Green Bay Packers: Rodgers’ mechanical flaw a killer

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has developed a bad habit in his mechanics. Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has developed a bad habit in his mechanics. Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Aaron Rodgers’  inaccuracy is due diminished mechanics, and it’s killing the Green Bay Packers.

Various players and coaches have noted the Green Bay Packers‘ offense can’t get into a rhythm. Rodgers’ inability to consistently hit targets is a big reason.

The bread and butter of Rodgers’ success lies in his fantastic accuracy. Whether it’s a quick slant or a deep ball down the sideline, he has typically pinpointed nearly all his throws.

He entered last season ranked 3rd in NFL history in career completion percentage (65.6). Rodgers is now 6th all time (64.9), behind Tony Romo.

You have to believe the Packers’ staff and Rodgers have noticed the problem I’m noting here, but haven’t found a way to correct it yet.

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Although, what if Rodgers has reached the same point with Mike McCarthy as Brett Favre did with Mike Sherman?

Nothing is being said to the MVP quarterback because of his stature, skill and importance.

The highly accurate thrower hasn’t been around lately for the Packers, and the problem stems from his consistent tendency to lean away and pull his arm back on throws.

This continued to be a problem in the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings as Rodgers missed a number of routine tosses and threw the deciding interception off his back foot.

At first glance, it appears Rodgers makes the “traditional’ throws off his back foot too often. In taking a closer look, that’s not quite what he has been doing most times.

It takes time and an intense focus during practice to correct the persuasive forces of bad habits.

Instead, he leans away from the line of scrimmage and pulls back his throwing hand, which leads to errant balls high, low and wide.

While he technically is stepping into many of these throws, he’s stopping the throwing motion and retracting his hand.

This is similar to when you are about to touch something hot and instinctively snatch it back.

Even when Rodgers has a clean pocket and room to really drive his arm and body forward, he has fallen into the habit of holding up instead. A majority of his throws include these actions.

This could be attributed to the number of hits he took last season, causing him to psychologically succumb to the fear of contact.

It’s much akin to a baseball player who fights through an injury and picks up poor mechanical habits to compensate, but then still struggles when he’s healthy.

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers nearly always leans backwards on his passes now. Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

It takes time and an intense focus during practice to correct the persuasive forces of bad habits.

In some cases, Rodgers has plenty of space in front of him, though he takes just a small step while leaning back a touch. You’ll sometimes notice he will make a throw and still end up in the same spot on the field.

He should be finishing his motion a yard or two in front of where he started. Think of how a pitcher ends up at the front of the mound after releasing the ball.

The lack of “finish” and leaning back has caused many a toss to go sailing over his receivers’ heads.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand sometimes that lean helps get air under the ball for a longer toss over a defender; however, he’ often failing to complete the motion, which leads to overthrows.

Rodgers’ instincts appear to be taking him away from even light pressure instead of stepping up into the pocket.

When throwing as he drifts away, it takes velocity off his fastball, allowing defenders to make a play when they normally couldn’t.

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While this may have started as a psychological issue thanks to the struggles of the offensive line, it’s now completely in his head on a majority of the plays – whether there’s actual pressure or not.

In theory, there an injury or pain could’ve been affecting his willingness to step into throws last season. Now he needs to readjust his mindset, assuming he’s healthy.

I first noticed these issues during the Denver Broncos game in Week 8 last season. Rodgers threw for just 77 yards on 14 of 22 passing.

Not coincidentally, that was the start of his 14-week streak of games with a sub-100 passer rating that continued in Minnesota.

Rodgers finished 25th in completion percentage in 2015 at just under 62 percent, and he owns a 57 percent completion percentage in the Packers’ last 13 regular season contests.

Next: Green Bay Packers' offense needs new schemes, packages

The Green Bay Packers and Rodgers need to zero in on this mechanical flaw of leaning away and pulling back if they’re going to get the offense going again.

This may be the ultimate indicator of how mentally tough Rodgers is, because the physical problems are deriving from mental issues.