Sunday, December 14, 2008

Your Packer Open Thread, And Some Media Criticism

I'm at work today, and I listened to WTMJ while getting here. At 10:15 Dennis Krause brought up the "fact" that Aaron Rodgers had trouble converting third downs all season and cited his 1-10 performance on third downs last week. No one, of course, checked this "fact" because as we all know, facts have no place on the radio.

Well, here on the interwebs our standards are a bit higher. I'm sure that the Packers 3rd down conversion rate is much lower after last week, but before last week the Packers were converting 44.4% of their third downs compared to only 37.8% for their opponents.

The fact is that until last week, Aaron Rodgers was a stud on third down.

They then went on to discuss how Rodgers needs to develop that "Mojo" and that "Magic" like a certain other quarterback. The round table on TMJ stated many times that "Rodgers wasn't the biggest problem" while talking about the 800 problems that he has apparently caused. Krause said that the Rodgers was "6th on his list of problems" and they all agreed that Rodgers is clearly no Favre, which you can tell just by looking at their records. He also stated that sometimes a QB just need to "be a leader and elevate his team."

That's our problem. Not enough Aaron Rodgers pep-talks to Johnny Jolly.

They also mentioned that the offense isn't as productive as last year's 13-3 squad. Fortunately, I can do basic math, and have access to the internet, where you can look up the fact that the Packers scored 435 points last year, and that through 13 games the Packers have scored 355 points this year. If you prorate that number for the rest of the season, you will discover that this Packer team is on pace to score 436 points this year, and is therefore a better offensive team.

While you're checking those PF numbers you may also note the PA numbers and note that all of last year the Pack gave up 291 points while this year they have already given up 319, and are on pace to give up 392, or over 100 more than all of last year.

But it's the offense's fault.

At this point I had to turn off my radio because listening to the show was robbing me of valuable IQ points and in another 15 minutes I would have lost the ability to drive or operate the radio.

Look, last week our commenters made a pretty good case that Rodgers has been bad "close and late," but he hasn't been as bad as that 0-6 indicates (the defense farted away Carolina and McCarthy farted away Minnesota), and on my list of problems with the Packers he does not appear. He is not a problem. He's pretty good.

And no one thinks he's better than the current Favre? Really? They discussed this as if the mere proposition is silly, and dismissed out of hand the notion that the Jets are better because of Alana Faneca and Kris Jenkins. (How's that Pennington guy doing?)

Look, I don't think it's a slam dunk that the current Rodgers is better than the current Favre, but he's put up better numbers (advanced and normal) with an inferior running game.

The lesson is, don't listen to the radio.

Anyway, we've got Packers-Jaguars in about 45 minutes. I know a bunch of people who like the Packers in this game, but I'm not seeing it. The Jags are bad at passing. The Packers can't stop the run. The not-very-good Fred Taylor is out, which means that the Jags will go with all MJD, all the time today. I expect him to have about 200 total yards and at least 2 scores. The Jags are bad, but this is a bad mathcup for the Pack.

Still, if we can pull this off and the Vikings go down our playoff odds will increase to like 10%.

Go Pack!


PaulNoonan said...

Brett Favre had a 27 yard run. Let's repeat that. Brett Favre had a 27 yard run.

The Packer defense so far looks like the Packer defense. Oy.

PaulNoonan said...

Hey, a big play. To James Jones no less. I wonder what we actually have with Jones. I think he's been pretty banged up, and I thought originally that we might have another Jennings on our hands.

PaulNoonan said...

Need to get a TD there.

PaulNoonan said...

Sounds like Jennings got away with one there, but I'm glad he did.

PaulNoonan said...

In Wildcat news, Larry Johnson threw a TD pass and Mark Bulger has an 11 yard reception. Tricky day out there.

PaulNoonan said...

OK, according to James Jones had a -40 yard reception. What the hell happened?

PaulNoonan said...

4th and 44? WTF?

PaulNoonan said...

OK, good. Just a glitch.

PaulNoonan said...

OK, one criticism of Rodgers. He takes some killer sacks.

Rob said...

I want to run the stinkin' fullback right up McCarthy's rear!!!! That single play will cost us the game.

Rob said...

Oh, I forgot that the defense will also kill us.

Horace said...

He takes some killer sacks ... and he throws a lot of game ending interceptions.

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record ... but when does it become politically correct to question Rogers inability to rally a team to a win late?

Anonymous said...

Good question Horace. But i'm uncertain what a good definition of "clutch" might be.

I can accept the hypothesis that the defense is costing us games this year. The question is the cause.

Corey Williams? He's had virtually no impact in Cleveland. Why would we expect different results from having him?

Injuries? If the cupboard is bare is that TT's fault? Or is it the coaches' fault for poor player development? And if we properly identify the problem, what should be done? Assuming blame can be determined is the blame enough to be actionable?

PaulNoonan said...

I think you're on solid ground Horace, he's been bad "close and late." There's no doubt about that. The question is, is that a skill, luck, something he can improve on, or something he will always stuggle with? I'm not sure.

PaulNoonan said...

And today, he really played poorly all day, not just down the stretch.

Chris said...

Didn't see the game was at a meet but let me guess, if we still have the Favre God we would have won another game right?

Rob said...

How did you guess Chris? (That truly is in gest)

PaulNoonan said...

Favre played a pretty crappy game actually, it's just that Rodgers did too.

Favre has an awesome run though.

Horace said...

