But this is Linsley’s sixth season as the Green Bay Packers‘ center and even what his quarterback did in Sunday’s 42-24 dismantling of the Oakland Raiders seemed like old hat.
Five touchdown passes, one touchdown run and 429 yards weren’t completely meh to Linsley, but …
“We see it every day in practice,” he said. “This dude’s ridiculously talented. He’s a great dude. He’s a perfectionist. All the stuff you hear, it’s great to see it come to fruition and have him have this unbelievable game. We’re all happy for him. But honestly, it’s nothing new to us. It seems like another day at the office. It was just, Aaron is on today.”
About the only thing that truly amazed Linsley was the passer rating, something coach Matt LaFleur made mention of in front of the entire team in the postgame locker room.
This is David Bakhtiari‘s seventh season as the Packers’ left tackle and as he leaned against a wall in a victorious locker room at Lambeau Field, the matter-of-factness in his tone was evident.
“Aaron is Aaron out there every week, but I mean, you talk about lights out, yeah,” Bakhtiari said. “Our coach said he had a perfect passer rating for the first time in his career. I told him, ‘We blocked up well, but I felt like if we gave you time you were going to light ’em up, or if we let every single guy come at your face you were going to light ’em up regardless.’ That’s kind of how on he was today.”
It’s not that guys like Bakhtiari and Linsley weren’t impressed, but they have been around long enough to see vintage Rodgers more than once.
But what was it like for those who had never seen it firsthand? Here’s what it looked like through their eyes:
Right guard Billy Turner
Turner spent his first five NFL seasons with the Dolphins and Broncos. His quarterbacks were Ryan Tannehill, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Case Keenum. Turner said he had never before seen anything like what Rodgers did on Sunday.
“Only on film. Never been on a team with a quarterback of that caliber who has done things that special with the football.”
Who was that quarterback on the film?
“Him. He’s one of the greatest of all time, if not the best. There’s a lot of guys who are trying to emulate their game after the things he does, and to be able to continue to elevate his game again and again is special.
“When you go into a huddle with a quarterback that’s confident with the football in his hands it’s completely different. I’ve been in a lot of situations where I’ve been in the huddle where guys have come in and lack confidence and as a player, it’s almost like you try to elevate your game and everyone around because it’s almost like you’ve got to pick up the slack. But it’s completely different with him.”
Aaron Rodgers felt an offensive explosion was coming with how comfortable he’s starting to feel in new head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense.
Left guard Elgton Jenkins
A second-round pick from Mississippi State, the rookie took over as the full-time starter after Lane Taylor was injured in Week 3.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quarterback throw for 400 and five touchdowns like easy. Just being in the huddle, it’s a blessing to have a quarterback of such high caliber.
“He put the ball on the money. My job is to protect and I see that now if you protect and give him time, he’s going to make things happen.”
Rodgers was pressured on just five of his 34 dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That’s his second-lowest pressure rate (14.7 percent) in the past three seasons. He went 15 of 18 with three touchdowns when given at least 2.5 seconds to throw. In his first six games this season, he completed 55 percent of such passes.
“Never [seen anything like what Rodgers did Sunday]. That’s some legendary stuff, man.”
“Playing against him three out of my four years and watching, and then actually being on a team with him and seeing him in practice and seeing how he prepares and goes out there in practices, it’s like, man, I always used to be amazed watching him when I was on the field. If he threw the ball, seeing what kind of throw he was going to complete. Watching him on the field. Now, it’s even more exciting to watch him at practice and see him come out here and do it in a game. Everybody is excited, and I’m like, ‘I’ve seen that before.'”
Receiver Jake Kumerow
The former Division III star at Wisconsin-Whitewater caught two passes for 54 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown on Sunday against the Raiders. He’s in his second season with the Packers but barely played last year.
“When we’re out there playing, I don’t even realize how many touchdowns he threw or how many yards he’s throwing for. I had no idea until we got back in the locker room.
“In college, we had some good games. My quarterback, Matt Behrendt, threw for six touchdowns in the first half and I had three of them, and then we both got taken out so we didn’t get to finish the game. So we were on a roll to start that one. Other than that, [no]. And that’s a little bit different playing where we were at. It was against [Wisconsin-] Stout. Are they a blue team? Yeah, [it was against] Stout.”
Backup quarterback Tim Boyle
Boyle spent last season as the No. 3 quarterback and is Rodgers’ backup this year. He spent his first three college seasons at Connecticut, where he threw one touchdown and 13 interceptions. In his final season, at Eastern Kentucky, he threw 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
“It is incredible, absolutely incredible, what he did today. … The fact that Aaron played pretty much a perfect game, it really is unbelievable. He stands in there, makes all these throws and gets hit, and he keeps plugging along. Honestly, it’s pretty awe-inspiring to watch on the sideline, just watching how he operates and how smooth he is. His leadership out there is obviously a good example for me, but today was one of those days where everything was clicking and it’s well-deserved. Obviously, we’ve been taking some criticism for the offense and leaning on the defense a little bit, but today was one of those days where it feels good to go out there and finally put up 42.”