This Scouting Report for Thursday night’s Patriots vs. Vikings game is produced by The 33rd Team’s Scouting Department, led by former Eagles, Cardinals and Ravens personnel executive T.J. McCreight and assisted by scouts Justin Casey, Kevin Cohn and Evan Pritt.
- Rodgers has thrown 19 TDs, seven interceptions, 2,542 yards, and has a rating of 93.2, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The last time the 38-year-old Rodgers had a rating below 93 was in 2015, when the Packers finished 10-6.
- This is his 15th season as a starter and his 18th overall. In his 15 seasons as the Packers starting quarterback, he has had a losing record only twice, and his overall record is 143-73-1.
- It is incredible he has thrown 10 or more interceptions only twice in his career (the last time was 2010), and his TD-to-INT ratio for those 15 years is 31-6.
- Hurts ranks fourth in the league with a rating of 106.5. He has 15 TDs and only three interceptions. He has rushed for 440 yards (4.0 avg) and eight touchdowns. His eight rushing TDs are fourth overall and first among quarterbacks.
- Don’t let the game come down to one play. Rodgers is one of the best, if not the best, “Hail Mary” quarterbacks I have ever seen. It is a combination of timing to allow your receivers to get to the endzone, arm strength and trajectory.
- In this situation, if I were the defensive coordinator, I would sacrifice defending the pass with fewer defensive backs and rush with more pass rushers. It has some risks, but it would force Rodgers to get rid of the ball and would not give him the time to set up the play.
- Rodgers has been an extremely accurate passer, with a 65.3 completion percentage for his career and 64.6% thus far in 2022. He is not a dink-and-dunk passer but has thrown more short passes this season.
- He is outstanding on the back shoulder fade, and his deep ball is textbook. He can make throws off balance and from stressed positions. He still has outstanding arm strength even when throwing off his back foot or from contorted positions.
- I don’t see his skills diminished, and he still throws the football as he did 10 years ago. Perhaps just a tad less pop on the intermediate throws, but it is negligible. The ball will still explode out of his hand.
- Focus on the way Rodgers moves in the pocket. He’s very subtle, and he can slide laterally to avoid the rush and deliver the football. He will move up in the pocket, and edge rushers will fly past him. Like most quarterbacks, he will have more issues with pressure from the inside rather than on the edges.
- Rodgers has seen everything a quarterback will see during their career- nothing should surprise him. What an advantage it is when a quarterback still is physically strong/healthy but also has the experience of seeing every blitz, coverage, stunt and scheme.
- I was around Hurts for two years in Philadelphia and what stood out to me was his leadership and work ethic. Hurts, during his rookie season before he was the starter, would stay late after practice working with some of the young wide receivers. Hurts and Quez Watkins developed a chemistry you can see. Even with all of the weapons the Eagles have, he trusts Watkins, and they are on the same page.
- Although he does not have ideal height, Hurts is strong and sturdy. He has a thick, solid lower body, and he is built to take some hits and avoid injury.
- He has also greatly improved his ability to slide. He understands when to get out of bounds and when to take a dive.
- Hurts is a very good athlete, not a ‘wow’ athlete, but very good. He has outstanding instincts with the ball in his hands. He is a natural runner and football player. You can see he grew up playing the game, and he has been running with the football in his hands since he was young. I like his feet, body control and strength. He’s also a ‘balanced’ runner.
- Hurts gets rid of the ball quickly but often seems to lock on to his receiver. He is an accurate passer with good arm strength. I was impressed with his ability to move up in the pocket, avoid the rush, keep his eyes down the field and deliver the ball accurately.
- His play from the pocket has improved and will continue to do so.
- Even with the Packers struggling this season, this will be a fun game to watch. Both quarterbacks can do some great things.
Aaron Jones vs. Eagles’ Front
- If there is a weakness for the 9-1 Eagles, it has been their run defense. They are allowing 122 yards rushing per game and 4.65 yards per carry, which ranks 24th in the NFL.
- After standing strong vs. Jonathan Taylor and the Colts’ offense, they’ll be tested again when they face Jones, who currently ranks seventh in rushing yards (778) while averaging 5.44 yards per carry.
- Since the Eagles lost Jordan Davis to injury, their run defense has been struggling. After getting gashed by Washington, Philadelphia was quick to respond, signing Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh.
- These players helped solidify the front once again, limiting Taylor to 84 rushing yards and 3.4 yards/carry last week.
- The Eagles’ defense has some bright spots with 300.6 yards per game allowed (second best), 20 takeaways (first), 4.6 yards per play allowed (first), 21.7% of drives ending in turnovers (first) and 29.3% of drives ending in offensive scores (third).
- Though Fletcher Cox continues to creep up in age, he still displays flashes of play-making ability. Cox is an explosive defender with the strength to disrupt the pocket and muddy run lanes.
- Javon Hargrave continues to impress vs. the pass with twitch and leverage to penetrate the line of scrimmage. Last week, he led all Eagles with five pressures. He can hold his own 1v1 in the run with quickness, but once doubled, he can get knocked out of the hole.
