4,569 yards passing, 40 TDs and 12 wins (and counting) isn’t good enough for everybody
Well, not everybody is enamored with Aaron Rodgers. Here’s what Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL for over three decades, had to say about Green Bay’s Pro Bowl quarterback: ”I’m not saying this to be bold or controversial, but I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is playing particularly great football,” stated Howard’s more soft-spoken but equally opinionated nephew. “I think he’s so physically gifted – he can throw it on the run better than anyone in this league – but he’s leaving an awful lot of plays on the field.”
I would agree that Rodgers is leaving plays on the field. In fact, there’s no denying that the league’s reigning MVP has missed more open receivers than usual this season. But I’m not as willing to go along with these sentiments: ”I think he’s indecisive and tentative in the pocket,” opined Cosell. “He’s not pulling the trigger on throws that are there. I think this has been an ongoing thing all throughout the season.”
The idea that Rodgers is indecisive and tentative in the pocket is a bit hyperbolic. Are there instances when he’s been indecisive and tentative in the pocket? Of course, but all quarterbacks get that way at times – especially quarterbacks who are protected by Evan Dietrich-Smith, Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay and who face defenses that drop as many as seven or eight players into coverage on a consistent basis.
To be perfectly fair, Cosell also said some nice things. For example: “No defense is built to cover, whether it’s zone or man, for four, five or six seconds. No defense it built to do that. And Rodgers, with his ability to extend plays – not only extend them, but then make throws at the intermediate and deeper levels, which is something not a whole lot of quarterbacks can do – that’s the burden he puts on your defense.”
All in all, I think Cosell made some valid points, but I also believe he’s nitpicking. When I watch the coaches’ tape (thanks again NFL Rewind), I honestly don’t see that many receivers running wide open in the secondary. And I sure as heck don’t see a quarterback who looks perpetually indecisive and tentative.
What I do see is a quarterback who refuses to force balls into coverage and who is willing to take a sack when the alternative is a possible turnover. And while that might not be good enough for Cosell, it’s been good enough to get Green Bay to within two wins of their second Super Bowl in three years. Something tells me 31 other coaches wish their quarterbacks were as tentative and indecisive in the pocket as Rodgers.