14

December

Cory’s Corner: Key to future NFL safety lies in its past

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and MCL on this play. Fines and flag have forced defensive players to aim lower.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and MCL on this play. Fines and flags have forced defensive players to aim lower.

Perhaps now the NFL will realize it has a problem.

Rob Gronkowski, arguably the best tight end by far when he’s healthy, had his season cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee.

Many people will blame Browns safety T.J. Ward for the hit on Gronk’s knees but NFL players have no choice now. Anywhere near the head is a no fly zone so defensive players have naturally migrated south in terms of where they hit people.

Randall Cobb was also taken out at the knees back in Week 6. If you remember, Aaron Rodgers barked about the injustice on the field, but his argument was and is futile.

The hardest thing for a defensive player is to disseminate where they will hit someone in the fraction of a second they have to make a tackle. It’s a bang-bang play. There have been plenty of times this season where a defensive player was punished for a hit that he had no way of preventing.

I completely understand the argument to prevent player’s melons. With the latest CTE research that bridges a link between hard hits to the head — causing Alzheimer’s, mind-numbing headaches and complete physical pain. Which is why the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement for the over 4,500 former players that suffered from serious head injuries. What’s forgotten about was figuring out when the NFL had the CTE research presented to them and continued to do nothing.

All the NFL is doing is now is transferring those nasty hits from the head and forcing players to target the knees. So instead of seeing retired players with dementia, you’ll see guys hobbling on reconstructed knees that have coat-zipper scars. And there’s been plenty of those guys before they changed the defensive rules.

So where does that leave the NFL? And no, I’m not going to preach about a so-called wussification, or that the league will be morphed into elevated flag football.

Over the years, the helmet has been used as a weapon. Former Packers safety Chuck Cecil made a living by spearing players and even had the cut nose each game to prove it.

19

August

Cory’s Corner: The Bullseye on Aaron Rodgers’ Back Just Got a Little Bit Bigger

Aaron Rodgers - Bigger Bullseye on his back

Aaron Rodgers has a bigger bullseye on his back

In case you somehow haven’t heard, Donald Driver appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” last week and tried to clear the air between the offseason schism between Greg Jennings and Rodgers.

“If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’” Which normally shouldn’t be a big deal until the 14-year Packer and three-time Pro Bowler dropped this bombshell: “Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it.”

Those are strong words from Driver, who was considered to be the team’s mouthpiece during his final six years in Green Bay. Everyone knows the Driver comeback story. How he lived out of a U-Haul trailer, got picked 213th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and coupled that into a Packers Hall of Fame bust after finishing with team career highs in receptions (743) and yards (10,137).

Driver doesn’t have an ax to grind here. I completely believe him.

But that’s the point — nobody cares.

Rodgers’ predecessor enjoyed being liked by his teammates. Brett Favre was the kind of guy that loved hanging out with the guys, sharing a beer and a laugh or two.

Rodgers isn’t like that. He demands ultimate perfection each play and when it doesn’t happen he puts on his verbal boxing gloves. If you remember, he even lashed out at coach Mike McCarthy when things weren’t particularly going his way last year.

Of course, the reason no one is really concerned with what Driver said is because Rodgers produces. He is the all-time career leader in passer rating with an absurd 104.9, he won a Super Bowl in his third season as a starter and he’s got a 5-3 playoff record.

Those things trump any beef that receivers may have with their quarterback when things go wrong. I understand that Rodgers needs to own it, and often does, when the offense just cannot get on track at all.