No. Uh-uh. Nope. Nay. Nah. No way. No way, José. Negative. Veto. Out of the question. No siree. For foul nor fair. Not on your life. Not on your Nelly. Not on your tintype. Not for all the tea in China. Not in a million years. Under no circumstances. Not likely. Not for Joe. A big ol’ thumbs down. Only if pigs fly. Not a cat’s chance in hell. Fat chance. Go fish.
If you’re a Packers fan, you are fully within your rights to get upset, flustered or even downright angry if Aaron Rodgers misses an easy throw or an easy read that would have advanced the game, especially in situations where losses ensue directly after. But, when it comes to thinking the Packers have any sort of quarterback problem, y’all gotta chill. To quote my good friend and colleague Kyle Crabbs, there are probably 27 teams in the NFL that would trade every first round pick they have over the next three years for Rodgers, age and all.
And he’s not wrong.
Aaron Rodgers has over 3,000 yards with 19 touchdowns and one interception this season. So he missed an easy throw on 3rd-and-two against Seattle with the game winding down. So maybe he missed an easier read on a play earlier in the game. Do you want him to make those throws? Sure. But please remember to have context. Missing a small throw does not completely wipe out what was two unreal deep throws earlier in the game, and the countless amount of unbelievable throws that only the quarterback currently wearing No. 12 for the Packers can make. Missing a handful of bunnies that are annoying to watch a player as good as Aaron Rodgers miss does not mean that he is bad or that he is a problem. Let them be what they are: annoying little mistakes. And realize that without Rodgers, we’re finding out there isn’t a whole lot around that Packers team at all, at this point.
What the Packers really have is a head coaching problem. Mike McCarthy’s time is running out very quickly in Green Bay, and that game against the Seattle Seahawks might have been his nail in the coffin. For one, how does he not challenge that throw deep down the field to Tyler Lockett? The ball was clearly aided by the ground at the catch, and reversing that play would have likely been the difference maker in the game. And then there’s the decision to punt the ball with one timeout after Rodgers missed that easy throw on 3rd-and-two. McCarthy was asked about it after the game said they were “playing the numbers.”
… My guy…
The only numbers that matter are Aaron Rodgers’ stats that I just spouted off a few paragraphs ago, and his stats for years before that. The numbers that matter are the ones to support the fact that you have the most talented quarterback in the game on the field looking at you to call a play to get two freaking yards.
You didn’t play the numbers. You were scared.
That wasn’t the first McCarthy blunder of the season, either. The fans in Green Bay have been increasingly aware of his inability to adapt and be the play caller he’s needed to be over the most recent seasons. For example, give running back Aaron Jones the ball — that one’s for free, the next one will cost you. McCarthy has become a major problem for this Packers team, and you can even see it in the way Rodgers is playing himself. Rodgers has lost confidence in McCarthy, so he’s going unorthodox, and McCarthy seems overwhelmed. Anytime your head coach becomes overwhelmed, it’s often curtains.
But it’s not just McCarthy. We’re also finding out that the Packers’ roster isn’t really up to par around their quarterback, either. I think cornerback Micah Hyde was more important than this team anticipated when they let him walk a while ago, and starting three very young secondary players paired with much older ones with no in between is proving to be a costly combo. Guys like Jimmy Graham and Mohammed Wilkerson haven’t exactly panned out, either, though not all of that is each player’s fault. And to wrap it up the pass rush for Green Bay isn’t much of a rush, more of a jog, and I don’t think their current pace is sustainable.
All of that to say that it’s a safe assumption that the Packers’ two first round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft are going to be important. Right now, as the team sits at 4-5-1, they currently have the No. 17 and No. 30 picks in the first round (the second one from the Saints for the Marcus Davenport trade).
Here’s a mini-mock draft that could help them.
No. 17: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Even though Kyler Fackrell went off for three sacks against the Seahawks recently, I still think the Packers would be wise to keep looking at EDGE help before offering him a mega-contract (sarcasm, folks).
The Packers are likely in the running for a few nice edge players at this range, and that should bode well for them. Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat and Florida State’s Brain Burns are two additional options here, but I chose Polite because I think he can be the best speed rusher off the edge with the comfortable medium is size. Polite (6-foot-2, 245 pounds) has a great jump off the snap, and if he’s ever one-on-one with an offensive tackle, he has the moves and the counter moves to get back and get to the ball.
No. 30: Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Jimmy Graham was a nice idea, but it hasn’t been what many fantasy football players hoped it would be (myself included).
Rodgers needs a go-to tight end to help complete a receiving rotation of Davante Adams and now Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Kaden Smith can absolutely be that. Smith is a three-down tight end, but one who can also be used as a slot receiver. Smith is 6-foot-5, 255 pound and is pretty dang athletic for that size. He’s a natural with movements and catching the ball away from his body, and he’s reliable over the middle.
So, is Aaron Rodgers the problem? No. He’s your quarterback, and he’s one of the best.
And as long as you have a quarterback, there’s always a chance you’re just one good draft away from contention again.