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    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
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    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
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  • Can Aaron Rogers Survive Against the Steelers?

    One of my biggest questions about this Super Bowl is, "Can Aaron Rogers Survive?" To win, the Packers will have to spread out the Steelers defense with 4 and 5 wide receiver formations. I have seen that strategy work when the Patriots beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. But, when you take out tight ends and fullbacks to play more wide receivers, you also invite the blitz. Dick LeBeau saw how Aaron Rogers looked after that hit from Julius Peppers in the championship game, he just wasn't quite the same. I have to believe that if the Packers shorten those edges with a spread formation, Dick LeBeau is going to send the house to get some early shots on Rogers. Rogers is a guy that already has had two concussions this year and maybe another one against the Bears. It sounds cold-hearted, but the easiest way for the Steelers to win is to knock Aaron Rogers out of the game.

    Teams have to pay so much attention to outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley that it is often James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, or one of the corners, like Ike Taylor last week, that do the damage. Remember, this is Rogers' first Super Bowl. No matter how cool he is, his head will be swimming in the early stages of this game. Troy Aikman told me he was hyperventilating before the opening kickoff of his first Super Bowl. So even if the Steelers give up an early TD to the Packers, it may be worth blitzing to get some early shots on Rogers, see how settled he is, speed up the clock in his head, and maybe daze him a bit. Rogers is not a big guy and he cannot take too many shots against this fearsome defense. I like the Packers chances in this one, IF Aaron Rogers can finish the game.

    Comments 38 Comments
    1. FootballFan's Avatar
      I didnt' even need to read to know where you were going to go.

      As long as he keeps his head up in traffic and when on the run and doesn't take a head shot, or bang his head into the ground again, I think the Pack wins.

      I know that's not supposed to be legal anymore, at least not legal to do it purposely - but if I'm a defensive coach - breaking down the Green Bay Packers. Chopping of the head is the easiest way to kill the monster.
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      I think Rodgers may need to be most careful when he does one of his scrambles. He was smart about them against the Bears. He will have to do it again. I think a few "Packer Slants" early will help mitigate the rush, but he certainly has to be cautious. And fair or not, the Steelers have a linebacker with a history of head shots.
    1. Robmoore365's Avatar
      Spot on Chris. The O line will have to have an amazing game and Starks needs to get good yardage on his runs to help stop the blitz. If Rodgers dosnt pull a Cutler, Packers bring the title back to Titletown!!!
    1. PTSlice's Avatar
      Harrison in this environment will be unrelenting. The Patriots school the Steelers, but only the Patriots. It's going to be ferocious, and I truly do not want any cheap shots on anybody
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      Cris, Aaron Rodgers practices against the 3-4 style blitz everyday in practice. You seem to be inclined to say it's a matter of "when" and not "if" he gets knocked out of the Super Bowl. On 166 drop backs, Rodgers completed 66 percent of his throws against a blitz , throwing for 11 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He was sacked eight times. His quarterback rating of 104.5 vs. the blitz led the NFL this year. The guy knows how to smell em out.

      There's also the spread em out then run a draw to counteract the pass rush, which the Packers have done pretty well this post season. The Steelers haven't faced an offense this potent in a while. My question is, can the Steelers psyche handle the adversity of getting moved on with such ease.
    1. FootballFan's Avatar
      The thing about Troy Aikman that made Jimmy Johnson love him, when he didn't really like him to begin with - was that when he was knocked silly, he didn't go down, and seemed to play better, until it got to the point where smelling salts in both nostrils only got blank stares. I think Troy, when questioned, will tell you that he doesn't remember much about his best playoff and super bowl performances.

      Not sure if Rodgers has that quality, although after what's happened this season, I think he might - although I think in today's NFL, somebody would throw in the towel well before what they used to.
    1. PTSlice's Avatar
      Peppers was fined $10,000 for that shot on Rodgers. It should have been $50,000. This game cannot have our QBs taking cheap shots like that. I hope no Steeler player head shots any Packer and vice versa. Congratulations on making the big stage Packer fans. I expect this to be a tremendous learning experience for you all...
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Robmoore365 View Post
      Spot on Chris. The O line will have to have an amazing game and Starks needs to get good yardage on his runs to help stop the blitz. If Rodgers dosnt pull a Cutler, Packers bring the title back to Titletown!!!
      Here is the tough part about playing out of the spread. The Packers OL could have a perfect game, never miss a single block, and Rogers could still take a beating. The defense can always send one more than you can block, and with the short edges out of the spread and the speed of the Steelers, he will get hit a lot in this game. Put a clock on it, he will be hit in less than 2.5 seconds.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Cris, I am going to say one word in refute: Schutt.

