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Cheese Curds, 5/15: Aaron Rodgers on playoff loss; will Madden curse claim Tom Brady?

The Packers’ QB discussed January’s drubbing at the hands of the Falcons in recent days.

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NFL: NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons William Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

Of the Green Bay Packers’ two NFC Championship Game losses in the past three years, the game in Seattle after the 2014 season certainly hurts the most. While that team dominated the Seahawks for 56 minutes or so, the 2016 squad stumbled out of the gate in Atlanta and fell apart.

For this writer at least, it is less agonizing to see one’s team make several mistakes early and end up being thoroughly outplayed than to watch them be the far superior team only to give the game away with mistakes at the end.

Of course, Aaron Rodgers was the starting quarterback for both of those games, and he realizes that there are a couple of plays here and there in each of those contests that could have completely changed the complexion of those games. Those are the areas that Rodgers says the team needs to improve upon: making sure that the team — every single person on the field — brings their best in the biggest moments. We’ve seen it from Rodgers often; just think back to his throw to Jared Cook against Dallas or his miracles with Jeff Janis in Arizona the year before.

Perhaps one of Rodgers’ best qualities as a leader is that he holds himself and his teammates accountable without calling any of his teammates out specifically. That standard is discussed in today’s Curds, along with much more.

Aaron Rodgers: Packers 'have to be better when our best is needed' - ESPN
Rodgers spoke at the Wisconsin Sports Awards last week about the team's roll to the NFC Championship Game and the couple of plays early on that let that game get away. "There are plays in that Atlanta game that, if they go our way, it's a different ballgame," he said.

Aaron Rodgers was even better than you thought in 2016 | Packers Wire
Rodgers was of course the biggest reason the Packers even made it to the playoffs at all. According to one evaluator of quarterbacks, Rodgers lost almost 900 yards and 11 touchdowns to "failed receptions," which essentially amount to drops or other receiver errors. Rodgers also had the highest passer rating when under pressure, more than six points higher than second-place Sam Bradford.

Kofi Amichia brings athleticism to offensive line |
Amichia might be 6'4" and 304 pounds, but that's an awfully svelte-looking 304. He also is expecting to get tryouts at every position along the offensive line, as his experience at tackle should combine with his likely projection on the inside.

Rebirth in the ring: Highsmith's boxing bridge |
Senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith wasn't always a scout or a football player. In fact, in between those two careers, he was a heavyweight boxer who trained with Evander Holyfield and fought at Ceasar's Palace in Vegas.

Jim Caldwell expects LB Jarrad Davis to help 'quickly' -
Davis is very much the model of a modern NFL linebacker, who runs well and can cover in the passing game.

The Madden curse: quantified | PFF
According to Pro Football Focus' grades, only one player has ever had a better grade the year he was on the Madden cover than the year before. That was Richard Sherman in 2014. On average, players' PFF ratings drop by 8 points and three of the past 10 cover athletes have missed at least six games that season.

Tom Brady is breaking mirrors and walking under ladders to prove he can’t be cursed -
Brady is proving that he doesn't believe in a curse by going around doing traditionally unlucky things. What really would prove to me that he's not cursed is if he'd eat a dang strawberry someday.