Packers' Mike McCarthy says hit on Aaron Rodgers was 'an illegal act'

Ryan Wood
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is tended to after being injured during the first quarter of their game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, October 5, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

GREEN BAY – They don’t usually discuss hits from opposing defenders, but this was no ordinary Monday. Inside the Green Bay Packers' outside linebacker meeting room Monday, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr’s name was mentioned.

The conversation wasn’t too kind.

Ahmad Brooks is new to the Packers, but he spent a decade in the NFL before arriving in Green Bay. He has seen many hits over many years. When he watched film of Barr driving Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers into the ground, breaking the two-time MVP’s right collarbone and likely ending his season, Brooks felt his counterpart crossed a line.

“A lot of the times we do want to hit the quarterback,” Brooks said, “but I think in this situation Aaron had already released the ball as the guy was engaging into him. He could’ve just laid off on him. Or even if he wanted to go tackle him, he didn’t have to drive him into the ground. That’s the problem.

“I think he did extra. It looked like he hit him, and he just piledrived him to the ground. When I hit people, I never hit them like that. He put more effort into making sure that he pile-drived him to the ground, rather than just tackle him.”

Brooks wasn’t alone in his condemnation. After Sunday’s loss in Minnesota, players reserved their opinions of Barr’s hit. Most claimed they hadn’t seen the play. Brooks said he saw the play live, but it wasn’t until he saw the replay that he realized Barr drove Rodgers into the ground.

Coach Mike McCarthy said he immediately knew Rodgers was injured, but he didn’t get a good look at the hit until after the game.

“I didn’t like the hit,” McCarthy said. “I had a chance to watch it last night on the plane. He’s out of the pocket. He’s clearly expecting to get hit. To pin him to the ground like that, I felt it was an illegal act. To sit here and lose any of your players on something like that, it doesn’t feel very good.

“Yeah, I didn’t like the hit. It was unnecessary.”

Right guard Jahri Evans, another longtime NFL veteran new to Green Bay, said he thought Barr hit Rodgers to send a message. Most teams prefer to keep Rodgers inside the pocket, rather than allow him to extend plays. Rodgers was rolling right when he threw a pass to tight end Martellus Bennett.

Barr took one stride before hitting Rodgers, a stride that changed the Packers’ season. Evans said it was a dirty hit.

“The ball was gone,” Evans said. “So he probably could’ve pulled up, but I think he wanted to make his presence known, and not have a running QB outside the pocket. I think it will be turned in (to the league), and I think it’s up to them to assess it the proper way.

“As far as our side, yeah, you would say (it was dirty). That’s a hit on the best player on our team, possibly the best player in the league. If you think that way, that’s a significant loss.”

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