Rodgers silences doubters with vintage performance

Tag: Kirk Cousins

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LANDOVER, Md. — They walked off the field in order, like the assembled cast of a Broadway play. The northwestern tunnel of FedEx Field was Packer Country now, and bows in front of the applauding fans were almost customary, even for the Packers’ quality control and equipment managers who scurried out first and offered a fist bump to all the Cheeseheads.

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The personalities kept growing larger and positional groups gave way to individuals led by security guards. There was Eddie Lacy Jerseys and Randall Cobb. There was Clay Matthews Jerseys.

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But the star of the night, after quite possibly his most impressive performance of the season, trumped all. From just a few feet customized nfl jerseys inside the tunnel connecting the field to the Packers’ locker room, a blast of cheering caused anyone who was hoping for a piece of Aaron Rodgers Jerseys to get in line.

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Led by two security guards in the front and flanked by two Packers officials in the back, Rodgers smiled. He was impossibly at ease with all of this — the standing ovations, the unscripted, masterful outings. Every week was a test of his patience and toughness and mental capacity, yet he still had the finesse to stop on a dime just before the locker room to autograph a pair of gloves for a fan that could barely see over the guard rail.

And with the final bow on Sunday, after a 35-18 win over Washington, Rodgers reminded everyone that he may still be the most dangerous force in a playoff landscape populated by new favorites. “He was just Aaron, just Aaron,” wide receiver James Jones Jerseys said. “The guy has set such a high standard you know what I mean? You guys get on him about every little thing. But to us, he’s just Aaron. He came out here and he played ball like he always does.”

He added: “That’s 12, man. He spoils you guys around here. Future Hall of Famer — you guys are spoiled. So when he makes one bad throw or does one bad thing, you’re all on him. But to us, he plays like 12 every week.”

To understand Rodgers’ outing, it’s essential to understand that the Packers offense prefers non-stop movement. It works best when they have short rest time between plays, and it works because Rodgers can act as the nerve center. It’s a morale booster for the offensive line when they know they have the advantage over a heavy, tired personnel grouping on defense that cannot substitute. It’s even more so for the skill position players who now understand that the defensive secondary will likely be out of place.

This was especially true against Washington who, according to Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, went with a heavy base defense for a majority of the game to prevent Green Bay from running the ball.

Now add in a new left tackle who was bull-rushed by Redskins rookie Preston Smith, resulting in a safety on Green Bay’s second drive. Add in wind that was pushing 20 miles per hour, taking one of Rodgers’ go balls to Jones and hurling it well off the trajectory. Add in the need to run plays out of a bigger personnel set to help protect the quarterback, which results in fewer eligible receivers. A team cannot enter a movement offense without a completed pass, and Rodgers hurled eight incomplete in a row after hitting on his first pass of the game.

“Tempo is huge,” wide receiver Davante Adams Jerseys said. “That’s something our coaches push week in and week out.”

Rodgers delivered at the 13-minute mark of the second quarter. He likely knew that the only route to not betray him so far that night was a quick eight-yard stop to Jones. Out of the shotgun — still a risk at that point in the game — he faced a full-on blitz with just his original five-man protection and dropped the ball right below Jones’ numbers as he turned back to the field.

On the next play, the up-tempo game was on, and Green Bay caught Washington with 12 men on the field. It was the first of two times they would do so on the drive. Three minutes later, after a failed bubble screen attempt, Rodgers noticed Washington attempting a last-gasp effort to pull one of their defenders off the field. He saw this out of the back corner of his eye, snapped the ball and began to scramble even with several of his own lineman standing still. He rifled a ball to Randall Cobb in the end zone for Green Bay’s first score of the night.

The Packers ended up using no huddle on roughly 30 percent of their snaps.

“He’s having fun and this is what playoff football is all about,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “…I mean, we’re in the tournament, he has a lot of experience in these games and it’s important for him to go out there and ignite us.”

After the game, Rodgers was asked about the headlines that compared him to Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who went on a record-breaking tear to end the season as Rodgers struggled. He was asked particularly if it fueled him coming into this game — a fair question considering the way he internalizes most slights.

“No,” Rodgers said. And then he smiled like all good Broadway stars smile, letting you know that he understands, that it was foolish to doubt him in the first place.


Tag: Kirk Cousins

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Every year since 2011, hundreds of NFL players have filled out ballots to determine a collective opinion on the very best in their business. Now we get to see the results of that voting with The Top 100 Players Of 2016 countdown on NFL Network.

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Last year, Texans star J.J. Watt claimed the top spot, making him the first defensive player to do so. Will Watt repeat the feat in 2016? If not, you can assume the reigning Defensive Player of the Year will find a snug spot in the top 10.

