Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley acknowledged his sleep patterns would be affected this week, as he devised ways to slow down Green Bay Packers do-everything quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL.
“The sleepless thing, it could actually make you sleep longer, because you’re so tired thinking about it,” Staley said. “You know you could go that way too, that’s happened to me too. You either lose sleep or you fall asleep right away because you’re just so tired. So, it goes both ways.
“Guys like this, I think the physical ability of Aaron and his talent as a thrower, as a mover, all that I think is obvious to people. But I think that game within a game that makes the truly elite quarterbacks special is how they beat you with their mind. He’s got an incredible awareness of all 22 guys on the field. He’s aware of your sideline. He’s aware of the officials. He has full command over what’s happening on the field and that’s what truly makes him special.”
Staley confirmed he participated in Zoom interviews with the Los Angeles Chargers and the New York Jets for those team’s head coaching vacancies on Sunday after L.A.’s win over the Seattle Seahawks last week.
“I had two really great visits with the Chargers and the Jets,” Staley said. “Humbled, as I mentioned to you guys last time to be considered for a position like that in this league. An exciting opportunity to compete and meet with those teams. Then as soon as those interviews were over, you get right back to work on Green Bay. It was a busy day. It was a long day, but it was a good day.”
The Houston Texans also reportedly requested permission to interview Staley for the team’s head coaching vacancy.
One thing Staley’s defense will have to be aware of is Rodgers’ ability to make things happen on play-action passes.
Per Next Gen Stats, Rodgers has more play-action touchdown passes (20) this season than he had in the previous four seasons combined (17).
Rodgers has thrown 16 of his 20 play-action touchdowns in the red zone this season; He’s 23-of-26 for 121 passing yards and 16 touchdowns in the red zone.
Staley said the Rams will have to account for Rodgers’ movement skills, both in the red zone and on scramble plays, where the Packers like to take deep shots.
“He uses his legs more tactically now than he did when he was a younger player,” Staley said. “He still has that athleticism to buy time to create late in the down -- that’s what makes him so challenging.
“When he moves, this guy is one of the most accurate throwers in the deep part of the field on the move in the history of this game. It’s one thing to be mobile and to get out of trouble, but then to be as accurate as he is in the deep part of the field, it makes him that much more dangerous to defend. It’s a real strength of his game.”