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Post time 2019-05-15 11:41:33 | Show all posts |Read mode
Aaron Rodgers wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate his 35th birthday.Not after another loss for the sliding Green Bay Packers.The same problems keep popping up for the offense JK Scott Jersey , most glaringly, empty third downs and a lack of explosive plays.But Sunday's 20-17 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals was definitely a surprise. Coach Mike McCarthy was fired after Green Bay stumbled once again."We're just not executing well and it's the same things over and over," Rodgers said before the coaching change was announced.The loss to one of the NFL's worst teams was another blow to the fading playoff hopes for the Packers (4-7-1). Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was promoted to interim head coach.It's still mathematically possible for Green Bay to catch NFC North-leading Chicago (8-4), which lost to the Giants.To do that though, a once-productive offense will have to find its way."We didn't play well today. I'm not going to sit up here and try to sugarcoat it," McCarthy said right after the loss.Green Bay's tough day helped the Cardinals shatter the image of Lambeau Field as an intimidating venue for a warm-weather team in wintry conditions. The temperature at kickoff was 34 degrees, but the wind chill made it feel like 23. Flurries fell on and off throughout the game.Instead, the Packers looked out of sorts.A couple of Rodgers' throws were off, especially in the first half. There were too many drops by receivers. The offensive line lost its two starters on the right side when guard Byron Bell and tackle Bryan Bulaga left in the first half with knee injuries.Zane Gonzalez kicked a 44-yard field goal for Arizona with 1:41 left. Green Bay's Mason Crosby missed a 49-yard attempt as time expired.Crosby pushed his kick wide right, with the flags atop Lambeau blowing in toward the field at the time of the play. In pregame warmups, Crosby said kicks were going right to left."Both ends were fairly difficult. The wind was swirling," Crosby said. The final attempt "wanted to go right, so I was pretty shocked about, and obviously disappointed."The Packers won the Super Bowl under McCarthy in 2010. But this is a third straight year in which Green Bay has had extended struggles.In 2016 Kevin King Jersey , the Packers started 4-6 but won eight straight games to get to the NFC title game, losing to the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs in 2017, when Rodgers missed extensive time with a broken collarbone.This year, Rodgers hurt his left knee in the season opener, though he is feeling better now. Receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison have missed time with injuries.Cobb's return on Sunday didn't help, with the Packers just 3 of 14 on third down."I hate to repeat myself, but it's applicable. ... We're not executing the right way," Rodgers said."It's poor throws, not on the same page with receivers, wrong depth, protection," he added. "We all have a part in that and we've all picked our time to mess up a third down."The opening play of the fourth quarter was a perfect example of Green Bay's offensive struggles. Rodgers found Cobb for a 36-yard completion on third-and-11, but the play was wiped out by a holding penalty on right tackle Jason Spriggs.Rodgers said his focus was getting his teammates to "play with that pride" and focus on the next four games."Yeah, I mean I'm not even thinking about that right now Josh Jones Jersey ," Rodgers said when asked if he would have any role after the season with general manager Brian Gutekunst or team president Mark Murphy about what direction they should go with the coaching staff.The offensive players, Rodgers said, bear blame for whatever happens in the future."Yeah, a lot probably. We haven't played very well," he said. QBs by the dozens throw short of the marker, on a third down."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections The APC PodcastPackers Film RoomFantasy Football AdviceCSTShareTweetShareShareWhat does Matt LaFleur’s arrival mean for Aaron Rodgers’ third-down approach?Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsOne of the worst things a quarterback can do is to check down on third and long. Yes, sometimes a receiver will heroically make it to the sticks, but in general, if a quarterback doesn’t throw to the sticks, they are often (but as it turns out, not always!) conceding a punt, which is the equivalent of conceding a turnover.Every year, Football Outsiders measures a QB’s propensity to check down at the worst possible time through the stat of ALEX (Air Less EXpected, named in honor of Alex Smith). ALEX is a measure of whether or not quarterbacks throw to the sticks on third down. Checking down on third down is usually a bad idea Montravius Adams Jersey , and so ALEX was developed to shed light on the cowardly, while highlighting the accomplishments of the smart and brave. The good thing for the Green Bay Packers is that even in a down year, Aaron Rodgers, was smart and brave, throwing to the sticks on 3rd down more often than anyone outside of the otherworldly Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. The bad thing was that Rodgers wasn’t actually very good at completing those passes, because even though he was 2nd in ALEX, he was 21st in conversion rate. There are all sorts of reasons for this, including poor play-calling, an outdated strategy that relied on “trying to make third down manageable,” a maddening tendency to take sacks, an inexperienced receiving crew, and throwing bombs on 3rd and 1 for no good reason. However, the fact still stands that Rodgers was smart enough to throw past the first down marker, though he was unable to actually complete most of those passes.2018 was an interesting season that really showed everyone the value of intelligent playcalling Jamaal Williams Jersey , and in ALEX, the geniuses came through in an unconventional way. Jared Goff, Andrew Luck, and Drew Brees all ranked in the lower half of ALEX, but as it turns out, if your scheme is good enough your receivers can actually pick up first downs through YAC. Surprisingly, all three of those quarterbacks finished in the top ten in conversion rate. Some short passes are made out of panic, and some are made out of well-designed surgical strikes; in the modern game, ALEX probably requires more context than it used to. If you generate reliable YAC, throwing short isn’t so bad. Goff and Brees are typical of a movement in the NFL that has well-run teams focusing on avoiding third downs altogether, often throwing to the ALEX-level on first and second down. On third down, the Saints and Rams in particular focus on conversion rate above all else. They get conservative in terms of bombs and other low-completion-percentage, high leverage throws, but pull out any play that can get them ten yards Kenny Clark Jersey , whether or not the requires an ALEX throw. The smart teams have figured out which plays are most likely to move the sticks, and that is what they run in crunch time.It’s better to be Aaron Rodgers than old Alex Smith, but it’s best to have a good QB working in an analytically-minded offense. Maybe we’ll get there next season. Marcus Mariota and Matt LaFleurWe may not know much of new head coach Matt LaFleur, but at the very least he had Marcus Mariota throwing to the sticks, and unlike Aaron Rodgers, Marcus was pretty good at doing so. In 2018, Mariota ranked 10th in ALEX and 5th in conversion rate. That alone would provide some hope for Matt LaFleur, although Mariota was also good in ALEX before LaFleur arrived. I suspect that ALEX is more of a coaching-based stat when we see high conversion rates paired with low ALEX, and more of a QB stat when we see either low-low, or any kind of high ALEX. In any case, this probably says more about Mariota than LaFleur, but at least LaFleur’s offense wasn’t getting in the way.

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