- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 7, 2016

ASHBURN — The numbers suggest Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has taken a step back. His completion percentage, yards per pass and quarterback rating have gone through a downturn this season. Those totals mean little to the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins head into Sunday’s wild-card round game against the Packers duly wary of Rodgers. In particular, it’s Rodgers ability to slide in the pocket, leak to the left or right of the line of scrimmage and still make a throw that is concerning.

“He can run, but he’s one of those guys that happens to stand in the pocket, throw 80 yards or break the pocket, throw on the run and still throw it on a line 80 yards,” nose tackle Terrance Knighton said. “When he gets out of the pocket, they have some things scheme-wise to give us trouble, but we’ve got to fight through it. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback, and the best way to make a quarterback average like that is to hit him and get pressure on him.”

The Redskins had a hard time corralling Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor in Week 15. Though he is more intent on running than Rodgers, the same questions of discipline when trying to contain Rodgers exist. Once players settled down and stayed in their assigned lanes to better contain Taylor, they were able to slow him.

“Just got to rush smart, can’t rush cautious and not get too high, especially on the edge to his right, because that’s where he makes a lot of plays,” outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he has not seen a particular deficiency that has led to the decline in Rodgers‘ numbers. He’s more than impressed with the five-time Pro-Bowl quarterback.

“When he does step up and move around, we have to continue to get off blocks,” Gruden said. “That’s a big thing. The play is never going to be over. Our defensive linemen are probably going to be a little bit tired from rushing because he does buy time as good as anybody. It could be two seconds, it could be six seconds, it could be nine seconds sometimes.

“He’s excellent at that. That’s probably what puts him above the rest of the quarterbacks in the National Football League: His ability to buy time and make plays that aren’t necessarily drawn up.”

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