After Further Review How Aaron Rodgers is showing critics hes still Aaron Rodgers

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After Further Review How Aaron Rodgers is showing critics hes still Aaron Rodgers

There have been times in games over the past two seasons when things weren't going well for quarterback , times when he hardly resembled his top-of-the-quarterback-pecking-order self. NFL Playoffs That led to talk that he wasn't the same player; truth be told, his numbers and production warranted that type of talk. The reality of the situation: There were reasons his numbers were down, some scheme, some talent, and some, quite frankly, his play. The high-risk quarterback -- one who was always willing to fire Cedric Peerman Jersey rifle shots into small windows anywhere at any time from any spot on the field -- was gone, replaced by an unsteady pa ser who didn't look anything like the guy we had come to know. There were too many times he didn't get through his reads fast enough and too many times where he didn't throw on time. His pa ses sailed high, low and wide of the target. What had come of Aaron Rodgers? SportsLine That led to an avalanche of stupidity, topped by the moronic notion that Rodgers wasn't the same guy and never would be again. Six weeks into the 2016 season, backed by data that saw his pa ser rating and every other number plummet like the temperatures do when a Green Bay winter day turns to night, Rodgers was being shredded by most everyone, some foolish enough to think he might even be benched at some point -- if not immediately, then maybe in the near future. The talk was foolish then, and even more so now, as Rodgers has had a seven-game stretch that basically served as a stick-it-to-you-all me sage to those doubters. You know deep down this ultracompetitive man is enjoying the ride. When the Packers were floundering at 4-6, and seemingly on the verge of going nowhere, Rodgers said the Packers . Many laughed at him. They did run the table, and now they are in the divisional round of the playoffs and will face the on Sunday. Rodgers got them there with four touchdown pa ses last week against the in a 38-13 wild-card victory. But even in that game, a slow start had some questioning whether he was back to being the Rodgers we saw early this season and for much of 2015. It was Rodgers' play in 2015 and early 2016 that had fans and misguided media members making him their quarterback piata, beating him endle sly for 12 months. That's a long time, not just a slump, so some of it was understandable. Only Rodgers didn't break. He got better. Those critics all Trey Hopkins Jersey forgot that 2015 was marred by the lo s of top receiver in the summer with a torn ACL. And they forget that Nelson took six games to really get it going this season and get back to his pre-injury form. And they forgot the simplicity of the Green Bay pa sing game -- all the ISO routes -- and lack of a true running game made for tough going on offense. They simply blamed Rodgers for his below-normal 16-game stretch over 2015 and early 2016, killing us with data, but neglecting the real i sues. During the recent seven-game run, including last week's game against the Giants, Rodgers has thrown 19 touchdown pa ses and no interceptions. If you include the week before, when he seemed to rediscover his supposedly lost magic as the Packers fell to the , it's 22 touchdown pa ses and no picks. Rodgers has four touchdown pa ses in each of the past three games. Unreal. Even as Rodgers readied to play the Giants, the question was whether it would continue. A slow start that saw Rodgers complete four of his first 10 pa ses kept that storyline alive, but things changed with one throw. That has been a Rodgers staple for a long time. When Rodgers is going bad, it usually takes one pinpoint, amazing throw to get him going and in rhythm. That throw came late in the second quarter when he hit on the right sideline for 31 yards to set up the Packers' first touchdown. Here's a look at that play: On the play, the Giants showed a two-deep look. But it was a disguise for a robber coverage that saw safety drop down into the middle, leaving a single-high safety in corner , who was playing in the deep middle. Rodgers obviously read the disguised coverage, since it was clear he was going to Adams the entire time. If there had been a split safety on that side, he probably would not have Preston Brown Jersey been able to make that throw -- even with his big arm. So after reading it, Rodgers dropped a dime into the arms of Adams, who beat . From that point on, Rodgers seemed to be in a groove. The pre-snap read was as important as the throw, which was of the "wow" variety. To get a better idea of how Rodgers and the Packers offense have improved, I decided to study closely the team's game against the Giants in Week 4 when things weren't going that well for the offense. I also looked closely at last week's game. In between, I also watched a handful of other games to get an idea as to why the offense clicked down the stretch. Here are some of the things I saw:The team went back to more of the West Coast basics, which is getting the ball out on slants and