Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers Still Has Wheels

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch (USA TODAY Sports)

If you play fantasy football, you know that when the time comes to draft a quarterback, you want someone who can really move. A dual-threat quarterback can get you those precious additional rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns are worth more points than passing touchdowns in many leagues.

The NFL is starting to value these types of quarterbacks more and more, and traditional pure pocket passers are becoming less of a commodity. Yet a few years ago, rushing-threat quarterbacks were harder to find. In fact, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers used to be one of the highest-valued fantasy quarterbacks because of the threat his legs posed.

Rodgers is now 37 years old. In the world of Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen, Rodgers’ legs aren’t considered the threat they once were. But as we see week after week, the old man still has the juice. Rodgers’ ability to run the ball when needed, knowledge to know when to bolt, and ability to scramble in the pocket keep him playing elite football even as he ages.

This season, a running joke between Rodgers and the Packers beat writers revolves around the idea that Rodgers’ rushing ability would decline as he ages. Earlier this season, Green Bay Press-Gazette columnist Pete Dougherty asked the MVP if he had to make any adaptations due to his age, which led to this exchange (as captured by Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Wilde):

“When you say ‘adaptations,’ Pete, what exactly are you talking about? Are you talking about physical adaptations or mental adaptations or …”

“Both. A little less mobility, for instance.”

“Hmmmm.”

Since this exchange, Rodgers showed he still has the mobility to catch defenses off guard, as we saw on an early scramble on third-and-11 against the Washington Football Team this past Sunday. Rodgers saw his lane and had an impressive 15-yard sprint to get the first down.

“I like to exaggerate just to make Pete feel real good about it. I can’t say his name enough,” Rodgers, never one to relent, teased before the Washington game.

Rodgers has rushed 16 times for 44 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the season. The first was a four-yard TD against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the second was an iconic run against the Chicago Bears in which he got the score and let the raging Bears fans know who owned who. Rodgers sits at third on Green Bay’s rushing yards leaders, following Aaron Jones’ 404 yards and A.J. Dillon’s 231. His two rushing TDs tie him for first with Jones.

“I probably could have dotted [Cobb], but Pete’s been talking all this trash about my athleticism. So not that I made a big statement tonight, but it’s good to get in the end zone,” Rodgers teased after the Pittsburgh game via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

Teasing aside, even as he approaches 40, Rodgers’ legs are still a vital part of his game. He’s broken 250 rushing yards as recently as 2018, and in his MVP season last year, he had 149 rushing yards and three TDs.

This year, those legs have gotten some extra work even when it doesn’t appear on the stat sheet. Green Bay has had a revolving door of offensive line combinations as the team deals frequent injuries and reshuffling. Rodgers has survived partly due to his shuffling ability behind a makeshift line made of many young players and facing some frightening pass-rushers. He’s been sacked 16 times, according to teamrankings.com, putting him in about the middle of the pack for starting QBs. With context, that’s pretty good.

Despite getting older, Rodgers can still pull off the Houdini moves when needed. Matt LaFleur’s offense is much more friendly for the quarterback than Mike McCarthy’s was, and Rodgers doesn’t have to play as much hero ball. But when a play breaks down, he can still move.

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