Everyone who knows anything about football will admit that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback, if not the best in the league at the position.
Former QB turned analyst Trent Dilfer, who is one of Rodgers’ biggest fan, had a very interesting and astute breakdown of why Rodgers is so good:
There are four ways a quarterback can beat you: he can beat you with his brain by knowing better where the defense is going to be. He can beat you with his release, by getting the ball there faster than the defense can react. He can beat you with location by being so accurate that your guy is the only one who can catch it. Or he can beat you with his feet by extending the play until the defense breaks down.
Aaron is the only guy in the league who can do all four things. He’s the best quarterback in the league and I don’t think it’s even close. He has the most dimensions to his game. Don’t get me wrong, Peyton [Manning] and Tom [Brady] are awesome, but Aaron is the most dominant of all of them.
Dilfer is absolutely right in what exactly separates Rodgers from other quarterbacks. He has all four of those skills which Dilfer rates so highly. It’s a large part of the reason that Rodgers has easily the best interception-to-pass-attempt ratio in league history. Many quarterbacks in the NFL have one of these traits, and the elite have two or three. Rodgers is so dangerous because, if the defense is able to take away one aspect, he can rely on any of the other three. He knows how to win in different ways.
Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, for instance, Rodgers didn’t use his all-star receiving cast nearly as much as was expected because the Vikings were content to leave the running backs – mostly DuJuan Harris – open for short yardage throws. Rodgers recognized that the checkdowns were the safer, higher-percentage throws and he took what the defense gave him.
Against the San Francisco 49ers defense, which I believe is tops in the NFC, Rodgers will have to excel in all four phases. You can be sure Rodgers will have part one down through his dedicated preparation. The other three will depend a lot on his offensive line giving him the time to pick apart the defense. With a finally healthy (or close enough) receiving corps, Rodgers will have the opportunities to make the plays that he is capable of against the Niners.
The offense automatically and designedly has the advantage. The perfect defense can be beat by the perfect offense. With Rodgers behind center, the Packers can be darn close to perfect – and they’ll have to be on Saturday night.