Ailing Aaron Rodgers has Packers ready for blitzes


When Aaron Rodgers is behind center, blitzing is always a tenuous strategy.

In the second half of Week 17, Rodgers returned with a calf injury to lead a gutsy Green Bay Packers win. To the surprise of some in that half, the Detroit Lions did not go blitz-heavy on the less-mobile Rodgers. Lions coach Jim Caldwell even scoffed at a reporter after the game when asked why the Lions didn't blitz Rodgers more.

Normally Rodgers picks apart blitzing defenses. His "coach-smart" intelligence allows him to read the pressure pre-snap and his quick-trigger arm can get the ball out before the rush takes effect. Only Tom Brady has a higher passer rating than Rodgers' 112.5 since 2008 against the blitz and the Packers' quarterback has 91 touchdowns to just 18 interceptions against five or more rushers, per

Still, with Rodgers' calf injury being the biggest threat to a Green Bay home playoff win, Packers players are preparing to see more pressures from the Dallas Cowboys.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see more (blitzes) this week knowing that with his calf," Packers right guard T.J. Lang said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see them generate some extra pressure to try to move him around a little bit. I don't know, we'll have to see."

The Cowboys under Rod Marinelli aren't a blitzing squad, but rather a team that plays conservative, rally-and-tackle football.

A gimpy Rodgers could entice a change in philosophy, but don't expect that to trouble the Packers. The injured calf didn't hurt Rodgers' brain or his O-line's ability to block.

"The way we've shown we can block a four-man rush, I don't know why you wouldn't try to bring a little bit more on him," Lang said. "But with him it's kind of pick your poison."

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