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Roger Goodell says suspensions will get through to repeat offenders

Goodell AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not backing down from his stance that players who repeatedly hit opponents in the head deserve to be suspended. In fact, Goodell indicated that more suspensions could be coming as discipline escalates in the future.

“We have to take these hits out of the game that we think have a higher risk of causing injuries, and the focus was on defenseless players,” Goodell said of his mindset toward player safety. “I think we’re going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders. It’s not just the defenseless player being protected, it’s the person doing the striking.”

Although Ravens safety Ed Reed won an appeal after he was initially suspended for a hit to the head, Goodell said he still wants to see players suspended if they don’t get the message when they’re fined and penalized for helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless opponents.

“Suspensions get through to them,” Goodell said.

And Goodell wants to get through to players that if hits on defenseless players continue, the discipline will escalate.

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Kubiak: Trevor Siemian has been much better this week

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball during the first half of a game against the San Diego Chargers  at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak and quarterback Trevor Siemian were both dealing with health issues last week.

Kubiak wasn’t on the sideline when Siemian made a return from a week on the bench with a left shoulder injury in a Thursday night loss to the Chargers. Siemian didn’t look entirely comfortable, especially when he’d take a hit from a San Diego defender, and finished the night 30-of-50 for 230 yards.

Kubiak returned to the team on Monday after a week of rest following a hospital trip and said he feels better as a result. He thinks the extended time off has also been a benefit to Siemian after watching him in practice.

“[I] think he’s been much better — obviously last week when he played in the game he was still sore,” Kubiak said, via “To me, watching him turn a few balls loose [in San Diego], he didn’t rotate the way he normally does … It’s been a week now, and you can see a difference.”

Siemian’s injury and a sluggish running game have contributed to two straight losses for the Broncos and the team will be trying to get things back in gear against the Texans on Monday night. With Brock Osweiler making his return to Denver, a good outing for Siemian would be beneficial to the Broncos on a couple of fronts.

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Jordan Matthews: NFL’s talk of integrity rings hollow

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Jordan Matthews #81 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown late in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on September 21, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are plenty of people scratching their heads over the NFL’s and the Giants multiple failures in the handling of the Josh Brown case.

But from Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews’s perspective, it’s hard to square a teammate getting a 10-game ban for a second offensive of the PED policy while an admitted domestic abuser gets one game.

They always use the words they want to protect the integrity of the game,” Matthews said, via Eliot Shorr-Parks of “I think it is always looked at as the integrity of the football game. Obviously, if somebody makes a mistake like Lane did, or even if somebody does it intentionally if they might try to do something to get an edge, then yes, that can affect a game. So obviously there are some disciplines that should take place.

“But then when we talk about the integrity of the game, and the shield [the NFL logo] . . . you talk about the values that you want to instill in families that actually watch us and look up to us. Then it sends the wrong message that every single time there is an incident with domestic violence or something where there is a physical altercation, especially with a lady . . . it never seems like there is a really big punishment handed down.

“Even with the Ray Rice incident, nothing was really serious until there was public outrage or until the video came out. But my thing is, why do people have to see something for there to be actual steps taken?”

Having empathy and intellectual curiosity would be a good starting point, as well as being good at investigating such instances. The league’s 0-3 on that scorecard at the moment, as more and more people realize how broken their system is.

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Jim Caldwell is not interested in your talk of the postseason

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 09: Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions watches his team against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on October 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Eagles 24-23.(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lions coach Jim Caldwell rarely responds to much of anything.

But if you really want to see nothing, ask him when he might discuss his team’s chances to make the playoffs.

Never,” Caldwell replied, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Next question.”

Of course, the Lions are just 3-3, but they’ve beaten the Eagles and Rams in succession and are playing at a high rate lately. And With Washington (4-2) coming to town this week, they have a chance to stake themselves as legitimate wild card contenders. Beyond the division leaders, only this week’s opponent, the Eagles (3-2) and Packers (4-2) are about .500 in the NFC.

Caldwell said “it’s nonsense to be talking about” playoff possibilities at this stage of the season. in the season and that his team is all-in with its one-game-at-a-time approach.

“These guys have been around,” Caldwell said. “They understand how hard it is, how tough it is. We don’t start making projections. We haven’t done anything. We’re still trying to survive, we’re fighting and scratching for every — we’re trying to make it through practice half the time, let alone talk about looking that far down the road. We’ve got to find a way to keep getting better. Against these teams we’re facing — we’re facing a team that’s got a four-game winning streak, that’s playing awfully well right now, and we’re talking about something else other than that. We don’t do that. That’s kind of what you guys do. We never do it.”

