When Derek Carr looks across the field, he will see one of the three best current quarterbacks of the last decade. Aaron Rodgers makes the Green Packers a threat to win just about every game and never too far away from a victory. Yet, for all of their perceived differences, these two share commonalities. Meanwhile, there’s one quality that many hope Carr will embrace.
Regardless of coaching situation or circumstance, Aaron Rodgers serves as the unquestioned leader of his team. On the other hand, through media debate and fan discord, Carr hasn’t locked that down. When you think of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers’ name pops to mind. Conversely, you will hear Jon Gruden’s name before Derek Carr. In his sixth year, through partially his own fault, that authoritarian approach still eludes him. If you look at it, Rodgers enjoyed a smoother path. Sitting three seasons behind Brett Favre allowed him time. Carr grabbed the ball from Day One.
Believe it or not, Rodgers and Carr vary less that two percent in passing completion. However, Rodgers’ yards-per-attempt eclipses Carr. That is to say, his approach to the game remains riskier. Rodgers will take frequent shots downfield, testing defenses. Arm talent aside, because Carr stacks up well, Rodgers throws with abandon. Although he loves to push secondaries, his interception rate stays freakishly low. So, the ball finds receivers. At times, Carr will not take the deep shot vertically, instead choosing to find the safer underneath route.Not to mention, Rodgers, even at age 36, will break the pocket, scrambling downfield, picking up chunk yardage. Unfortunately, Carr will eschew the ground game.
If you listen to Aaron Rodgers answer questions, a certain vibe exists. Rodgers will exhibit a dismissive snarkiness towards reporters and deliver blunt responses. On the contrary, Carr seems rather canned in his responses and calm. Rodgers controls the narrative around him and will appear rather touchy and sensitive under harsh questioning. Granted, no one expects Carr to display curt, testy behavior. Yet, the occasional snapping at reporter or responding harshly could go a long way to quieting naysayers.
As mentioned, Rodgers loves playing on the edge. For instance, regardless of situation, he will use nuance to his advantage. Something as innocuous as his cadence gives the Packers an advantage. With the sheer inflection of his voice, Rodgers causes the defense to jump into the neutral zone. From there, his receivers know to sprint downfield. Now, you may not see this as important. Yet, Rodgers will force defenses to commit this penalty seemingly twice a game. Whenever Carr can master that skill, you will see his yardage increase. As a result, points will also mount.
Sunday’s game provides a contradiction in styles. If Derek Carr can borrow some of what makes Aaron Rodgers phenomenal, his stay in Silver and Black lasts much longer. Nothing physical, just the mindset shift would make all the difference.