A Scout’s Take on the Recent Play of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Offense

Rodgers getting hit..jpg

There has been a lot of speculation recently as to what’s the problem as of late with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the offense of the  Green Bay Packers.

I wrote about that very subject earlier this week.

As did Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who listed five reasons why Rodgers is struggling. Reason No. 5 brought out the ire of actress Olivia Munn, who is the girlfriend of Rodgers.

Why? Because Demovsky wrote that Rodgers could be having off-the-field issues in his personal life.

Munn responded to Demovsky via Twitter.

Playing it fast & loose w/the journalism @RobDemovsky,” Munn said. “Your professional skills are lacking… you must be having personal problems at home.”

I did not list personal issues as to a reason why Rodgers and the offense of the Packers have struggled the past three games in my article.

I did however, bring up the fact that Rodgers has taken a lot of sacks and hits over the past three games and that I believed No. 12 was playing with some physical ailments.

On Wednesday, Rodgers was listed as limited in practice with a right shoulder injury.

Week 11 Injury Report

This wouldn’t be the first time Rodgers has injured his shoulder while playing quarterback for the Pack.

I was at the 2008 game between the Packers and the Tampa Bay Bucs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, when Rodgers was forced to leave the game with a right shoulder injury.

Although Rodgers could not finish that particular game, he didn’t miss any more playing time the rest of the 2008 season.

In my recent story, I thought the biggest reason that Rodgers and the offense of the Packers is struggling is due to the play of the offensive line. Both in pass protection and in run-blocking.

On Wednesday, I wanted to get an opinion regarding this situation from NFL scout Chris Landry, who was on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show.

I have talked to Landry many times over the years and have used his insight and expertise in a number of stories.

Earlier this season, in another story I wrote, Landry talked about how phenomenal Rodgers was playing.

“He’s the best right now that I’ve ever seen in all aspects of quarterback play,” Landry said after Rodgers performance in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. “I mean, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t do well. The cerebral part is where he has just become right on the level of the best.

“Can you imagine a guy with a gun for an arm and can throw every route? He is the most accurate, and has been for awhile, throwing on the move. [John] Elway could throw across his body where the coverage wasn’t.

“This guy [Rodgers] can throw it at any arm angle into the smallest spots. It’s just incredible. It’s like hitting fall-away jumpers all the time. This guy is just really innate. His anticipation skills are phenomenal. And the ability to extend the play.

Rodgers vs. the Chiefs

“It doesn’t matter if a lineman is injured or a lineman missed a block, he’ll still extend it and he has the tremendous ability to adjust. Okay, like this broke down, so we are going to do this. He’s got all sorts of built-in options.

“He’s running the whole offense from under center, behind center and even post-snap. It’s a work of art. I have so much fun watching the coaching tape of him, as it’s truly an art form. It’s like watching Ben Hogan hit a golf ball. You just sit there mesmerized in a rocking chair and watch it flow so naturally.”

That was then and this (three-game losing streak) is now.

The passer rating for Rodgers in the last three games has been 69.7, 96.6 and 83.6. That’s a cumulative rating of 83.3.

That’s also over 22 points lower than Rodgers career passer rating of 105.8.

Something is wrong.

I wanted to get Landry’s take on how Rodgers and the offense of the Packers has struggled the past three weeks. Before I even had a chance to talk to him about that scenario, Duemig asked Landry about it to open the show.

Landry gave Duemig quite an answer.

“You know, it’s a few things,” Landry said. “But it really stems from this. In the early part of the season, they were running the football fairly well.

“They’re not playing well up front. They are not running the football well. Against Denver, they were really exposed. And Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have time to make plays.

“The receivers are having a hard time getting off press-coverage. So, they are really out of sorts on offense. And it starts from up front. And if they can’t run the football any better, they are going to have a hard time because they are struggling to hold up under pressure.

Broncos sacking Rodgers.jpg

“Listen, Aaron can extend plays, but guys aren’t getting open and making plays for him. And he’s starting to miss things and see things and it’s just not working.

“They’ve got to settle down and it’s got to start with from up front. I’ve kind of looked at it and thought maybe it’s time that Mike [McCarthy] looks at play-calling again.

“Listen, they miss Jordy Nelson. But it’s not all about Jordy Nelson. They were a little more effective in the first few games where didn’t have him in either, and Mike’s not ready to do that yet (call plays again).

“But they are going to have to start scheming people (receivers) open a little bit. Really, it’s a long-winded answer, but really it’s the offensive line which is the biggest culprit.

“If they can’t run the football any better, they are going to be in trouble. Listen, they’ve got a shot, because they’ve got Aaron Rodgers. They’ve got the ability to make some plays, but at this point it really is an issue up front.

“They have to figure that out, because I do think they are a team which is potentially dangerous. But right now, they are only dangerous to themselves.”

I totally agree with Landry and said so in the story I wrote earlier this week.

It’s not just one player on the offensive line who has had problems, as it seems like all the players have struggled at one time or another.

Yes, I know the line has had some injury issues, especially at the tackle position, but that’s life in the NFL.

What’s most shocking to me is the subpar play that the Packers are getting at times from the middle of their offensive line, principally the last three games.

The Packers have a fairly talented offensive line. Last year, this same offensive line of left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Josh Sitton, center Corey Linsley, right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Bryan Bulaga, helped make the offense of the Packers one of the very best in football.

In 2014, the Packers led the NFL in scoring with 486 points. The Packers were sixth in total offense, eighth in passing offense and 11th in rushing offense.

This year, through nine games, it’s been much different. The Packers are 12th in the NFL in scoring. Green Bay is also 21st in total offense. That includes being 22nd in passing offense and 16th in rushing offense.

It’s an old adage, but it’s true. Football games are won or lost in the trenches.

The offensive line has been out performed in the last three games and the team lost every one of those games.

But it’s not all on the back of the offensive line. Receivers on the Packers have to fight to get open more often and then catch the ball when it’s thrown in their direction.

There have been way too many drops as of late, as well as some off-target throws by Rodgers.

The play of the running backs need to improve as well, especially with Eddie Lacy. The best thing that could happen to the offense of the Packers is to see the return of the old No. 27.

Eddie Lacy

This is the time of year when Lacy has always excelled. In the last two seasons in November and December, Lacy has averaged 746 yards and nine touchdowns in those two months and has had a 4.57 yards-per-carry average.

Bottom line, all phases of the offense of the 6-3 Packers need to improve very quickly, especially with the 7-2, NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings on tap for a game this Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.

That being said, the biggest improvement has to come from the offensive line of the Packers.

They must win the battle in the trenches on Sunday if the team expects to win and regain a place at the top of the NFC North.

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