And while it wasn’t exactly a Jim Mora rant, Caldwell’s steady approach seems to be working for the Lions, after their closed last year with a 6-2 finish.

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Kyle Long says his arm injury is serious

Matt Forte, Kyle Long AP

Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long said after Thursday night’s loss to the Packers that he suffered a serious arm injury.

My arm’s f—ed up,” Long said. “Tough spot to be in.”

Long was already playing through an injury to his left shoulder. He did not reveal precisely what happened to his arm last night, but he indicated that he’d like to try to keep playing through his injuries.

The 27-year-old Long has started every game but one in his four-game NFL career.

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Aaron Rodgers knows he’s probably going to have to keep slinging it

GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might not be thrilled with the offense as called last night. But at the moment, he doesn’t have much choice but to live with it.

After effectively running out of running backs, Rodgers completed 39 of his 56 passes to beat the Bears.

I think this is closer to how we’re going to have to play moving forward,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of

Take a deep breath here, and follow the bouncing ball of their running back position. Eddie Lacy just went on IR after ankle surgery, meaning any comeback will be late in the season. James Starks is out a few more weeks after a knee surgery of his own. They promoted Don Jackson from the practice squad, and he injured his hand after just two carries. That left Knile Davis (acquired in trade during the short week) and a bunch of receivers to do the running, so it was hard to sustain a balanced attack.

“It’s one game; it’s a one-game victory,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “And that’s really the reflection of how you plan for a season. You do what you have to do, you play how you have to play. We have the ability to run it as much as we need to, the ability to throw it as much as we need to. Obviously Eddie Lacy is a featured, primary player for our offense, so having both him and James not available, you shift gears. Don Jackson obviously was injured there early, it was unfortunate Knile Davis just got here two days ago, so we’ll work through that.”

Rodgers did throw for 326 yards, but it took him until his 55th pass to top 300, and was the first time he’s done that since last November. The lack of deep-passing success (whether it’s on the receivers getting open or Rodgers getting it to them) has been a trend with the Packers lately, and something they have to address at some point.

If, you know, Rodgers’ arm is still attached to his body.

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King County Sheriff blasts NFL over Josh Brown

New York Giants kicker Josh Brown speaks with reporters at NFL football training camp, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Brown has confirmed that an arrest on a domestic violence charge in May 2015 led to his one-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. (AP Photo/Tom Canavan) AP

In announcing they were going to re-open their investigation into the domestic abuse history of New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, the NFL claimed the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office denied any overtures made by the league to learn more about the case and allegations against Brown.

Sheriff John Urquhart fired back at the NFL in an interview with Dori Monson on KIRO 97.3-FM in Seattle on Thursday.

“I don’t like to get pushed around by a bully,” Urquhart said.

The NFL said in a statement Thursday that repeated attempts to seek cooperation from the Sheriff’s Office were denied.

Because the case against Brown was an open investigation, the Sheriff’s Office was not going to release case files. Urquhart said they never received any written requests from anyone claiming to be a representative of the NFL. He said four days after the incident with Brown opened an investigation, the Sheriff’s Office received a public disclosure request from a Robert Agnew from a generic email address. Another request came from Agnew months later where he again didn’t state his affiliation.

“Nowhere on the request does he say that he works for the NFL and so, we don’t know that it’s the NFL and we’re not gonna give it out anyway, so we denied it,” Urquhart said. “… To our discredit, perhaps, we didn’t use the Google, to Google this guy’s name. Turns out that he is a security representative based in Seattle for the NFL. But he never told us that. The NFL never told us that. At no time has the NFL ever filed a written request – public disclosure request – for any of these files. Period. It’s never happened.”

A different league representative did make calls to the Sheriff’s Office seeking the case file. She was also denied multiple times due to the fact the case was an open investigation. A Seattle police officer claiming to represent the league also asked for the files and was denied as well.

Urquhart said if the league had gone through proper public disclosure channels, the request would have come to his desk and a conversation with the league about the situation could have been more fruitful.

“I would have said exactly the same thing, ‘We cannot release the case file.’ But since this is a hot-button item in the NFL, since it’s the NFL, we probably would have told them orally a little bit more about what we had.” he said. “But we don’t have them calling us here. We’ve got some goofus from Woodinville named Rob Agnew asking for the case file. We have no idea who he is.”

“We would have told them… ‘Be careful, NFL, don’t rush into this. This case is blossoming way more than what happened on May 22nd of 2015. We’re getting more information, be careful,’” he said. “Again, we’re not gonna give them specifics but we certainly would have cautioned the NFL to be careful about what they were going to do.”

