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Film Room: How Can Cowboys Contain QB Aaron Rodgers?

No current NFL has plagued the like . Starting in 2007 when Rodgers saw some of his first real NFL action at in relief of an injured , he has done damage to the Cowboys just about every time.

Back in 2010, Rodgers ended the era by demolishing a banged up Cowboys team 45-7. In 2014, he broke the hearts of everywhere with key fourth quarter drives to put them away in the Divisional .

This year, the Cowboys are out for revenge. But in order to get said revenge, they must be able to stop the best, and hottest quarterback in the NFL right now.

What makes Rodgers so great, besides all of the obvious arm talent-traits, is his ability to buy time and extend plays. Time and time again a defense thinks they have contained him, gotten pressure on him, or covered all the receivers perfectly, only to see Rodgers escape the pocket and make a big play.

Even in defeat earlier this season, Rodgers still had success when moving both around and out of the pocket against the Cowboys.

On this play, the Cowboys does a good job initially of closing the pocket from the inside, and getting pressure up the middle. hits Packers right TJ Lang with a nice spin move, and splits the and guard on his way to Rodgers.

On the outside, the Cowboys don't do a great job of beating the Packers tackles, who are very talented, but does just enough to knock Rodgers off his initial landmark.

The problem is, by pressuring just one side of the quarterback, the Cowboys allow for Rodgers to create and escape to the other side. Once he gets around , Rodgers is all by himself and presents both a running and passing threat.

By buying himself extra time, he allows for his receivers to work open and find holes in the Cowboys coverage. His escape-ability results in a big completion on this play.

Last week in their game against the , the Packers started very slow offensively. Scoreless through most of the first half, it took a remarkable play by Rodgers to give Green Bay their first lead.

Here is that play. Once again we see Rodgers create time in the pocket, sliding behind his blockers without running into a sack. While his movement is impressive here, his ability to throw the receiver open is even more shocking.

There is absolutely no one open on this play. Not even after Rodgers creates extra time. But by delivering a dime to the wide-out where only he could come away with it, Rodgers gets the Packers on the board and takes back control of the game.

How Cowboys the can deal with Aaron Rodgers?

It's a fair question, and one that many in the national circuit seem to believe there isn't an answer to. But the Cowboys have dealt with Rodgers before, as recent as this very season. How did they do it? With great coverage, mostly.

The Packers don't have much of a , and with the way the Cowboys play , you can expect to have a lead for much of the game. Given this, Dallas should be able to drop as many as seven or eight into coverage at times, and really focus on blanketing Green bay's receivers and leaving Rodgers with no options.

The problem which presents itself when you do this, though, is Rodgers' ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his feet. Third in the NFL in terms of quarterback rushing yards this season, Rodgers is a dual-threat player, even if he doesn't get mentioned with guys like Tyrod Taylor or even often.

This is where keeping a spy on Rodgers is so important. Like you can see in the play above, the Cowboys drop seven into coverage, rush just three, and keep a as a spy. The Cowboys do a great job in coverage on the back end, but don't create much pressure up front. Recognizing that the quarterback is getting too much time, rushes the quarterback from depth, and comes up with a huge sack.

On obvious passing downs, this cover-1 spy look will be critical for the Cowboys if they are to be successful Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers presents a ton of problems for any defense, but with their personnel and scheme, I believe the Cowboys can make a few big stops and win this game on Sunday. Hopefully, I'll be right.

Kevin Brady
Kevin Brady
Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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