On this episode of the Monday Morning Podcast on The MMQB NFL Podcast feed, Conor Orr and Jenny Vrentas break down all of the Week 7 action, including Aaron Rodgers’s perfect passer rating, the Cowboys' win against the Eagles in a mediocre NFC East, Lamar Jackson’s big win in Seattle and much more.
(Listen and subscribe to the latest episode of The MMQB NFL Podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Jenny Vrentas: Why don't we start in Green Bay with the most impressive performance of the day? The Packers are now 6–1 after Rodgers’s top performance of 2019. He was 25-of-31 for 429 yards, five passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, a perfect passer rating, apparently the only perfect passer rating in Packers history, per Matt LaFleur... What do you think? Looks like what they had in mind when they hired Matt LaFleur to rejuvenate the Packers offense with Rodgers.
Conor Orr: I mean, the ease with which some of this is happening now is, I think, what we all thought it was going to be, where Rodgers could play with a little bit less on his shoulders and play a little bit faster and get more favorable matchups. And I think ... You get help when you have guys like Jimmy Graham play it the way that they did today. And I think that opens up a lot for your offense. But yeah, they just out-schemed the Raiders.
Also, a good night, I think, for the Matt LaFleur-Aaron Rodgers friendship. Right? Do you see him hold the game ball up after the game, and then Aaron comes over and he just sort of snatches it from him, but not in a mean way. It was sort of like a like a Top Gun way where it's like ‘you're my copilot’ sort of thing. That's how I felt anyway.
Vrentas: Oh, that's a good description, because we are big body language readers over here. Some of the body language earlier in the season was a little questionable between the two of them, and you were on top of that, Conor. So to hear that you thought today was a big step forward, I think is pretty meaningful.
Orr: Well, it was just funny at the beginning of the season when Aaron Rodgers just went out of the way to say how great the defense was and not that like, hey, look, here's our new head coach that came into an impossible situation and is somehow keeping us all together. You know, I think that a lot of that is still not talked about, that you go into a locker room that's been used to doing things the same way for 10, 11, 12 years. And then you come in and say, hey, we're going to change everything. And new signs, new slogans, new weight program, new regime, everything. And that's tough a lot of times, I think, for a new coach to to shove that down someone's throat when they're not used to it and they're not ready for it. But I mean, it's it's working for them. They're kind of running away with things a little bit here.
Vrentas: Yeah. And well, as much as they wanted to downplay all of the questions about how their partnership would work in the offseason, those are all legitimate questions. Audibles and running a new offense. And today there was an acknowledgment that they had come a long way, which I think is probably as close as we'll get to saying that there was a long way to go. So you could hear that in the postgame comments. At 6–1, obviously it's a tough division race with the Vikings, but the Packers are in a great spot.
Orr: They're in a great spot. And I totally agree with you—I saw a lot of sentiment about this on Twitter. And I don't know why I did this, but don't read the comments under any tweets, it’s such a waste of time.
Vrentas: Never, Conor.
Orr: But I read a lot of the comments, to see what Packer fans are saying, underneath the video of LaFleur giving Aaron Rodgers the game ball. And it was all about how dumb we are for reading too much into their relationship at the beginning of the season. But I think that there was something going on. And if you talk to anybody who's coached Aaron Rodgers in the past, as we both have, I think that you'll find that the sentiment is very real, that he likes to challenge people who are giving him instructions. And I think that in the pre-season, that was his challenge to his new coach, that, hey, I'm not just somebody that you come in here and you push around and you tell what to do. This is how I can fight back, and this is the way that I'm going to do things. And it was not really a standoff, but something to kind of let everybody know what the playing field was. And I think that whatever it was after that, they've done a lot of work to get here. And I think it's very impressive.
Vrentas: Yeah, you could tell that just acknowledging that they have taken steps forward is a step forward. I also think that you underestimate sometimes the amount of work that it takes to sort of get a coach and a quarterback on the same page, especially when it's a quarterback like Rodgers. And so I think seven weeks into the season seems like, that makes sense that we'd be starting to see things click around this time.
Orr: No doubt. And a tough one for the Raiders today.
Vrentas: Yeah. On the flip side of the field, the Raiders are coming off two wins against the Colts and Bears. But a rough day for them today. I think it was three trips to the red zone with nothing, including the dreaded fumble into the end zone touchback, which everyone hates. But I actually don't hate that rule that much. And I think what it comes down to is, you need to coach that into the player—that you can't be extending for the goal line there, especially since this is something that Derek hard done in the past. In 2017, right? I think when every year, when there's one of these calls and people scream outrage at that, this is a rule in the NFL, the flip side of that is you hear coaches saying, well, yeah, you just have to coach around in a certain way. And one of the ways the coach around it is not extend with one arm out toward the goal line.
Orr: Yeah, it is funny that I think that out of all the new rules, because it feels like every year we complain about new rules. But the one rule that for some reason sets the football world ablaze a guaranteed once a year is the fumble out of bounds. Right? And at least we got it out of the way in Week 7. So we're done with it, at least for this year. We all agree that. We disagree and it's time to move on. You know, I'm with you, though. I think it's a fine rule. Just don't do it.
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