Opinions are like ...
Well, we can’t complete the rest of that line. But, suffice it to say, everyone has one and many of them stink.
Everyone, it seems, is a quarterback guru because they played one in high school or a city park-and-rec team. Or, everyone is an X’s and O’s expert because they play “Madden” or shelled out money for NFL Game Pass.
Something is wrong. That much is evident about the Green Bay Packers’ formerly high-powered passing game. Aaron Rodgers’ struggles — or, more accurately, the passing game’s struggles — have stretched for more than a calendar year.
As he’s said countless times, Rodgers says he and the offense will work their way out of this funk.
Brett Favre agrees.
“He’s such a good football player,” Favre said on his show on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s such a dynamic player and he’s such a weapon, and I’m sure every defensive coordinator would tell you, ‘Hey, what he did last week has no bearing on how I feel this week. I hate to go up against the guy.’ And he really hasn’t, in the grand scheme of things, he really hasn’t played that bad. And I said this in the press conference Sunday. His bad is pretty doggone good. But you’re seeing a few things that you don’t normally see from him. I think when you start pressing and those things and people start — everyone likes good things said about them, so I’m sure that, even though he may say that it doesn’t bother him, that stuff bothers you. So, you’re trying to push and press and get back to where you were and ultimately it will come, because he’s just too good for it not to.”
The Packers famously have millions upon millions of coaches. And they all have opinions. And so does a legion of scribes who fancy themselves as experts on playing quarterback and coaching the position and running an offense.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team is “in tune” with the fundamentals, and he and his staff are “pretty damn good” at coaching the quarterback position.
“Every pass play that’s been thrown in 11 years, there’s a footwork grade, there’s a decision grade, there’s a throw grade, and that’s broken down into a number of different categories,” McCarthy said. “That’s the detail of our analytics. You stay true to it. Self-scout is an ongoing part of our game plan, and that’s really what we focus on. The result is not really the focus of mine probably as much as yours, and I understand the job that everybody has to do there. But I really focus on the details of the fundamentals because then the results will come.”
Is Rodgers OK with the scheme?
“Yeah, of course,” Rodgers said matter-of-factly.
So, what’s wrong? Because there’s no sugarcoating the ongoing offensive problems. Bad passes. Dropped passes. Turnovers. Red-zone woes. All of those things have plagued the offense.
But first and foremost, Rodgers continues to be one of the NFL’s least efficient quarterbacks.
“I just think it’s accuracy,” Rodgers said. “I’ve missed a couple that I’m used to hitting. And you hit those and you take away the throwaways, being able to hit some things on some of those plays instead of extending and throwing the ball away, and we’re right where we need to be.”
Will this be the week the offense regains some of its mojo? Like the Packers, the Bears could be without their three top cornerbacks.
Bears coach John Fox, singing the same tune as coach after coach after coach on the weekly conference calls, had nary a bad word to say about Rodgers. Perhaps they’re being less than honest. Perhaps they don’t want to poke a sleeping bear. Or, perhaps they believe what Rodgers says about the offense being close.
“He’s a pain to get down on the ground,” Fox said. “He does buy a lot of time. I think he’s pretty true to form, extending plays. Just looking at tape, I’m not looking forward to watching it live there in Lambeau. I think he’s doing just fine.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.null