- Joseph is the definition of a space eater, using size to his advantage to absorb blocks while freeing up others and keeping them clean.
- Suh is another defender who can take on singles and doubles, owning the strength to shed or split them. He plays with good pad level, regularly stalemating blockers along the line of scrimmage.
- Brandon Graham is the leader and the voice of the defense. After missing last year with an Achilles injury, he’s back and looks to have not lost his step with the 11th-highest win percentage (21.7%) vs. blockers.
- Graham flashes quick get-off with natural leverage to knock linemen off base and stress their edges. His smaller stature for a DE can give issues on occasion when setting the edge vs. longer OTs.
- Josh Sweat continues to ascend after heading to the Pro Bowl last year. Sweat owns a fast first step, with the speed to get upfield. He blends his length/hands to stress edges. Inconsistent pad level can cause issues digging in and preventing the run lane from widening.
- Haason Reddick was the prized signing in free agency for the Eagles, and he’s already contributed 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
- Reddick’s a quick rusher with bend, balance and an array of moves to win with. Against the run, his use of hands and leverage allows him to strike, sit and slow a blocker’s progress.
- T.J. Edwards has been having a stellar year while solidifying the core of the defense. Edwards is a tough and instinctive LB who can process fast before triggering.
- He’s willing to take on blockers, showing the strength to discard. Edwards is quicker than fast, though, and his lack of a second gear can get exposed as space expands.
- The Packers have struggled to get anything going this year. One of their few bright spots comes from Jones, who has shown out this.
- His 478 yards after contact are fourth best in the NFL, and his 40 receptions are seventh most among RBs, flashing his ability to perform on the ground and through the air. Jones has the luxury of playing behind an OL that’s helped the offense rush for 1,349 yards total (ninth best) while also having a future Hall of Fame QB to distribute the ball.
- Jones owns a good blend of quicks and speed to hit the hole in a hurry or bounce it laterally while looking to outrace. His compact and low center of gravity allows him to stay balanced when defenders initiate contact.
- Jones’ vision is good. He can locate open areas and pick up what’s out in front. Even when engulfed by defenders, he’s willing to lower the shoulder and churn his feet for anything extra.
- His hands are an asset in the passing game. He catches it softly while utilizing his instincts for some yards after the catch.
- Overall, even though the Eagles’ signing of Joseph and Suh helped limit an elite runner in Taylor, Philadelphia will have their hands full against Green Bay’s better overall OL and an RB in Jones, who has four 100+ yard rushing games (second-best).
Miles Sanders vs. Green Bay’s Front
- The Packers are allowing 135.8 yards rushing per game, which ranks 24th, and 4.6 yards per carry.
- Green Bay’s biggest weakness in the run game is right up the middle. They are not getting good enough play from their interior DL.
- Their DTs are lacking consistent push, which is a bit surprising. Kenny Clark has been a good player in the league but is struggling to generate much power at the POA.
- Jarran Reed was brought in from KC, and he is also having a tough time. They also have not shown great play from their linebackers.
- Rookie Quay Walker looks like he is taking too much time processing what is going on and not playing fast. He is late to react and isn’t coming downhill hard. This is a big problem for a team struggling to defend the run.
- Sanders has been solid for the Eagles this season. He ranks eighth in rushing yards and averages 4.85 yards per rush.
- Sanders is a quality No.1 back who displays good vision and patience. The Eagles run a lot of zone-blocking concepts, which allows Sanders to see his blocking in front of him and find the hole.
- Sanders shows the patience to allow the blocks to develop and good burst and lateral quickness to hit the hole. He has the ability to run between the tackles and bounce it outside.
- Sanders has good speed, but I don’t see him as a player who will outrun defenses. He can gain big chunks with his speed. Sanders runs hard and has a low center of gravity. He fights through contact and is always falling forward.
- He can keep his legs moving with good power and fight for an extra yard or two when needed. He can grind out a game if the Eagles need him to, even though they have not seen too many of these situations. He can be a high-volume back.
- With the combination of Sanders and the Eagles’ offensive line, I think this could be a tough day for Green Bay. The Eagles have run the ball effectively all year. The Packers are susceptible to teams grinding it out and taking the four or five-yard run. If the Eagles stay patient and within their offense, Sanders could see a lot of touches for a bunch of yards.
- Do-or-die time for the Packers, if it’s not too late already.
Packers’ Keys to Victory
- Find a way to prevent the Eagles from grinding out yards in the run game. They need to keep them behind the sticks on first and second down and make them play from third and medium/long.
- Control the football with longer, sustained drives. Keep drives alive by winning on 3rd down by both running and passing the football.
Eagles’ Keys to Victory
- Stay in your game plan and take what is there in the run game.
- Get pressure on Rodgers with the depth of their front, keep their rushers fresh and, in the fourth quarter, work to get him out of sync.
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