Jaws on Rodgers: 'It's Like I've Never Seen'

"I've never seen the position played at such a high level," esteemed analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski told Packer Report. And that was before the game, when Rodgers threw four touchdowns passes in a blowout win against Minnesota.

Before ESPN's Ron Jaworski became arguably the best in-game analyst covering the NFL, he was one of the top quarterbacks in the game during a 15-year playing career that started in 1974. So, he knows a little something about quarterbacks, giving extra weight to his comments on Aaron Rodgers.

"I've seen the likes of (Joe) Montana and (Dan) Marino and (Troy) Aikman and the guys that have been the great players historically – going back to (Terry) Bradshaw and people like that – and I've never seen the position played at such a high level," Jaworski told Packer Report before the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 45-7 on "Monday Night Football."

Rodgers was the obvious league MVP for the first half of the season, and he continued his brilliant season by completing 23-of-30 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns to propel Green Bay to 9-0. Entering the game, Rodgers was the first quarterback in NFL history with 2,600 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes in the first eight games. His passer rating of 129.1 was far, far ahead of Drew Brees' second-place rating of 100.6, and trailed only Tom Brady (136.2 in 2007) at this point in league history. He was the first quarterback to post eight consecutive games with passer ratings of at least 110 – a streak he extended to nine with a third consecutive game over 140 with a 140.3 vs. Minnesota.

"To me, from the quarterback's perspective, the No. 1 thing that jumps out is his control of the football," Jaworski said. "You can talk about strong arm, mobility, touch – all those things – but when I watch him, he's at a level that is unprecedented where he can put the football. I equate it to Tiger Woods at the top of his game. He'd pull a 7-iron out of his bag and he normally hits that 7-iron 170 yards but the pin is only 169. He can control that ball to make it go 169. As I watch Rodgers, he controls the football so it goes exactly where he wants it to go. He can throw the rainbow deep down the field, he can fire that back-shoulder throw to the sideline, he's got that firm, soft throw over a linebacker down the middle. The accuracy is just uncanny. It's like I've never seen. And that's just throwing the football.

"Then you watch what he orchestrates at the line of scrimmage. You just don't see the Packers wasting plays. He's always running a play to the optimum look. He's totally prepared for what the defense is doing. It's obvious he studies as much as any quarterback in the game in his preparation for each opponent."

Rodgers has 28 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. He's on pace to throw 50 touchdown passes, which would tie Tom Brady's NFL record, set in 2007.

"Yeah, not really thinking about that, to be honest," Rodgers said. "We're thinking about winning our division and getting a home playoff game and all that will take care of itself. I just want to be efficient and consistent and get us in good situations. If we're doing that and I'm not turning the ball over, we're going to be in every game."

Even though teams had all offseason to scheme against the Super Bowl MVP, Rodgers has carved up defenses at an unprecedented level. Given time, he can beat any coverage with his accuracy. On the other hand, he leads the NFL in passer rating against the blitz. When the Chargers played man-to-man last week, Rodgers took advantage to move the chains with his feet.

So, what's a defensive coordinator to do?

"I go on my experience as a quarterback and what I see now, and I think the teams that mix it up always present the biggest problems for a quarterback and your pass-protection scheme," Jaworski said. "I think if you stay vanilla against a guy like Aaron Rodgers, he will slice you up. I know the blitz is always risky but I think, periodically, you've got to throw a blitz, you've got to play some man, you've got to play some zone, you've got to play some two-deep, some single-high, some bump-and-run, some loose coverage, some bail. If you just get ingrained in one coverage, he'll just eat it up. So, try to create a little bit of doubt, maybe break down the timing somewhat.

"That's what I would try to do if I was a defensive coordinator. And teams have tried that with no success."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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