The Green Bay Packers were bailed out by a terrible call in the first half of their game on Sunday, and the Carolina Panthers have every right to be furious about it.
Facing 3rd-and-13 from deep in Green Bay territory, Rodgers was just barely able to get rid of a pass from his own end zone before he was taken to the turf. The hit looked clean, but defensive lineman Gerald McCoy was flagged for a personal foul. McCoy did not hit Rodgers high, and it even appeared he made an effort to not land directly on top of the quarterback.
I have no idea how this is roughing the passer on the Panthers against Aaron Rodgers pic.twitter.com/dmF0LQVcs8
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) November 10, 2019
Rather than having to punt from their own end zone, the Packers were awarded a first down. The call was a complete game-changer at a time when the Panthers were trailing 14-10.
The NFL has made an effort to crack down on roughing the passer over the past few years, but we have seen far too many questionable calls that change the outcome of games. The call on McCoy was certainly one of them.
Aaron Rodgers has a reputation for being a difficult teammate to play with at times, but the Green Bay Packers star became one of the best quarterbacks in football by demanding excellence. According to one young receiver, living up to the two-time MVP’s expectations is not all that difficult.
Allen Lazard, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State last year, played a huge role in Green Bay’s win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night with four catches for 65 yards and a key touchdown in the fourth quarter. When asked this week about the difficulties of getting in-sync with Rodgers, Lazard had a great response.
Spoke with #Packers WR Allen Lazard (undrafted free agent last year), who had a big 4th quarter versus Lions. Asked him if it's hard getting on same page with Aaron Rodgers. "It's not as hard as people think. You just listen and you do."
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) October 18, 2019
Davante Adams is expected to miss another game this weekend with turf toe and both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison have missed practice all week, so Lazard may be asked to play a big role against the Oakland Raiders. If his fourth-quarter performance on Monday is any indication, he should be up to the task.
Rodgers supposedly had some serious issues with his receiving corps last season, but former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy may have been a big factor in that. At the end of the day, Rodgers is probably no more difficult to play with than Tom Brady is or Peyton Manning was. As Lazard said, all you really have to do is pay attention.
The Green Bay Packers couldn’t capitalize on two straight and-goal situations to end their 34-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, and their playcalling is something that is being scrutinized.
In the first situation, the Packers were down 34-27 with around nine minutes left and threw four straight incompletions. In the second, they had the ball at the seven, ran Aaron Jones for four yards, and then Aaron Rodgers’ second down pass was deflected and intercepted to seal the win for Philly.
How did Rodgers feel about the playcalls? The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman quoted Rodgers as saying after the game that he felt good about all four pass calls on the second-to-last possession.
Rodgers on turning the ball over on downs on goal line in fourth quarter after four straight passes: “I felt good about all four calls.”
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 27, 2019
During a media session at the podium after the game, Rodgers talked about the missed opportunities.
“We had chances. We had a lot of chances down the stretch. We moved the ball well, we just struggled in the red zone. Two field goals, four passes at the one, and obviously the turnover,” Rodgers said.
The way Rodgers specifically called out the “four passes at the one” makes us wonder whether he was second guessing the playcalling and pointing out the lack of variety, or whether he was just recounting the chances he had and failed to capitalize on.
Once again, the Packers continued their trend of scoring points in the first half and sputtering in the second half. They punted on their first two possessions of the second half after putting themselves in holes with weak first-down run attempts on each possession. The Eagles’ rush defense is the second-best in the league and they have the fourth-worst pass defense. Yet for some reason Matt LaFleur was playing right into their hands with the early-down runs. Then when they were at the one-yard line, they could have spread out the formation and tried to sneak one in, and they didn’t even try that once.
Their entire approach makes you wonder what kind of studying of the Eagles they did and whether they have any intention of fixing their biggest weakness on defense.
- Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers was holding his right hand and wrist area after losing a fumble on a strip sack by Derek Barnett just before halftime of “Thursday Night Football” between his Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Packers had a 2nd-and-6 at their 29 with two minutes left in the half as they trailed 14-13 to the Eagles. Barnett blew around Marcedes Lewis and came up on an unsuspecting Rodgers and swatted the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. Rodgers was grabbing his right hand after being swatted.
— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2019
Rodgers was later shown throwing on the sidelines, indicating any potential injury was not serious. Rodgers returned to the field after the Eagles scored a touchdown to go up 21-13 following the fumble recovery.
Rodgers was 13/16 for 180 yards prior to losing the fumble, which helped the Eagles extend their lead from one to eight points.
The Green Bay Packers weren’t thrilled with how their offense performed in their 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 1, and they’re trying some new things to make it better now.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested a new strategy during practice Friday by wearing a wristband with coach Matt LaFleur’s lengthy playcalls on his wrist in a bid to speed up the tempo of the offense.
“It gets [the play] out of my mouth a lot faster, I’ll tell you that much,” LaFleur said Friday, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “So yeah, maybe it helps me get him the play a little bit quicker.”
LaFleur would not guarantee that Rodgers would use the cheat sheet in Sunday’s game. On Wednesday, however, Rodgers had said that increasing the tempo was a huge focus for the Packers during practices.
“We do have some long calls in the plan — that’s just the way the offense is,” Rodgers said. “There’s a number of checks for different plays. It’s getting that call in and repeating it and going out there and trying to execute as quickly as possible. The great thing about this offense and the communication is we had a great debrief Monday and Tuesday about everything. We made some subtle changes to hopefully help with some of that tempo.”
There was nothing excessively wrong with Rodgers’ performance in Week 1, as he went 18-of-30 for 203 yards and a touchdown. It was clear he and his teammates were still getting used to the offense, though, and moving a bit too deliberately to be truly effective. They were still better than the Bears, though, which was all that mattered.
- Aaron Rodgers
The Green Bay Packers’ defense looked awesome on Thursday night, and nobody was happier about it than Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers celebrated the Packers defense clinching the 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears by giving defensive coordinator Mike Pettine a huge shove. The shove was done in a congratulatory way, demonstrating how impressed Rodgers was.
— KellyiztheBest (@kellyizthebest) September 6, 2019
Other Packers players also recognized what Pettine had done:
Now THAT'S a happy group of humans! #Kickoff2019
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 6, 2019
Rodgers continued his approval during his interview with NBC’s Michele Tafoya after the game.
“We got a defense,” Rodgers said twice.
The Packers haven’t had a top-10 defense since 2010, the season they won the Super Bowl. You can see the excitement and relief in Rodgers’ eyes over having a defense that can help them win games.
Mike Pettine’s Defense
9 pass deflections
11 quarterback hits
1 game-sealing interception
Emphatic praise from Rodgers pic.twitter.com/xgZ13srDkS
— IKE Packers (@IKE_Packers) September 6, 2019
Now that they’ve got their defense squared away, the Packers need to figure out their offense, because that was lacking on Thursday night.
Is this the new and improved NFL? One play from the second half of Thursday night’s Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game may suggest so.
Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks took down Aaron Rodgers just after the Packers quarterback threw away a ball in the third quarter. Hicks wrapped his arms around Rodgers near the quarterback’s neck and took him down roughly.
WTF is this pic.twitter.com/J27oMY1oAa
— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) September 6, 2019
That is the same kind of play that probably would have drawn a flag last year for roughing the passer. We saw bogus penalty calls on much less.
Football Zebras, a Twitter account pertaining to NFL referees, shared why they believe no infraction was called.
QB does not have protection from the 1-step rule when on the run, although it looks like the defender even initiated contact within that limit. Additionally, the defender pulled him down in a manner to avoid roughing by landing on him with full body weight. https://t.co/lEoM9q4X4P
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) September 6, 2019
Back when Clay Matthews was getting called for all sorts of penalties last season, Rodgers stood up for defenders and spoke out against the penalty calls. Keep that in mind before you complain about the lack of a call, Packers fans.
A league that uses common sense and doesn’t penalize defenders for continuing their momentum with a tackle but not doing so excessively is one we like to see.