Ever since the Packers fizzled out last week in their loss against the Detroit Lions, armchair quarterbacks have been second-guessing head coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers alike. For some, the season is already over before it began. Others are calling for McCarthy’s head. A few are calling for Rodgers’.
The offensive scheme has become stale and predictable. Rodgers’ is past his peak. Oh, internet, you irrational little thing. Don’t ever change.
Fans always seem to freak out after a loss, but perhaps it’s time to take a page from Aaron himself. In his weekly radio show with ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde, Rodgers offered some timely advice:
Five letters here, just for everybody out there in Packer land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We’re going to be okay.
But what does that mean?
It means Aaron Rodgers has seen your complaints and has made a note of them.
It means that asinine assumptions that filming commercials equates a terrible performance on the field. The same goes for relationships. Many players have endorsement deals (many in a larger capacity than Rodgers) and I’m pretty sure there are other elite quarterbacks out there that aren’t catching flak for having the audacity of having a relationship that’s none of our business. So just stop the celibate Bull Durham imagery already.
And for the record, Yoko Ono did not break up the Beatles either.
It means he knows he well aware he tried to force the ball to Jordy Nelson too many times and didn’t realize that Randall Cobb was wide open for a touchdown on more than one occasion.
It means he is still proficient at throwing a screen pass and it’s still in his bag of tricks.
It means he’s well aware that forcing the run from the parking lot has a good chance of winding up as two points for the other side if your line doesn’t pull well and block.
It means he already knows he shouldn’t be throwing a block for Lacy, Starks or Harris unless wants to get pancaked by someone outweighing him by thirty or forty pounds. And yes, I’m pretty sure he knows he can’t tackle for squat either.
It means he’s pretty aware that the offense runs the Zebra package (3 WR-1 TE-1RB) nearly 8 out of 10 plays. With the weapon of unpredictability with the no-huddle offense ironically comes with a fairly predictable offensive package. Yes, there’s only so many ways to skin a cat and a lot of 3 down sequences will be Run-Run-Throw (or go to Kuhn if he’s in the package.) He’s aware that everyone can guess what McCarthy’s plan, especially if their on the goal line.
It means he knows he’s eaten too many sacks when he should’ve dumped the ball off sooner. But he also knows that he has all of 0.5 second before the pocket collapses and he has to either fish or cut bait?
It means he knows his accuracy has been so-so. He’s either hot or he’s cold, and he’s seen the film enough times that he is well aware that he is throwing the ball behind running receivers and not in front of them.
But do you know what this also means?
It means Aaron Rodgers–unlike a bunch of band wagoning fans–hasn’t given up on the season. Good lord, it’s only game 4 this week. He’s pretty sure the San Francisco 49ers (with the same 1-2 start) aren’t panicking yet.
It means he has been working on his timing.
It means the offense needs and will adjust to the cover-2 defensive scheme. And yes, he’s well aware the 2 shell is a perennial favorite of the Chicago Bears, whom the Packers are facing this Sunday.
It means he’s not giving up on the running game despite its difficulty moving north-south last week. A diversified offense makes that Zebra package a little less predictable. He knows the run needs to be established early so that defenses need to hedge their bets against the Packers offense.
It means a 1 and 2 start has absolutely nothing to do with bones he broke a year ago.
It means he trusts his offensive line to not let him get squashed. They have his back, and the last thing he’s going to do is throw them under the bus.
It means he’d rather take a page from Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding and get busy living instead of getting busy dying.
It means he doesn’t care what theory you may have, because chances are it is dead wrong.
It means he doesn’t want you to tell him how to do his job, and in return he’s not going to tell you how to do yours.
It means Aaron Rodgers, the same quarterback that looked scared and tentative at times last week has found his swagger. He doesn’t need you to tell him the odds, because he’s already seen them.
It means Rodgers has a fire in his belly and that chip is once again on his shoulder.
There’s a lot of season left and Rodgers is not willing to give up yet. And to paraphrase a line from one of Rodgers’s favorite movies, “Never go in against a fired up quarterback when there is the season on the line.”
The season is far from over. There is only one game that separates the top from the very bottom of the NFC North.