      Rodgers changed to a new high tech helmet after the 2nd Conc, I believe it to be the new Schutt, same as DeSean. Which is why he was groggy, but no concussion III in Chicago.

      I think the first 2 series of GB offense will be key. And I do expect blitzes, but I think GB offense just has to survive and make first downs in their first 2 posessions. Let the GB Defense hold Ben for 2 possessions and then the 3rd GB posession can be a TD, IF Aaron isn't groggy.

      It will be interesting.
    1. Robmoore365's Avatar
      Cris Collinsworth;" Put a clock on it, he will be hit in less than 2.5 seconds."

      Chris, if your the Steelers, do you want Rodgers running out of the pocket? He is just as if not more dangerous on the run!!! You bring too much heat and you’re stuck in man to man and Rodgers will make you pay. I understand the concept of rush him hard and often, it worked against Vick. Not to take anything away from Vick, but Rodgers is quick and smart, that my friend is the key to a GB victory.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Rogers on the run is in danger. So yes, I want as many opportunities to hit him as possible. Remember, because the NFL fines rather than ejects players for hits to the head, a Super Bowl may well be the time to take a few cheap shots and pay the fines. I am not endorsing that, but don't be surprised if it happens to Rogers. The Steelers can win a fist fight with anybody. They don't want a speed and finesse game.
    1. Robmoore365's Avatar
      To quote you in Madden 11, this QB loves it when they are in Man to Man. I am not blinded by the success of the Packers, I will not be surprised if they sack Rodgers 3 times in this game, but if they keep overloading the box, Rodgers and any slant route will make them pay.
    1. jwill5587's Avatar
      Do Lebeau and Capers run the exact same scheme or do they just have different wrinkles here and there? Would love to read a breakdown of this.
    1. ZambianBillsFan's Avatar
      He won't survive the half, I predict a blow out for the Steelers, if the Packers stay in it, it won't be because of Rodgers, the man barely survived against the Bears, and almost cost them, no way he survives against the Steelers, I don't see it happening. Peppers almost made him tap out, with all the pass rushers the Steelers will send, look for the backup QB to have a huge game. and finish it off.
    1. Robmoore365's Avatar
      It will not be a blow out by either team. The Fun thing about this game is that both offences play great to the other teams weakness. Packers have an awesome passing game where the Steelers have a middle of the pack pass defense, where as the Steelers have a great running game and the Packers have a middle of the Pack run defense. Should be a fun game to watch!
    1. PTSlice's Avatar
      The intensity of this game will create miscues. Ask Kurt Warner as Harrison goes 101 yds as time expires in the first half. Green Bay is very talented. Will they withstand the pressure? Vegas seems to believe they will.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      LeBeau will try to force a quick throw and then surprise Rogers with a defender running into an area that he is not expecting. Polomalu and Harrison are usually the guys. If Rogers pump fakes and throws over that tactic players can be running wide open, if Rogers is still on his feet. Both defenses make you second guess what you are seeing as a QB. As you second guess, somebody hits you in the back of the head. Roethlisberger has the advantage here, if he fights off the first rusher, big plays could be had.
    1. PTSlice's Avatar
      Chris, why is it that Phil Simms never seems to have any comebacks as you verbally torture him on Showtime? He might be a tad more uptight than you I suspect
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by PTSlice View Post
      Chris, why is it that Phil Simms never seems to have any comebacks as you verbally torture him on Showtime? He might be a tad more uptight than you I suspect
      He has gotten me plenty. That show is very close to a locker room setting. Phil and I pick on each because we are very good friends (I only insult people I really like) and we are both afraid of Warren Sapp. We really have fun, and I hope it looks like it.
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by PTSlice View Post
      Chris, why is it that Phil Simms never seems to have any comebacks as you verbally torture him on Showtime? He might be a tad more uptight than you I suspect
      Please Cris, don't let up on Simms!