Aaron Rodgers is facing a make-or-break season with the Green Bay Packers this season. That statement is sure to rile up cheeseheads all over the world. However, it is something that bears consideration.
For years, the Packers have underachieved with Rodgers at the helm. The blame for those struggles has never landed anywhere near the future HOF quarterback. However, maybe it’s time that we all consider the possibility that Rodgers is no longer among the elite signal-callers in the NFL.
Before you all start sending me death threats and questioning my sanity, take a second to consider some facts. What follows is a brief examination of Rodgers career and what it all means.
Rodgers has been among the top quarterbacks in the league, since taking over the reins from Brett Favre. That’s a fact. His efficiency is unquestioned, and he has the stats to back it all up.
The 35-year-old gunslinger has 337 touchdown passes while appearing in 158 games after taking over full-time prior to the 2008 season. On top of that, his 103.5 career quarterback rating is among the best in the history of the league.
Outside of his injury-shortened seasons 2013 and ’17 seasons, Rodgers has never finished a season with less than 25 touchdowns. Unfortunately, that 25 touchdown season happened to come during last season when dysfunction was rampant around 1265 Lombardi Ave.
The former first-rounder has also been tremendous at limiting interceptions throughout his career. His high watermark for picks came during his first season as a starter when he threw 13 during the ’08 season. Other than throwing 11 interceptions in 2010, Rodgers has never thrown more than eight INT’s during a season.
Rodgers is also among the most accurate passers in the league year in and year out as his 64.8 career completion percentage shows. However, if last season is any indication, he’s trending the wrong way.
I know what you’re all thinking, “he was playing hurt all season” or “McCarthy is gone so now it’s HIS offense”. That leads us to why the 2019 season is a big one for the former Cal quarterback.
Why it’s make-or-break for Rodgers
For years, fans and pundits alike have all made the same various excuses for the disappointment of a Green Bay Packers season. “He has no weapons” or “his defense is terrible” have been the go-to excuses. Although those are very valid reasons to explain away the Packers postseason struggles, they’re not 100% true.
As far as weapons are concerned, Rodgers has always had more than enough at his disposal. He has ALWAYS had a legit number one receiver (from Greg Jennings to Jordy Nelson to Davante Adams) to depend upon. On top of that, Rodgers has had a legitimate weapon at the tight end position. Sure, under McCarthy this team has never had an elite running game, but that matters less in the current NFL.
This season, Rodgers has a Top-5 wide receiver in Adams as well as a possible Top-10 running back in the emerging Aaron Jones. He also has an above-average offensive line protecting him upfront. Playbook creativity has also been a main source of frustration for Rodgers apologists through the years. However, with first-year head coach Matt Lefleur in town, that seems destined to change.
The defense has also taken huge strides and should be much better in year two under Mike Pettine. Add it all up and Rodgers has nowhere to foot the blame if this team underachieves yet again during the 2019 season. Rodgers needs to step up and show that he’s still among the leagues elite signal-callers this year. For Rodgers to show that it’ll take more than some gaudy stats. This team will need to make a deep run in the playoffs this year.