Earlier this week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers agreed that he hasn't played up to the enormous expectations and standards he set as last season's MVP. Rodgers noted he has thrown four interceptions, and is lucky not to have a fifth, and acknowledged he has missed some passes he typically completed last season.
In his ESPN Insider column this week, Ron Jaworski offered his explanation for those miscues. You'll need a subscription to read the entire story, which is filled with breakdowns of specific plays, but Jaworski wrote that Rodgers "seems uncomfortable and rushed." Here is the gist of his observations:
"I don't think Rodgers has had a 'calm head' to this point of the season, a product -- I believe -- of the pummeling he took in Seattle in Week 3. He has been quickly going from side to side in his reads and seems unsure and rushed in his progressions, which leads him to miss some reads and causes his mechanics to break down when pulling the trigger. All of it adds up to inaccurate passes to his open receivers and at times some forced throws into coverage."
(Rodgers was sacked eight times in the first half of the Packers' 14-12 loss* to the Seattle Seahawks.)
I don't discount any of Jaworski's observations. I do, however, think it's only fair to note that the Packers' dropoff in downfield passing dates back to their Week 15 loss last season to the Kansas City Chiefs. The issues didn't suddenly crop up after the Seahawks game, although it might well be the root of skittishness Jaworski saw in Rodgers' recent drop-backs.