It seems like every year the Green Bay Packers go on a two or three game losing streak and for some reason, everyone wants to blame Aaron Rodgers. Like his play is what’s costing the Packers’ wins. After every loss, reports come out about how Rodgers isn’t the best leader, or how he’s not a flashy motivational speaker. Really?! Your defense gives up 47 points to the Titans, and 42 to the Redskins in back-to-back weeks and the person to jump on about leadership is star quarterback Aaron Rodgers? All of a sudden, stories break involving Rodgers relationship with his family like that has any correlation to the Packers winning football games. Who cares!?
In my opinion, Rodgers is still in the argument for the best overall quarterback in the NFL. Anyone that watches him play can see the pure talent that he displays, and the types of things he does, that quite frankly, no other quarterback in this league can do. Broken plays turn into first downs, or many times, touchdowns.
Here is Rodgers’ current stat line through 12 weeks of play. He ranks sixth in passing yards with 3,074. He sits second among QBs with 27 touchdowns. His seven interceptions are less than Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Andrew Luck.
The five-win Packers boast a defense that gives up 33 points per game in the six losses. They rank ninth in points given up surrendering 289, which equates to 26.3 per game, good enough for the eighth worst. As I mentioned early, the defense gave up 40+ points twice. It’s hard to win when your D is as pliable as playdough.
I love me some Russell Wilson, and I think he is one of the great quarterbacks in the NFL, but he has had the benefit of having one of the top defenses all of his career. Seattle could easily be 5-6 this season if it hadn’t been bailed out by their defense in a few low scoring affairs where the offense looked less than average. Instead, they are 7-3-1 and Wilson gets much of the credit.
Now let’s look at the sorry running game. Green Bay ranks 22nd in rushing with 98.2 yards per game. In 2016, the Packers have had one single 100-yard rushing performance, and that was from Eddie Lacy back in week 3 against the Detroit Lions. Aaron Rodgers has been the leading rusher twice. Ty Montgomery, a wide receiver, has been featured as the lead running back in multiple games.
Derek Carr, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Dak Prescott are all in the MVP conversation. What’s something that they all have in common? They all have rushing attacks that rank inside the top 10. A successful running game is pivotal to the success of the quarterback. Even the 2013 Broncos, that saw Peyton Manning break pretty much every passing record that existed, had a solid running game that produced a 1,000-yard rusher. Green Bay has had two 1,000-yard rushers since 2009.
Tom Brady will probably go down as arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. Put him on this Packers team and he wouldn’t have half the season that he is having. Put Carson Palmer on this team and they may be 2-9 or 1-10. Sam Bradford as a cheesehead? Yeah, we won’t even go there.
Without Rodgers, the Packers would be a hell of a lot worse than 5-6. In my opinion, outside of Clay Matthews, he is pretty much the only reason Green Bay is relevant each year and in the playoff conversation. He is still the best quarterback in the NFL.