NFL Defensive Coach on Aaron Rodgers: 'I Don't Want to F--k with That Guy'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2020

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFL NFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Aaron Rodgers may be on the downside of his prime, but he still strikes fear into opposing coaches.

"I know some people don't like him because of whatever, but all I know is, if you picked five quarterbacks you don't want to play every week, he is one of them," a defensive coach with NFC North experience told Mike Sando of The Athletic.

"I don't want to f--k with that guy. You can say what you want, but when you go into a game, that is the first guy you are preparing for. It ain't the running back, it ain't the receiver because he has free-agent running backs and third-round receivers, fourth-round receivers, just dudes, no tight end. You are worried about that dude."

Rodgers has been good but not spectacular since returning from an injury-plagued 2017. He threw for 4,002 yards and 26 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2019. While his ability to avoid turnovers is nearly unmatched, Rodgers has seen his accuracy and ability to complete downfield throws dip over the last two seasons.

ESPN's QBR ranked Rodgers 20th among quarterbacks last season, and Football Outsiders' DVOA metric had  him 13th. While some other advanced numbers were more favorable, it's clear Rodgers has regressed from being considered the without-question best quarterback in football.

Rodgers is now more accurately among the best half-dozen at his position, an important distinction when it comes to assessing how much he can lift up weaknesses on the Packers offense.

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"He has clearly lost something in his game," one coach told Sando. "He still has 'wow' moments and games, but is not the same guy he was the last 10 years."

Rodgers has been undone a little by his team's scheme, as Mike McCarthy was unimpressive late in his tenure and Matt LaFleur did little to make huge improvements in 2019. Still, Rodgers will have an even brighter spotlight on his performance this season with Jordan Love waiting in the wings.