Urquhart said he was unhappy with the NFL’s placing blame on his department for the NFL not knowing enough about the case.

“I don’t like the NFL taking shots at the sheriff’s office when it’s not deserved,” Urquhart said. “It’s real simple.”

“I’ll give them credit, they did not have all the information. There’s no question about that,” he said. “And, frankly, I’m not criticizing them for only giving him a one-day suspension based on what they knew. What he was arrested for, in the scheme of things, was relatively minor but obviously there was much more under the surface that apparently they did not know and we couldn’t tell them.

“But for them to say it’s our fault — and it’s not our fault any more than it’s their fault when you get right down to it — for them to say it’s our fault that they only gave them a one-day suspension, that’s just not true. That’s what I object to.”

The Giants signed kicker Robbie Gould on Thursday and left Brown behind as they traveled to London for their game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

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Report: Browns, Pryor discussing contract extension

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) AP

For someone who once said he couldn’t be a receiver because he couldn’t catch, Terrelle Pryor has done a fantastic job of making the transition for the Cleveland Browns.

Pryor has done so well in making the move to receiver that the Cleveland Browns are looking to give him a contract extension.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns and Pryor have had preliminary discussions on a new contract.

The former quarterback has become a bright spot on another underwhelming Browns team. Pryor has caught 33 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns in six games for Cleveland this season. He’s rushed for a fourth touchdown as well. Pryor is currently on a one-year contract with the Browns.

With Seattle in 2014, Pryor wouldn’t entertain the idea of playing another position.

I don’t know how to catch. I don’t know how to run the ball as a running back,” Pryor said. “I’ve been a quarterback my whole life.”

The Browns should be thrilled Pryor committed to a change. Pryor should be too.

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Question of the day focuses on “zero tolerance”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: The NFL shield is painted in gold and black after a game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets  at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The new color scheme is to commemorate this years' Super Bowl witch will be the 50th edition. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s one thing to say that an NFL team applies a “zero tolerance” approach, in one or more various contexts, as to the players who aren’t critical to the effort to win games. It’s quite another to apply “zero tolerance” to key players or other employees.

Which gives rise to Friday’s question of the day for PFT Live: Do you want your favorite team to apply a “zero tolerance” policy on any issue — domestic violence, drugs, weapons, or any other type of criminal conduct?

By “zero tolerance,” we mean true “zero tolerance,” where any player who is determined to have crossed the line gets cut, no matter who he is. It’s easy to take a position in the abstract; it’s harder when considering what it could mean based on which players or non-players find themselves in trouble.

So vote and then comment and then tune in for Friday’s edition of PFT Live, which gets rolling at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio, before sliding over to NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET.

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Rodgers, unconventional Packers dominate second half and win

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) celebrates a touchdown with fans during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke) AP

After a slow start, the Packers finally found a way to balance keeping the ball away from the Bears with letting quarterback Aaron Rodgers throw it on almost every down.

The Bears found themselves out of gas — and without much chance to keep up. The Packers ran away in the second half and went on to win Thursday night at Lambeau Field, 26-10.

Rodgers set a franchise record with 39 completions. He was 39-of-56 for 326 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bears actually led, 10-6, a few plays into the third quarter on a Leonard Floyd sack and fumble recovery before the Packers finally got their offense going. After managing two field goals in the first half, the Packers had scoring drives in the second half that covered 74, 88 and 85 yards, respectively.

Davante Adams caught a pair of touchdown passes from Rodgers. Adams ended up catching 13 passes for 132 yards, Randall Cobb had 11 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown and Ty Montgomery played both running back and wide receiver. Mongtomery had 60 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving on 10 catches.

Rodgers had his first 300-yard passing game since Week 10 last season. Adams’ 13 receptions tied for the second-most in team history in a single game, and three receivers from the same team had at least 10 catches in the same game for the first time since 1994.

The Packers didn’t have a true running back available after rookie Don Jackson was hurt, leaving Montgomery to both run and play wide receiver. Knile Davis played a little in mop-up time, but he’s still learning the offense after being acquired in a trade earlier this week.

The 88-yard scoring drive was the longest of the season for the Packers.

Matt Barkley finished the game at quarterback for the Bears after Brian Hoyer suffered a broken left arm in the second quarter. Barkley’s first completed pass was his first completion in a regular season game since 2013, and he was picked off twice in the fourth quarter.

The Bears were dreadful offensively, managing just 189 total yards. The Packers had the ball for 38:55 and had a 32-13 advantage in first downs.

