Urban wordsmith Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter once said: “Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week.” And the Chicago Bears have a week’s worth of prep time to put together a plan that can bring down Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Should they need information or inspiration, then Head Coach Matt Nagy should dial up his good friend Todd Bowles for some advice.
Bowles is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator. And when his defense faced Rodgers in October, that group stifled the heck out of the Packers quarterback. Not only did Green Bay lose by a final score of 38-10, they did so while failing desperately to create offense via the passing game. Upon further inspection, you can credit the multitudes of defensive looks Bowles threw at Rodgers.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Bucs defense pressured Rodgers a whopping 12 times. In those moments, Rodgers was sacked four times and completed just 2-for-7 for 10 yards. They came at him with a blitz 17 times, sacking him twice and limiting Rodgers to 5-for-14 with two interceptions. Scott Smith (Buccaneers.com) notes the pressure started building in the second quarter, when Bowles blitzed Rodgers on 46.7 percent of his drop-backs. Things picked up steam in the third quarter, when Rodgers was blitzed on 55.6 percent of the snaps he dropped back to pass. Overall, Rodgers finished 16-of-35 for 160 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a miserable 35.4 passer rating.
With great risk, comes the potential for great rewards.
But when it comes to blitzing the all-time great quarterbacks, the risk also comes with potentially humiliating consequences.
Nevertheless, I have a minor request for Bears Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano.
Please – you see, I’m asking nicely – blitz the crap out of Rodgers on Sunday.
Throw the kitchen sink at him. Bring the heat. Go after him like your hair is on fire. Toss out every different front, coverage scheme, fake-out, delay, and everything else you can think of that can be used. But most importantly, push forward with all the pressure. Leave no stone un-turned. And do not leave anything in the tank. Do the unexpected and empty it all.
The Packers quarterback is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season. Rodgers has thrown for 4,059 yards and 44 touchdowns. He has completed 70 percent of his passes and thrown just 5 interceptions. I don’t like the guy any more than you do, but he’s good at quarterbacking. But he isn’t a robot. Nor is he unstoppable. And even though merely slowing him down seems unthinkable, it’s totally doable. But you have to try. Otherwise, the offseason will start earlier than many of us would like.