AM Quickslant: 3 Targets for Aaron Rodgers Versus the Rams

It’s Wednesday…”hump daaaaayyyyeah!” More preseason games again tomorrow and the Pack at aordthe Rams on Saturday. I was watching the Aaron Rodgers interview today and three things jumped out at me.

But first, let me just say that it was good to hear Aaron’s thoughts on the passing of Robin Williams. We know the guy was not perfect but he gave some many people SO MANY laughs…sad. The Cheese did a little memorial post, if you want to make a comment, you can see that here.

So here are a few targets that I have for Aaron Rodgers on Saturday. The first two are from Rodgers himself and the last I read between the lines:

1. STAY HEALTHY

Aaron Rodgers Training Camp 2014This offseason has seen more discussion of player health than any I have seen. The injury woes of last season were difficult and the injury to Aaron Rodgers was an exclamation point. So when Rodgers trots out on the field Saturday, while I will be excited to see him play, I will also be holding my breath a little.

The offensive line is in good shape (though the loss of Barclay was a shame) and should be able to keep Rodgers upright. But Saint Louis has a good defense and they will test the line more than the Titans did. While it is still preseason and no team is going to be showing a lot, everyone in Packernation knows that our season depends on our great quarterback. We have not shown that we have a defense that can win games for us (though I hope this season they can) and so we need Aaron healthy

2. Score a touchdown

Yeah, this was Aaron’s second goal…to score a touchdown. I agree with him, it’s important. Aaron will not be in this game for long and scoring a touchdown on the first drive will show that Aaron and his crew are 100% in sync (NSYNC?…who would be Justin Timberlake?…no matter) and would make me feel better about one part of our offense that I did not like last season…opening drives.

While I don’t have stats on the Packers opening drives last season, I do know they stalled too many Aaron Rodgers TD Percentagetimes. As Eddie Lacy came on, there was improvement but there were times last year when I thought the breakdowns in the defense were partly due to the fact that the offense could not sustain drives. Anybody who has played football knows that sustained drives really take pressure off a defense while 3-and-outs really put the pressure on. Now, that is no excuse, and defenses need to be able to turn around quickly from time to time and still get the job done, but it is a concern. That is why I, will Aaron, would like to see a touchdown and sooner rather than later. Keep an eye on this team, I think they are going to score on their opening drive more often than not and put opponents on the ropes early.

3. The right tempo

The Packers have said that they want to play an up tempo game and get more plays in than last season and tempo starts with the quarterback. So I will be watching how Aaron manipulates the tempo in this game. Playing an up-tempo game requires a couple of things:2014 Packers

  • Communication is critical – especially when substitutions are required
  • Conditioning is Key – In order to gas your opponent…you have to have enough in the tank yourself
  • Calls must be Correct

I want to explain that last one…In order to play an uptempo game and get more plays in, the play calling has to be spot on. Now, the plays that are called have a LOT to do with what the defense shows and the Packers won’t get away from that, but all things being equal, this team is NOT expecting to get more plays in per game by throwing deep balls all day.

A few years back, I found myself asking where the slant pass went in this supposedly West Coast offense. The Packers like to get vertical and throw the back-shoulder to the sideline against inside leverage. This gains a lot of yards and the Packers have the best quarterback in the league at throwing the back-shoulder pass and the best receiver in the league at catching it. Another thing about the vertical game is that it is safer for the receiver than catching over the middle where hard hitting safeties can make a receiver pay. I don’t see the Packers changing that part of their game much…it has been too successful for too long. But they do have to change the play calling if they are going to be able to get more plays in AND be up-tempo. Here’s how:

1. Pound the ball using a mix of running backs. A rotation will keep Eddie Lacy fresh (I look for him to be absolutely dominant in the forth quarter of games this year) and make the line happy as they LOVE to run block and impose their will on the D-line.

2. Use Eddie Lacy out of the backfield catching passes. This will keep defenses guessing, give us mid-range yeardage and move the chains.

3. Distribute the ball. Of course Aaron Rodgers is going to throw to the open receiver but each play has a primary and checkdowns. Look for the Packers to run more passing plays with midrange primary receivers. Jordy is of course going to have his share of catches, yards, and touchdowns but keep an eye on Randall Cobb for a breakout year.

Well, those are a few things I look for out of Aaron Rodgers in the (probably short) time we will see him play Saturday. What are you looking forward to? What do you want to see out of Aaron? Let me know in the comments section below. And as always…

GO PACK!!!

 


Comments

AM Quickslant: 3 Targets for Aaron Rodgers Versus the Rams — 9 Comments

  1. While I would be happy to see all that you wrote Brady I think Aaron is already on his game and should take at the most 6 to 8 snaps then sit. I want to see more from Scott I think with more time on the field he takes the back up spot from Matt then they keep him and cut Matt. I like him but he will never be anything but a back up as to where Scott has a chance to be molded into a starter down the road. And this way they can also keep Rettig on the PS for a couple years to mold h also. But we all know Aaron is the answer to this teams success for many years to come so he must stay healthy!

  2. I agree with everything from the article. I’ll be looking to see if the offense starts out executing at a high level. McCarthy’s teams typically start slow in the season and catch fire late. With Chicago and Detroit improving yearly, it’s more important than ever to start fast and keep building upon it.

    I also expect Tolzien to put a stronger hold on the backup QB position. But, I think they keep both he and Flynn, as neither is eligible for the practice squad – and hopefully management has learned from last year. Looking for Flynn to show vast improvement over last week, or it’s not even a contest for the #2 spot. I’ll give Rettig the benefit of the doubt after a single preseason game, but he needs lots of improvement to be more than a PS development player at this point. Also still a crap shoot for punt/kickoff returner. Hopefully someone steps up this week. Lastly, I’d like to see the D get more pressure on the opposing QBs. The starters did well, other than the TN scoring run from the 13, but the pressure I was hoping to see wasn’t really there either. It should be there from the base D, not needing fancy blitz schemes.

  3. Your comment regarding the lack of slant passes in the GB offense brought to mind something I have observed . Aaron is a great QB however one area he seems to have problems connecting with are on screens or swing passes to the backs . I don’t see anything written about this or even comments on message boards. So,is it just me that thinks this ?? Curious what you and others feel .

    • My son and I were JUST talking about that the other day! That is the one area that Aaron seems slightly weak in. I think there will be an emphasis on swing passes ans screens and I think Aaron will improve in that area markedly this season. I think the reason Aaron does not throw these passes quite as well is twofold:
      1. It hasn’t been a point of emphasis – we just don’t do it that often
      2. Most of the time, those passes are “checkdowns” not primaries…often times the swing pass is the result of Aaron checking down which means coverage was tight and he took more time. More time means it is more likely that he is passing under duress. I have noted this on several occasions.
      Thanks for reading Edward!

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