A lot of NFL defenses go into every game with a simple strategy: take away the run and make the opponent one-dimensional. Well, defenses playing the Packers try to do two things: take away the run and, more importantly, keep Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.
“That’s the biggest key for anybody going against the Green Bay Packers,” Pro Football Hall of Famer and Seahawks color analyst Warren Moon said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s not stopping their running game. It’s none of that. It’s keeping Aaron Rodgers inside the pocket. Make him throw the ball from there. If he throws it from there within rhythm, okay, there might be some completions made, but you’re not getting those big chunk plays down the field. When he gets outside the pocket, now he’s finding his receivers down the field 30 and 40 yards. Those are the plays that break your back and tire out your defense. So the big key is keeping him in the pocket to throw the football.”
Moon doesn’t think Rodgers is the greatest quarterback of all time, but he does think No. 12 is as exciting and as effective as it gets.
“I think he’s better outside of the pocket than he is inside of the pocket,” Moon said. “It’s hard to downgrade a Tom Brady or somebody like that that plays a traditional quarterback position that can just cut you up from right there in that pocket. You know where he’s going to be all the time and you still can’t stop him.”
Rodgers threw an NFL-leading 40 touchdown passes this season. He also had just seven interceptions and finished ninth in completion percentage (65.7) and fourth in yards (4,428), often extending plays with his legs and finding receivers wide open down the field.
“He helps the receivers separate by getting outside the pocket and buying more time for them to get open,” Moon said. “But his offensive line is pretty solid. It’s not like these guys are caving in on him every time and he’s having to dodge a bunch of people. He sits there for a while and then he takes off when he sees that he can’t find anybody open. He’s special at doing that. I haven’t seen a guy maneuver in the pocket like that in a long time. He’s as good as anybody that I’ve seen doing it.”
The Packers (10-6) host the Giants (11-5) at Lambeau Field this Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET.
Moon also weighed in on Richard Sherman, who has suddenly become standoffish with media, especially local media, and is only willing to talk to certain reporters.
Sherman used to hold voluntarily weekly press conferences every Wednesday. What happened?
“I really don’t like it,” Moon said. “I think Richard’s bigger than this. He’s a guy that’s very intelligent. He’s a guy that has things that are important to say. I think he has things that people enjoy hearing him say. But sometimes when you go out there and say things that are important or say things that might be controversial, you’re going to get asked tough questions about them. You can’t dodge away from the tough questions if you’re going to talk about subjects that are going to make people want to dive in just a little bit deeper. So I think Richard is bigger than this. You can’t be selective in the media that you talk to. You’re either going to not talk, or you’re going to talk to everybody. I think that’s the only fair way to do this, but Richard’s got to do what he’s got go do. But that’s kind of my opinion.”