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Who else will crack the countdown? Before players 100-91 are revealed Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network, let’s make some predictions about how this list will look different than what we saw a year ago.

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One thing we can tell you with no threat of condemnation from a Shadowy League Figure: There are four definite openings on this list as Peyton Manning (No. 5), Calvin Johnson (No. 6), Marshawn Lynch (No. 9) and Charles Woodson (No. 64) trade the gridiron for the couch on Sundays. Beyond that, my guess is as good as yours.

Let’s get on with it.

RISERS

Odell Beckham Jr. (32), Aaron Donald (92), Larry Fitzgerald Jerseys (68), Khalil Mack (49), Brandon Marshall (57), Von Miller (33), Adrian Peterson (62), Cam Newton (73)

Cam is going top 10 after his MVP masterpiece. Miller should join him after what he did to Cam in the Super Bowl. … All Day tumbled last year on the heels of his season-long punishment for domestic abuse, but he should return to his rightful place in the top 10 after yet another rushing title. … Brandon Marshall has always been underrated, but having the best season by a wide receiver in Jets history should bump him a few spots. … Fitzgerald is universally respected, but he returned to being a superstar producer in 2015. … Beckham, Donald and Mack are the future of their respective positions.

FALLERS

Justin Forsett Jerseys (65), Arian Foster (80), Jimmy Graham (31), nfl custom jerseys Brent Grimes (38), Eddie Lacy (60), DeMarco Murray (4), Darren Sproles (81), Julius Thomas (45), Mario Williams Jerseys (42), Jason Witten (93)

Foster and Graham suffered serious leg injuries that put their future in some doubt. … Ranking Forsett and Sproles so highly a year ago was perhaps a charitable act. … Lacy is probably the best bet of this group to find himself back on this list in 2017, though that might be ultimately up to the P90X gods. … Murray, Williams and Witten all performed like players in decline in 2015. Witten has made this list five straight years — we’d be shocked if he went six for six.

NEWCOMERS

Blake Bortles, NaVorro Bowman, Kirk Cousins, Karlos Dunlap, Todd Gurley, Sean Lee, DeAndre Hopkins, Josh Norman, Doug Martin, Tyrann Mathieu Jerseys, Carson Palmer Jerseys, Marcus Peters, Allen Robinson

I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way all these guys were overlooked on the 2015 list. But this stuff goes on every single year on the Top 100. Sometimes — in the case of Bowman, Lee and Palmer — an established star falls off the grid due to an injury. Other times — as is the case with Bortles, nfl custom jerseys Cousins, Hopkins and Robinson — a young player explodes in their development. Then there’s the vets who have something click suddenly and reach their full potential — Dunlap, Martin and Norman are fine examples.

Every one of these guys deserves to be in the Top 100, but that doesn’t mean they will be. We’ll find out over the next couple of months starting Wednesday.


Tag: Kirk Cousins

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Kirk Cousins Jerseys got his “You like that!” moment Sunday in the Washington Redskins’ come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It wouldn’t have been possible without Jordan Reed Jerseys on the field.

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The athletic tight end was Cousins’ most pivotal tool while engineering the win.

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Reed missed the previous two games with a concussion and it showed on the field. Whereas previously the Redskins couldn’t create mismatches and were forced to scheme around their talent, Reed provided a go-to target Sunday.

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“I feel every time I line up outside and someone’s on me, I never feel I’ll be covered,” Reed said, via ESPN.com. “I’m always confident. I’m a matchup problem; I can get open and catch the ball.”

Reed was targeted 13 times and caught 11 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns. His presence in the red zone was key for Cousins, who utilizes Reed as his security nfl wholesale jerseys blanket in big spots. On the game-winning play, the Bucs shaded Reed to the outside to protect against the fade from the big tight end. Instead Reed planted and cut inward on the slant. Touchdown. Redskins win.

Following the victory, Reed’s teammates were effusive with praise.

Trent Williams Jerseys called Reed “unguardable.”

“You show me anyone in the league who can guard that man one-on-one,” Williams said. “I haven’t seen that yet. As long as we’ve got him, we got a chance. He’s the best receiving tight end that I’ve seen.”

“He’s a wide receiver in a tight end’s body,” added safety Dashon Goldson Jerseys. “A lot of people underestimate his speed and ability when he’s out there. You can see it on film, but it’s tough when you get out there in a game situation and you have to guard a guy.”

When Reed is healthy this season he’s been the centerpiece of the Redskins’ passing attack that is missing a deep threat sans DeSean Jackson Jerseys. Keeping him in the game has been a challenge throughout his career.

Sunday, he was on the field. And it made all the difference.





  
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