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Adams gives Packers some breathing room

Chicago Bears cornerback DeVante Bausby (20) tackles Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) AP

The Packers finally have generated some offense, and they hold a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Davante Adams has caught a pair of second half touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers for the Packers, who lead 20-10 after trailing 10-6.

Adams and Ty Montgomery have accounted for a bunch of the Green Bay offense. The Packers don’t have a true running back available after rookie Don Jackson was hurt, leaving Montgomery to both run and play wide receiver.

Early in the fourth quarter, Montgomery has 56 rushing yards and 59 receiving yards. Adams has 12 catches for 116 yards. The second touchdown drive covered 88 yards, the longest of the season for the Packers.

The Bears are struggling to get off the field. Matt Barkley is at quarterback after Brian Hoyer suffered a broken left arm in the second quarter. The Bears’ only touchdown came on a fumble recovery by rookie pass rusher Leonard Floyd.

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Hoyer has broken arm; both teams finally have touchdowns

Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer (2) leaves the game with trainers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke) AP

Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer broke his left arm in the second quarter Thursday night, Bears coach John Fox told CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson.

The Packers lead, 13-10, in the third quarter after an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass to Davante Adams. The Bears took a 10-6 lead less than a minute into the second half after rookie pass rusher Leonard Floyd sacked Aaron Rodgers in the end zone, then recovered Rodgers’ fumble.

It was the Bears’ first defensive touchdown in 35 games. Floyd has two sacks on the night.

It was 6-3, Packers, at halftime. Hoyer was replaced by Matt Barkley in the second quarter after landing awkwardly when he was hit by both Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers on the Packers while releasing a pass.

Bears guard Kyle Long is questionable to return due to an arm injury. Packers rookie running back Don Jackson is also out with a hand injury, leaving wide receiver Ty Montgomery as the Packers’ top option at running back. Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson limped off early in the third quarter.

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Barkley replaces injured Hoyer in defensive struggle at Lambeau

Chicago Bears cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc (22) breaks up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) AP

With Brian Hoyer done for the night due to a left arm injury, the Bears had to turn to Matt Barkley at quarterback.

They got their first points on Barkley’s first series on a 39-yard field goal by Connor Barth. The Packers hold a 6-3 halftime lead in a rather ugly one at Lambeau Field.

Prior to Thursday night, Barkley had last completed a pass in a regular season game in 2013. He had four interceptions and no touchdowns in his career prior to this game.

CBS reported that Hoyer suffered a broken left arm.

The Packers got a field goal on their first series and the Bears got a goal line stop inside the 1 on the Packers’ second drive. The Packers took the lead on Mason Crosby’s second field goal of the night late in the first half.

The Packers are again struggling offensively and two of their biggest plays have come via penalty. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 19-of-30 for 150 yards.

Bears guard Kyle Long is questionable to return due to an arm injury. Packers rookie running back Don Jackson is also out with a hand injury, leaving wide receiver Ty Montgomery as the Packers’ top option at running back.

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By necessity, Packers start Montgomery at running back

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery (88) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) AP

The Packers hold an early 3-0 lead over the Bears on Thursday Night Football.

A 32-yard Mason Crosby field goal opened the scoring. The Packers drove 53 yards in 13 plays.

The Packers converted a fourth and 3 from inside the Bears’ 30 on a pass to Jordy Nelson to keep the drive alive. A dropped pass by Randall Cobb a few plays later forced the Packers to settle for a field goal.

The Packers are shorthanded by injury issues on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver Ty Montgomery started at running back and got a carry on the Packers’ first play. Later in the drive he caught a pass as a wide receiver. Rookie Don Jackson, just promoted Thursday, also got a carry.

The Bears punted on their first two drives.

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Giants signing Robbie Gould

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 06:  Robbie Gould #9 of the Chicago Bears paces the sidelines after missing a field goal with two seconds on the clock against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on December 6, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The 49ers defeated the Bears 26-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants aren’t taking Josh Brown to London, which means they needed to find another kicker for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

According to multiple reports, they are signing longtime Bear Robbie Gould to fill Brown’s role for this weekend’s game. Gould is on his way to England to meet the team.

Gould was released by the Bears in early September after serving as their kicker since 2005. He made 85.4 percent of his field goal attempts over that period, which is only a little bit better than the 84.6 percent he managed on 39 attempts last season.

Gould is a temporary fill-in at the moment, but he could get the job on an extended basis. Brown could be facing further league discipline and/or paid leave from the team thanks to the renewed interest from the league  in the domestic violence case that led to his one-game suspension to start the regular season. Brown could also be released by the Giants, who said they will “revisit this issue” after they return from London.

