Aaron's Answers: 'Plug and play' not so easy
Throughout the offseason, 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 email@example.com.
Things are starting to really slow down on the free-agency front and the draft is still roughly three weeks away, so the questions have slowed down a bit, but I still had a few roll into the ol’ inbox this week. Let’s get to it.
From Matt Kronzer:
Maybe a thought, rather than a question. I have always felt, that the common fan undervalues and discredits how hard it is to play cornerback at this level, much less in Dom Capers’ scheme. This sentiment echoed listening toyour podcast with Justis Mosqueda, who spoke on this as well with excellent points. It's so, so difficult to just plug & play, which is why Davon House is a good signing. He knows the system. It's so difficult to just grab a free agent, or more so a rookie to just stick right in there as the cure all.
I believe the Packers must focus more on the pass-rushing element of their defenses. Better rush will result in better corner play.
While it’s true that fans most likely do not appreciate the difficulty inherent with playing the position, that doesn’t excuse some of the borderline atrocious play we saw at cornerback at times in 2016. They’re all professionals and there is a standard that can and should be expected that was certainly not met at times last season.
With that said, I do think the perception that the Packers can just “plug in” a guy off the street that hasn’t played in Capers' scheme is indeed misguided. And I very much agree that focusing on the pass rush will result in better play in the secondary.
From Kevin Gibson:
Thank youfor that answer about Adrian Peterson. I am baffled by how many people think the Packers should sign him. Also, if you're ever in Louisville, Ky., try Monnik Beer Co. You won't be sorry.
Thanks for the recommendation, Kevin! I’ll definitely give it a try.
As for the Adrian Peterson thing, I understand why some feel the Packers should give him a shot. I obviously don’t agree with the idea, for all the reasons I wrote last week, but I also want to make it clear that I do understand how the idea of Peterson taking pressure off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense is enticing. I just think the cons far outweigh the pros.
From Steven Botzau:
When you watched the season over a few times did you notice WRs open that didn't get the ball thrown to them? I know I saw it a few times last year but I usually don't go back and watch the tape. Specifically, was Randall Cobb getting open consistently because his numbers were obviously down?
Randall Cobb certainly has seen a shift in his production the last few years. Some of that is due to defenses being able to key on him (which happened a bunch in 2015), some of it is due to the quarterback zeroing in on other guys in key situations (which happened a bunch in 2016, between Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook) and some of it, yes, is indeed due to Cobb having issues shaking free from some of the better slot defenders in the league.
Now, with that said, there are indeed plenty of times where you see him work free on the tape, against both man and zone coverage, and the ball just ends up going somewhere else. That happens in the Packers' offense, and there’s not a whole lot Cobb can do about that.
While his numbers certainly have been down since signing his contract extension, much of that is not truly his fault. That’s why I tend to say I’d be more than a bit surprised if the Packers asked him to take a pay cut.
I asked Mike McCarthy about this very subject when we spoke at the NFL scouting combine last month. I thought his line about the financial aspect reflecting the team’s view of how they feel about a player was pretty telling.