NFL | Oct 26, 2022

Aaron Rodgers calls for lineup change after Washington loss

By Harry Bazley

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has called out teammates "making too many mistakes" in an interview following their Week 7 loss to the Washington Commanders, as he calls for reps to be cut and others to be brought on from the bench.

The Packers haven't exactly had the smooth-sailing season they're used to this year - Rodgers has been pretty rocky, their receiver core has been riddled with injuries and some costly mistakes have helped put a few losses on their record. It seems all these trials and tribulations from the first 7 games have become a little too much for the Green Bay QB...

On the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, Rodgers made it very clear he believes that changes need to be made to the lineup after Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin dominated Fedex Field. Following a discussion about Washington giving the Packers no trouble schematically, Rodgers claimed that mental errors are what cost them the game. But there's one quote that has hit headlines across the country.

I think guys who are making too many mistakes shouldn’t be playing. You know? Gotta start cutting some reps and maybe guys who aren’t playing, give them a chance.

Aaron Rodgers

Now it's tough to know exactly who Rodgers is referring to in his statement, and it may have been a bit harsh, but after a 3 game losing streak, can you blame him for wanting a change?

According to Andy Herman of the Packer Report - who has been grading the Packers units every week for the last four seasons - the lowest-performing units this year have been the cornerbacks, offensive line and quarterback groups.

After back-to-back losses to the New York Giants and New York Jets, some concrete changes were made to the O-line in an attempt to give Rodgers more time with the ball. Center Josh Myers was the only player to start in Week 6 and Week 7 at the same position, while struggling RG Royce Newman took to the bench and left Tackle David Bakhtiari and co. got a complete rework on the line.

Rodgers has been sacked 15 times this season, so his statement could be a fair commentary on his lack of protection, but it's nothing compared to Justin Fields who has gone down 27 times already...

As for cornerbacks, it's not feasible to make a change here, as both Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas just received new contracts, and second-year CB Eric Stokes was a first-round draft pick, just last year.

The most likely cohort to receive some complaints from Rodgers are his receivers. The legendary QB hasn't had the same offensive weapons he's used to - it seems the loss of Devante Adams to the Raiders in the offseason is taking a harder hit than Green Bay expected.

Now, they may be short of a superstar, but there's still enough talent to run a successful offense. The problem has just been injuries, which perhaps Rodgers isn't considering.

Sammy Watkins was only recently removed from the injured reserve, while Randall Cobb still sits on the list with an ankle issue. 2022 second-round draft pick Christian Watson has had two hamstring injuries and knee surgery already this year. And Allen Lazard played with an ankle injury to start the season, recently got healthy, but is now in an arm sling following a shoulder injury. Unless Rodgers isn't happy with one of his favourite targets this year, Romeo Doubs, it's tough to know who he's talking about.

The Green Bay wide receivers haven't been the most reliable when they are on the turf, but with a long list of knocks and injuries, it's no surprise they've been struggling in the passing game.

One potential mistake that Rodgers could be singling out, is a fumbled punt return from Amari Rodgers that gave Washington an easy scoring opportunity last week. I'd love to say this is a one off, but the punt-returner/receiver has four fumbles on the season with just three receptions.

Head coach Matt LaFleur already stated on Monday that he would be evaluating the punt return position, so perhaps Aaron Rodgers was doubling down on this?

I can't see many complaints possible for the run game, as Aaron Jones remains a reliable rusher so far this season - averaging 5.5 per carry - and is a great addition when running routes - average 6.8 per reception. Jones has had just 4 games with double digit carries this year - games where he generated an average of 103 yards of offense. Maybe play calling is the issue when you only give your star running back 8 carries in a tough game?

If none of the above are the players Rodgers wants to see on the sideline, I guess the only thing left is Rodgers himself...

Despite ranking 6th for touchdown passes (11) and interceptions (3), Rodgers ranks 26th for QB rating at just 40.5. Safe to say, the Green Bay legend hasn't exactly been electric in the passing game, and let's face it, he's well past his years of successful scramble drills. But I can't imagine he's advocating for himself to be dropped from the Pack.

For a Super Bowl winning quarterback and future Hall-of-Famer - regardless of who's to blame - these are not the words you want to hear from the leader of your team.

I guess we'll see if any changes are made to the starting lineup for the matchup against the Bills this weekend. Fingers crossed for Rodgers' sake that he can reproduce his Week 2 performance versus the Chicago Bears, arguably his best game of the season so far.