Packers Morning Buzz: Pedestrian play from Aaron Rodgers in three NFC title games
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with Rob Reischel writing for ForbesSports about Aaron Rodgers' struggles in his three previous NFC championship games.
As analysts look for ways Green Bay can pull off a shocking upset, they keep coming back to one thing: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers must play at an all-world level.
Using history as an indicator, though, the odds of that seem rather remote.
Rodgers has played in three NFC Championship games and has a pedestrian quarterback rating of 70.5. Rodgers has completed just 57.8% of his 109 passes and thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four).
Not surprisingly, Green Bay is just 1-2 in those three games.
You can read the full story here:
Speaking of Rodgers in the NFC championship game, there was this nugget from Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari in Michael Silver's lengthy story from the Green Bay-Seattle game:
Left unstated is that Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game, will have to perform at an exceedingly high level if he hopes to have a shot at his second Lombardi Trophy, nine years after he won MVP honors in Super Bowl XLV.
Bakhtiari, for one, hopes some skeptics will continue to describe Rodgers as a quarterback past his prime.
"I mean, just please, keep it up," Bakhtiari said. "I hope that people keep saying it. If you've got a great player, and especially if he feels like he's got something to prove, that's scary."
ICYMI, here is Silver's story that goes in-depth about multiple aspects of that game:
Silver talks about how the Packers can adjust their game against the 49ers:
If you were wondering how Davante Adams got so wide-open so frequently against the Seahawks, Eric Baranczyk and Pete Dougherty have some answers:
Here's some great audio to go with visual of Adams in action:
There's always some uneasiness when a new head coach comes in, but Lori Nickel writes that Matt LaFleur quickly won the confidence of his team:
Aaron Rodgers joined Brett Favre's radio show to talk strategy for the 49ers game:
Hard to believe the 49ers won only four games last season (of course, the Packers only won six):
Memorable games galore in the Packers' postseason history with the 49ers:
Packers cornerback Tramon Williams well remembers Green Bay's 2010 Super Bowl run as a wild-card team:
The Packers still aren't getting much respect, placing last among the four remaining playoff teams in this week's NFL.com power rankings.
Dan Hanzus writes of the Packers:
4. Green Bay (14-3)
Previous rank: No. 4
It was good to see Aaron Rodgers do the damn thing on this stage again. Two money third-and-long conversions late in the fourth quarter -- the first to Davante Adams, then the game-clincher to Jimmy Graham -- was the type of magic we'll remember Rodgers for when his Hall of Fame career draws to a close. The half-glass-empty view here is that the Green Bay offense should have planted the dagger in Seattle sooner after rolling up 28 points in the first three quarters, but Rodgers -- like he has all season -- got vital help from the defense with the game on the line. Preston Smith's third-down sack of Wilson with 3:18 to play forced Seattle to punt and gave Rodgers the opportunity to close it out. The Packers don't have the firepower of the Chiefs, the defense of the Niners or the rolling momentum of the Titans, but this team finds a way. The 14-3 record is proof of that.
You can read the entire rankings here (and you can guess who's No. 1):
"Good Morning Football" looks at the Kyle Shanahan-Matt LaFleur connection:
The 49ers are noted for their locker-room personalities:
Marc Sessler of NFL.com looks at the pros and cons of the five newly hired NFL head coaches, including Mike McCarthy in Dallas:
Pros: Armed with a stellar 125-77-2 career mark, McCarthy is an old-school warhorse armed with a Super Bowl ring. His heavily publicized "growth year" away from football came doused in self-reflection, leading to a flurry of interviews and the hand of Jerry Jones. This feels like a fit. McCarthy brings the requisite skills to grow Dak Prescott under center and make the most of a talented Cowboys roster. It's encouraging that McCarthy is open to keeping promising offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The Cowboys job is a pressure-cooker unfolding under a white-hot national spotlight, but Jones has proven to be a patient owner. McCarthy has a strong opportunity to rise again.
Cons: McCarthy's Q-rating crumbled in Green Bay as his offense grew stale and predictable while the rest of the league zoomed by. The "revamped" McCarthy sold himself by telling the Jones clan he pored through every snap of the Dallas campaign, only to admit that was a fib, saying: "I need to confess: I told Jerry I watched every play of the 2019 season. I wanted the job. You do what you gotta do, right?" I'm willing to chalk that up as a media-friendly anecdote, but questions looms: Has McCarthy truly evolved? What about his offense? If both prove true, the Cowboys have pulled off a well-fitting hire.
You can read Sessler's take on the other hires here:
Here's a look at how the Chiefs made their way into the NFL's Final Four:
Largely ignored previously, the Titans now are feeling the love:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt