It’s week nine of the 2013 NFL season and Shea McClellin comes roaring off the edge to sack Aaron Rodgers. He fractured his left clavicle. The Packers went winless over the next six weeks and fell to a slump in a weak NFC North.
The drop-off in production had people wonder – just how important is the quarterback position? Most teams can gameplan around a new quarterback by adding misdirection or scheming the replacement into quick release throws.
So why the drop-off? Aaron Rodgers isn’t a quarterback – he’s Aaron Rodgers.
Only Green Bay can run some of the plays they draw up because only A-Rod can make those throws. They’re designed for one man and the organisation really hasn’t done a good job of getting weapons around him, nor have they reinforced their defence in the hope that he will have to score less points.
Players like James Jones and Davante Adams would be average starters for most teams, but Rodgers will elevate them. The concepts are trickier for quarterbacks to understand and the expected level of execution is fairly much refined to one man’s ability.
When you have a player like Rodgers, you can afford to take that risk, but we’re about to see just how ugly it gets when you’ve any quarterback replacing Rodgers – let alone a fifth-round pick in Brett Hundley.
The Packers’ offensive line is a bit broken up at the minute with injuries.
Rodgers slips seamlessly out of the tackle box to extend plays to the point where defensive backs simply can’t cover his receivers any more.
A theory was devised among NFL head coaches a few years ago – that this was going to be the next big thing – they were wrong.
Mobile quarterbacks have typically failed miserably in the league – Russell Wilson aside. At the end of the day, it all boils down to intelligence. If you don’t have a football IQ, you have nothing.
There are the intangibles that make drafting a quarterback so difficult. In college football, everything is simplified for them and it’s near-impossible to judge their mental strength in most situations.
What Rodgers has, is a combination of mobility, intelligence and arm strength. Nobody has anywhere near the level of ability he possesses at the position. Not even Tom Brady – even if Brady will go down as the ‘greater’ quarterback.
Hundley’s learned under Rodgers for a couple of years now, but there’s no substitute for experience.
The scheme will have to be completely overhauled, and the Packers will have their paper-thin roster exposed on both sides of the ball.
While the biggest losers are most definitely the Green Bay Packers, any casual fan should be mourning the loss of Rodgers. It’s not too often in your life, that you get to witness true sporting genius.
Rodgers is up there with some of the most naturally talented people on the planet and the league is a worse place without him.