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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Slide, Aaron, Slide!

This ladies and gentlemen is exactly why all quarterbacks should slide unless we’re talking about a play with the game on the line. I love the attitude of Aaron Rodgers, he is obviously a true competitor, however he really hurt the team with this play. If he slides in this situation, Rodgers probably leads Green Bay to a win versus the lowly Lions and their playoff situation looks pretty good. Instead Rodgers gets a concussion, and the Packers have a tough road ahead of them and have to possibly play the Patriots without Rodgers. No running game + no Aaron Rodgers is pretty much an automatic loss.

Brett Favre ironically is a good example of a player who has stopped taking unnecessary injury risks. Early in Favre’s career he was very hard to take down as a QB, and wouldn’t slide very often. However after playing through many injuries and after his legs slowed down he realized his health was worth more to the team than an extra couple yards. Of course he still sometimes makes boneheaded decisions like trying to block cornerbacks on a direct snap (in a pre-season game no less), but for the most part he has done what he needed in order to stay healthy.

Now that Favre’s streak is over, Peyton Manning holds the current consecutive start streak for a QB. If you watch Peyton play, he almost always slides and is very easy to take down if a player gets his hands on him. Some people may question Manning’s toughness, but if he gets injured the team goes down as well. There is no point for elite QBs to be risking their health if the game is not on the line.

Players like Rodgers, and to a greater extent, Michael Vick, use their legs as weapons, which is large part of their success. I would encourage both players to continue to scramble and get yards when they can, but always to slide instead of taking a hit. Aaron Rodgers is a smart player and I believe he will learn from this situation, and hopefully other young competitive QB’s will learn from this as well.

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