The San Francisco 49ers face numerous challenges on Sunday when they face the Green Bay Packers. Most of them come due to the quarterbacking skills of Aaron Rodgers. This is not exactly breaking news, but it is something Eric Mangini and the defense will have to figure out quickly over the next handful of days.
Rodgers has numerous tricks up his sleeve that make it that much easier for him to wreck shop on opposing defenses. One of his more significant weapons is the hard count. On Monday evening, his hard count got the Kansas City Chiefs offsides on two separate plays. On those plays, Rodgers completed two passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Through eight games, the Packers have drawn eight offsides penalties. Dating back to 2010?
Attn: Ahmad Brooks https://t.co/jm32hLh0jR— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) September 29, 2015
The 49ers need to be aggressive against this defense, but they have to be wary of giving Rodgers free plays. He's a tough enough quarterback just straight-up. Giving him this kind of advantage just adds to the problems. As was discussed here, when Rodgers gets that free play, he's not taking high percentage shots. He is throwing the deep ball because he knows there is nothing to lose.
Rodgers is 5-for-10 with 162 yards and two touchdowns on those free plays this season. The completion percentage is meaningless in this case because would get at least five free yards regardless. And maybe you draw a pass interference as well on the deep ball. That is one of the many issues the 49ers defensive will have to address as they prepare for an incredibly difficult matchup.