quick stuff, rather than just the deep ISO routes. They still don't use a lot of bunch formations to get receivers open, but there was more pre-snap movement in the past seven weeks, which seemed to help.Nelson was back to being Nelson. Early in the season, he seemed to be laboring at times, which slowed the offense. Without a real threat outside, one that commanded a double-team some of the time, the offense wasn't the same as it was before Nelson tore up his knee. , who showed in 2015 that he was more of a No. 2 receiver than a No. 1 receiver, also mi sed some time, playing in 13 games. And Adams, who improved immensely in the second half, had four 100-yard plus games since Week 7 after having one in his first 25 games.One more thing: The receivers started winning. Early in the season, it was clear Rodgers didn't trust them. They weren't getting open, and he wasn't letting it loose. That led to uncertainty and a sense of jumpine s in the pocket for Rodgers. He looked unsure and frustrated. This was despite having really good protection for much of that time. Here's a look at a play from the first Giants game where it's clear the receivers weren't getting open -- and when one did on the scramble, Rodgers didn't see him: Hitting guys after his scrambles has become an enormous part of his game -- head up, ball down the field. It wasn't happening early this season because even after he left the pocket, his receivers were plastered. Rodgers was inaccurate in the early part of this season. When given the chance to make big plays, he mi sed more than usual. Rodgers is one of those quarterbacks who can throw from a variety of launch points, with his body contorted in strange ways, but his mechanics seemed to wane as the frustration increased. His feet weren't as good, and his pa ses sailed or skipped. When he rolled out, the balls seemed to fly past the target. Pa ses he would normally hit were now incomplete. You could sense the angst on every throw. Here's one bad throw from that Giants game: He had Nelson in the deep middle for a shot -- still a tough throw -- but his wild throw sailed high. His receiver had no chance. In that first Giants game, which the Packers won, Rodgers was 23 of 45 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. His completion percentage was 51.1, his lowest in a game since 2014. Rodgers followed that up by mi sing a bunch of throws and throwing a bad interception in a lo s to the Cowboys. Then after the Packers beat the , they lost four in a row, putting the quarterback firmly in the cro shairs. That changed with a big game in a lo s at Washington -- where he again started slowly but had a dynamic game after that -- and then with a road victory against the . The Packers haven't lost since. In watching last week's tape against the Giants, Rodgers seemed frustrated early on. He was again jumpy and not on time with his throws. Here's a look at a play from the first quarter where he mi sed on a cro ser because he stayed on his first read to the right way too long: After A J Green Jersey the key 31-yard pa s to Adams that we covered earlier, it was back to the Rodgers who was torrid during the winning streak. I like to say when he's at his best that his rifle-shot pa ses never go much higher than the defender's earhole. We saw that on one of Cobb's three touchdown catches. Take a look: On the play, it appeared Rodgers wanted to go to Cook inside, but he was bumped off his route. So was Cobb outside of him. Rodgers came back to the left, but didn't like what he saw. With great protection, he then saw Cobb come free acro s the end line and he fired a pa s to him for the touchdown. Notice that the pa s barely got higher than the player's helmet. That was vintage Rodgers. When Rodgers led the Packers to their Super Bowl victory after the 2010 season, it capped a postseason where he was almost unstoppable in three of the team's four postseason games, including the Super Bowl. I was there when he lit up the in the divisional round, competing 31 of 36 pa ses for 366 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and averaging 10.17 yards per attempt. As he walked from the stadium that day, stopping to sign some autographs for some workers, I remember thinking to myself that I just witne sed one of the great quarterback games in league history -- and how there was so much more to come. Rodgers has indeed played great in subsequent years, and it should be clear to anyone at this point that the talk of his demise earlier this season was so off base. Rodgers might be playing the best football of his career the past eight weeks (including that lo s to the Redskins). If it stays that way, he just might get the Packers another ring, which would be his second. Not bad for a guy some said wasn't the same player in October. They said that about a few years ago after a lousy game in Kansas City, and all he did was go on Michael Johnson Jersey that season to win a Super Bowl. Rodgers is super (or Super?) hot, and it wouldn't be a shock to see him win it all. Even if he doesn't, one thing is certain: Rodgers is far from done as one of the game's best quarterbacks.
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