When Mike McCarthy decided to give up play calling to offensive coordinator Tom Clements there was lots of speculation that Aaron Rodgers would be calling all the plays at the line of scrimmage like Peyton Manning supposedly does. Rodgers put that to bed in his comments to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky.
“Well, Peyton doesn’t do that,” Rodgers said. “Nobody does that. I think everybody would want a starting point,” Rodgers said. “We all have moments where we have [called the plays], whether it’s a no-huddle situation or two-minute. Everybody wants a starting point. It’s tough to have to call every single play, so it’s always nice when you can have a good starting point and you can make a slight adjustment if you have to.”
The notion that Rodgers would be calling all the plays from the line of scrimmage was crazy to begin with. You have to realize all the responsibilities of the quarterback to know that can’t happen. Most of the play calling is already prepared during the week between the offensive coordinator and the quarterback.
There’s normally only about 50 or 60 plays in a gameplan for each game out of the thousands in the big playbook, and they have been all been broken down into certain downs and distances and rehearsed throughout the week. There is an audible sheet the comes along with the primary plays sheet, so most quarterbacks don’t just have the whole playbook available to them at the line of scrimmage. It’s hard to make an audible to a play that hasn’t been rehearsed during the week because not everybody may be aware of their assignment.
So even if Rodgers has knowledge of every play in the big book it’s not what he knows, but about what his teammates know. So, he can’t just audible to something that wasn’t gone over during the week unless he feels very confident everybody knows what they’re doing. That’s why the Packers should be such a lethal offense this year with every starter returning. It’s not just about the talent, but the cohesiveness of the unit.
Rodgers mentioned liking to have a starting point because it just makes things much easier. With an audible comes changing the protection schemes and the route combinations. This can be hard to communicate in a loud road environment like Seattle. So, the first play call that comes into Rodgers is still very important and it will be Clements making that first call — not Rodgers.