quicker when he’s outside the pocket, but the idea of “changing” the way Rodgers plays doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. It would rob him of much of what makes him special. Can he be a bit more careful when he gets outside the pocket? Absolutely. But for as nervous as it may make McCarthy and the coaches seeing Rodgers outside the pocket, they also know some of his biggest and most special plays happen when he’s on the move. It’s brought him two MVP awards and a Super Bowl championship. That’s a pretty good reason to continue playing the way he has.
As for “management” changing, as long as Ted Thompson is the general manager, not much is going to change when it comes to the team’s approach to personnel. Thompson showed a willingness to go a bit outside of his comfort zone this past offseason by signing several free agents, but as long as he’s general manager, this is a team that will take the long view and build primarily through the draft.
From Mike Young:
I thought this was going to be that magical season. That ended against the Vikings. You have touched on the play of almost every player this year. There’s been little talk about Corey Linsley though. He doesn't seem as good to me this year as past years. Thoughts?
I understand why people think this (I’ve heard it mentioned on more than a few occasions and I know the good folks at Pro Football Focus haven’t been particularly kind to Linsley so far this year) but I’m not sure I agree.
I still see Linsley making many of the tough reach blocks that few centers in the league can execute. I still see him directing traffic pre-snap, despite playing with a different left guard seemingly every week. And I still see him doing a very good job of using leverage in pass protection against some of the best interior defensive linemen in the game.
Now, have there been stretches where he’s played a bit below the standard he set in previous years? Certainly. But I tend to think some of that can be attributed to playing with a different combination along the offensive line nearly every week to start the season. There have been times where Linsley has appeared to make a protection call that has been missed and he’s had to jump back away from his responsibility to pick up a rusher at the last minute. The most obvious example was down in Dallas when Jahri Evans clearly missed a slide protection call that allowed a clear lane to the quarterback.
It’s instances like that, where the television catches Linsley trying to pick up a defender late because of a missed assignment somewhere else, that I think has led to some of the talk about a dip in his play.
For the most part, I see the same guy I’ve seen the last three years. Smart, talented and strong as hell. Look for the Packers to lock him up to an extension before next spring, when he’s slated to hit free agency.