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What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Packers prepare to host the 1-5 Bears in a game the home team should win, questions persist regarding the struggles of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

On Thursday’s PFT Live, I addressed 10 potential explanations, harvested not from film review or hot-take short-order cooks but from people in position to know what’s going on.

Here are the 10 possible explanations, all or some of which are causing the guy who not long ago was the clear-cut best quarterback in the NFL to experience a sharp decline while still in his prime.

1. Too many hits.

Although it doesn’t account for the full range of Rodgers’ struggles, which began with a 77-yard performance against the Broncos last October, recent issues may have something to do with the pounding he took against the Vikings five weeks ago. While never on the wrong end of a huge hit, Rodgers was constantly peppered with shots from an aggressive Vikings pass rush.

This has created a belief that he’s paying too much attention to the blocking and the rush, and not enough to watching which of his receivers is or will be open.

2. Defenses are keeping him in the pocket.

As noted recently by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, whose assessments of the situation are regarded in league circles as completely accurate, Rodgers throws much better when he escapes the pocket. By keeping him inside the pocket, Rodgers is simply less effective than he otherwise could be.

3. Free plays aren’t happening.

Rodgers had become very good at using the hard count to get a defensive lineman to jump in the neutral zone, quickly call for the snap, and fire a nothing-to-lose ball down the field, often resulting in a big play.

Per McGinn, last year Rodgers turned neutral-zone infractions into gains of 52, 34, 29, 27, and 22 yards — along with a 52-yard pass interference penalty — in the first six weeks of the season. Since then, none.

4. Receivers aren’t getting open.

As noted both by McGinn and future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, the receivers aren’t getting open quickly enough. Whether that’s due to the offensive design, which requires receivers to beat man coverage without a bunch of gimmicks and tricks (like bunch formations), or the limitations of the receivers, if they’re not open, it’s hard to get them the ball.

5. Rodgers isn’t trusting what he sees.

Rodgers may be partially responsible for the receivers not being open because he’s not trusting what he sees when receivers are trying to get open.

By not anticipating that the receivers will get open and waiting until they are, the delay in the process of seeing them open and delivering the ball results in them not being open by the time the ball arrives. Or it results in Rodgers holding the ball too long and missing the window completely.

6. Rodgers lacks a high-end pass-catching tight end.

Every since the retirement of Jermichael Finley, the Packers have struggled to replace the production of the tight end position in the passing game. Without that presence putting pressure on the middle of the defense, it’s easier to account for the pass-catchers on the outside.

7. Sitton’s departure.

Some think the absence of Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton is a factor in the regression of Rodgers. But the problems began while Sitton was still there.

Put simply, the belief is that the issues would still exist, even if Sitton was still a Packer.

8. Impaired running game.

It’s no secret that a potent running game makes it easier to throw the ball, especially via play-action. The Packers haven’t had a potent running game in recent months, which has allowed defenses to skew toward stopping the pass.

9. Rodgers may be freelancing.

It’s impossible to know this unless someone publicly or privately breaks ranks, but there’s a theory from some in the know that Rodgers has developed a habit of ignoring the plays that have been communicated to him from the sideline. Apart from creating extra tension with the coaching staff (regardless of whether Rodgers’ efforts are successful), it’s possible that Rodgers is changing the play from something that would have worked to something that doesn’t.

“My guess is that Rodgers, after 12 years as a pro, would be a hard man to coach,” McGinn recently wrote. That can manifest itself in many ways, including Rodgers thinking he knows what works better than the men paid a lot of money to decide on what will and won’t.

10. Personal issues.

Last year, Rob Demovsky of threw a rock into the hornet’s nest by suggesting that Rodgers may be having issues with girlfriend Olivia Munn. For that reason and plenty of others, I won’t be nearly that specific.

But the reality is that personal issues can indeed make it harder to be successful at work for anyone. It can be even more of an issue for NFL franchise quarterbacks, who carry their work pretty much everywhere they go.

Regardless of what the issues may be or how they may have arisen or who they may involve, when trying to identify the potential reasons for a consistent dip in the play of a short-list franchise quarterback, it’s fair to wonder whether something unrelated to football is affecting his football performance.

This isn’t about intruding on his privacy or pouring salt into any wounds. It’s about trying to understand why, at a time when his remaining physical skills and ever-accumulating experiences should be causing him to enter the mid-30s sweet spot where he essentially becomes a coach on the field, Rodgers isn’t playing like he did in his 20s.

That said, he still has the skills and the brains to turn it around. If/when it happens, the Packers will be a dangerous presence down the stretch and in the postseason.

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