Chris, all I ask is for consistency from you. You ranted all off season about how all Favre does is throw TD's late in lates and costs the teams wins in games they must have. Additionally, I heard all about how Favre could no longer play in cold weather games. I believe it was also you that said if only Aaron Rogers had been the starter against the Giants in the NFC Championship game last year, the Packers would have been in the Superbowl. Well, you got what you wanted ... AR as the starter and Favre gone. And what did we get for it? A QB that has thrown game ending interceptions in 5 of their 9 losses, and lost back to back home games at Lambeau in December against teams from North Carolina and Texas. All I would like to see is your similar outrage about how AR is breaking our hearts, can't win the big game, and can't win in the cold.

I do believe the Packers would have won a few of those close ones if the ball is in Favre's hands instead of AR's in the last 2-3 minutes. Just 2 wins in those games and the Packers are talking Play-offs. Instead they're talking how high they will be drafting next year.

I don't blame Rogers ... but I do question if he has what it takes to win close games. After going 0-6 in that department this year, its a legitimate question. I don't know the answer ... but it IS a legitimate question.

Are you willing to acknowledge that Rogers has solved NONE of the problems you said we had if we kept Favre at QB?

Anonymous said...

The notion that there is no such thing as clutch, that human beings will react identically in a high-leverage vs. low-leverage situation, is absurd. It's very real, but it's hard to quantify and measure, especially in football. So far, Rodgers has shown a propensity to make bad decisions under pressure, at least more than his predecessor at the position did. His clutchiness = 2.7. For comparison purposes, Joe Montana's clutchiness = 207.

Horace said...

I don't know if its an acquired skill or not. My sense is that most players either have it or they don't, although I acknowledge this is just a hypothesis that I haven't taken any time to prove or disprove. I know this ... when I think back over my life time of watching football, it seemed like the guys I feared having the ball late against my team late, seemed to be guys that always had that ability to carve you up in the last 2 minutes and the game on the line, no matter how good or bad your defense was ... Staubach, Tarketon, Fouts, Elway, Montana, Brady are a few that leap to mind ... seemed to have a knack for pulling close games out of the fire from almost the first day they stepped on the field. The fact that Rogers hasn't shown it at all yet is concerning to me ... but perhaps the experience of being in so many of these games so early in his career will provide invaluable experience going forward that he can draw on when he faces them again. On the other hand, I worry about his confidence getting shaken from NOT getting it done so often this early in his career. Time will tell. I really want to like him ... and he certainly has played really well in spots this year. This to me has been the hole in his game this year ... along with taking some really bad sacks. But by no means do I want to throw him overboard.

PaulNoonan said...

One problem with the clutch thing. Horace, all of the guys you cited aren't just good close-and-late, they were good all the time. Clutchness would indicate some ability to raise your game. Those guys just played like they alwaysdid; brilliantly. This is the David Ortiz fallacy. Perhaps Rodgers is a choker, but I'd like to see a few more additions to the sample size.

And by the way, over the last two seasons that he was here, I had no confidence in Favre close and late either, and I do not think they would have won any extra games with Favre.

Anonymous said...

In a majority of cases, I don't think it's a matter of raising your game in clutch situations. It's more a matter of not performing worse in clutch situations. I knew a kid in high school incapable of missing a free throw in intramurals or practice. He made about 60% playing for the varsity in a crowded gym. If it was late-game and the points mattered, he was lucky to draw the backboard.

Horace said...

Its funny you say that Paul, because Favre made some huge clutch plays last year. They include a 57 yard TD pass to Greg Jennings with 2:03 left to put the Packers in the lead 24-21 against San Deigo, a 60 yard TD pass to Greg Jennings with 3:05 left to take the lead over the Chiefs, and of course the infamous 82 yard TD pass to Jennings on the first play of overtime to beat the Broncos. In addition he played brilliantly in the 4th quarter, throwing 2 TD passes to beat the NY Giants.

People seem to have 'Texas Hold 'em River Syndrome' when it comes to Favre. Like most poker players who only remember the horrible beats they took on the river card to lose a big pot, and never seem to recall all the times they hit on it themselves to win a big one ... Many Packer fans only seem to remember the bad interceptions Favre threw late in games that led to losses, and forget the huge number of big plays he made late to win them.

Chris said...

My question is why are we even talking about Rodgers how many of those games did they have a lead late in the 4th quarter only to see the Defense wilt like a hot house flower.

They had the lead with 5 minutes to go how about a defensive stop then we run the clock out drive.

The Defense is what is costing them games not Rodgers apparent lack of Clutch

Anonymous said...

Tracker makes a good case for clutch. Billy Beane was awesome with nothing on the line

PaulNoonan said...

Re: Billy Beane, it appears that power pitchers and closers become more important in short series (according to research, see BP's "Secret Sauce" metric.

Anyway, I don't just remember Favre's bads, I just think it's hard to conclude, based on numbers, that he's 2 games better than Rodgers.

1. The defense causes you to have to make last second comeback more than once per game.

2. Favre hasn't been that good this year, regardless of what he did last year.

I still don't believe in "clutch."

Anonymous said...

Specific to Billy Beane, in moneyball his career may have been helped by sport psychology. He seemed to be brilliant when unnecessary, eg. batting practice.

In that sense i think clutch means staying good at critical moments, vice "rising" to the challenge. That said, although i believe in clutch, i can't measure it. Therefore i can't say the Packers would be X games better with Favre.

Well, i could, but so could my fish.