Tucker: Rodgers' Ability Is His Gift – And His Curse

Aaron Rodgers makes the spectacular look easy; it's the routine that he sometimes struggles with

The DA Show
November 16, 2018 - 12:42 pm

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Aaron Rodgers, as usual, authored a handful of ridiculous, are-you-kidding-me throws Thursday night in Seattle. Unfortunately for the Packers (4-5-1), he also missed several routine plays that could have been the difference in Green Bay’s 27-24 loss.

“At least five or six,” NFL analyst Ross Tucker said on The DA Show. “It’s a major, major problem. He took some sacks that he absolutely should not take. If you look historically at what happens to drives where you get sacked, your chance of scoring points on that drive – and even converting that next first down – drop precipitously. Some of them, he could have just thrown the ball away. Others, though, he had wide-open Aaron Jones on the check-down, and he wouldn't throw him the check-down.”

Green Bay led 14-3 in the first quarter but scored just 10 points the rest of the way – and just three points after halftime. As for Jones, he finished with five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

The check-downs were working, so why didn’t Rodgers stick with it?

“I think sometimes maybe his physical ability is his gift and his curse,” Tucker said of Rodgers. “His physical ability is why he made two absolutely ridiculous throws last night. The one to (Robert) Tonyan – whoever that dude is – for the touchdown. The other one dropped in the bucket kind of off his back foot to (Davante) Adams was just amazing. I think that is why so many people are such big Aaron Rodgers fans and so many people believe he’s the best quarterback – because he’s certainly the most spectacular and the most entertaining quarterback. But a lot of times what wins games is making the routine play.

“I think that’s why Brady is better,” Tucker continued. “That’s why Brady has won more. Brady is never going to have the spectacular that Rodgers has, but the best way I would describe him is he’s the best we’ve ever seen at making the routine play consistently. So whether it’s not taking a sack, throwing to the right guy, throwing the ball away, throwing to the check-down – it’s boring. It’s not on the highlights. But it’s the difference, a lot of times, between winning and losing – and Brady is the best at the routine that we’ve ever seen.”

Rodgers finished with a great stat line: 21-of-30 for 332 yards and two touchdowns. But the five sacks were back-breaking – and several seemed avoidable.

“I’ve heard that he really cares a lot about his quarterback rating. He has the best quarterback rating of all time, so maybe he doesn’t want to throw the ball away,” Tucker said. “I’ve seen him in recent years do a better job of throwing the ball away, so I don’t think it’s that. I don’t know if he doesn’t see it, doesn’t trust it. I don’t think it’s a patience thing as much as a confidence thing. I think he has that much confidence in his ability to be able to make the big throw down the field for a big gain, big play, that he doesn’t want to just take the underneath stuff because he’s confident that he’s talented enough and good enough to do more.”

That may be so, but the Packers have dropped three of four and four of six and are now 0-5 on the road this season. They’ll try for their first road victory next Sunday in Minnesota (5-3-1). Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.