“Is there one particular reason for it? Not that I’ve been able to see,” said Hasselbeck, now an NFL analyst for ESPN. “The Packers didn’t have all the offseason work but that back-shoulder throw from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings, there’s just a feel for that.
“Maybe the [organized team activities] and that stuff really are overrated,” he added “. . . Maybe just training camp is enough.”
The Post Sports Live crew discusses Rex Grossman's impressive performance against the Giants and singles out rookie Chris Neild and tight end Fred Davis for their strong outings.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for a team-record 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yarder to Wes Welker, in a 38-24 win in Miami Monday. Dolphins QB Chad Henne passed for a career-high 416 yards in defeat. (Sept. 13)
Rodgers certainly seems to believe that. After the Packers were questioned for not holding large-scale player-led workouts during the lockout, Rodgers made several mentions of that issue during his postgame news conference last Thursday.
“When you get into training camp and preseason, that [offseason] stuff does not have a major impact on the game,” Rodgers said. “For chemistry purposes maybe, getting the rookies up to speed. [But] I wasn’t worried about our guys.”
Without formal offseason practices usually overseen by coaches, Hasselbeck said, perhaps offensive coaches have streamlined their approaches and are sticking to the things their teams do best.
“Coaches are notorious for having all this time on their hands and doing project after project, complicating things to no end,” Hasselbeck said. “That’s all well and good, but then you have to communicate it and teach it. I’d be interested to see if they didn’t simplify things a little bit.”
Hasselbeck noted that some of the marquee passing performances came from quarterbacks such as Brady, Brees, Rodgers and San Diego’s Philip Rivers, who are well established in their offensive systems. But less celebrated quarterbacks also had big games, and their coaches were taking pass-first approaches.
Newton threw 37 passes in his NFL debut. The New York Jets, known for their run-first offense under Coach Rex Ryan, threw 44 passes and had 16 rushing attempts in Sunday night’s comeback triumph over the Dallas Cowboys.
The NFL simply is, more than ever, a passing league, largely because of rule changes over the past eight years that have restricted defensive backs’ ability to grab receivers down the field and made defenders increasingly wary of how they hit quarterbacks and wideouts.
“There’s a reason people are throwing the ball so much,” Hasselbeck said. “. . . It’s just kind of how it’s changed.”