Believe it or not the 2015 NFL season is almost here and for the Green Bay Packers the start of it all comes in less then five days. That’s when the Packers will open their 2015 training camp with 90 players hoping to earn a roster spot and a team looking for redemption after last season’s crushing loss to Seattle in the NFC Championship game.
As you might have noticed there wasn’t much activity on the blog during the offseason downtime. But now the Packers Guru will be back in action throughout the NFL season — starting today as I begin my season preview. We will get started with the quarterback, the most important position in professional football, as well as a general preview of the whole offense. There is no doubt about Rodgers place on the team so while later I will go more in depth about the quarterback position behind Rodgers — this post is going to preview Rodgers’ season along with that of the entire offense in a broader view. Then each post that follows will address a different position.
(the quarterback preview will be a two-parter with the second part focusing on the backup QB battle)
There is really no debate that quarterbacks are the most important players on NFL fields every Sunday. They are not the only reason that teams win or lose but they play a huge role in the outcome of every game. And thankfully for the Packers, Green Bay is blessed with not just a good quarterback, but a great one, arguably the best in the league.
All Rodgers did last season was throw for 4,381 yards to go along with 38 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The 2005 first-rounder also scrambled for 264 and two touchdowns which gave him a total of 40 touchdowns for the year. And while those numbers are impressive, what’s even better than his touchdown numbers in the way he takes care of the football.
Turnovers are a key part of winning football games and no quarterback in the NFL does a better job of preventing them than Rodgers. If you include fumbles, Rodgers turned the ball over just six times last season, that number led the league and the perennial All-Pro also led the NFL with the fewest interceptions once again. In fact, in the history of the league, no quarterback has ever thrown interceptions at as small a rate as Rodgers does.
But while Rodgers throws fewer picks than anyone, he also makes more big plays than any quarterback in football as he tied Andrew Luck with the most completions over 40 yards, at the same time Rodgers led the league in adjust yards per pass attempt and was second in yards per attempt. Luck is also a bomber but is not yet on Rodgers level as he completed 61 percent of his passes compared 65 percent for Rodgers and also tossed 16 interceptions — three times as many as Arod.
At 31 years old, Rodgers is reaching the prime of his career and now that he has had an offseason to fully heal that nagging calf injury, he is poised for another stellar campaign. The Packers are of course coming off the most difficult loss in franchise history but with Rodgers it seems like he will use that loss as fuel to try and win that second Lombardi trophy that he wants so desperately.
Bart Starr won two super bowls and in Rodgers’ mind that is the gold standard and if he wants to be called the greatest signal-caller in Green Bay history he needs that second championship ring.
Rodgers of course is extremely talented. He can make every throw imaginable and throws the best back-shoulder fade I have ever seen. He is the most accurate quarterback in football, he is extraordinarily dangerous outside the pocket (when healthy) either on the run or when throwing on the run, which he does as well as anyone. The truth is, Rodgers is a machine and as he enters his eight season as a starter for the Packers it’s clear that he is better than ever.
The scary thing for opposing teams and defenses is knowing that the weapons around Rodgers are getting eve better. When Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga re-signed it not only brought two crucial pieces back to into the fold but it made sure the Packers would have all their preferred offensive starters locked up through the 2016 season.
That means the entire Green Bay offense is back as well as every single key backup. The offense was deadly already but this season it should be even better. The receiving core is more talented than any in football especially with the development of Davante Adams. The second-year man from Fresno State has Pro Bowl potential but will be stuck in the third spot on the receiving chart thanks to having Jordy Nelson and Cobb in front of him.
Then for good measure the Packers drafted wide receiver/return specialist Ty Montgomery in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft which adds even more explosiveness to Green Bay’s pass catchers. Montgomery was considered by many to be the best best return prospect in the draft but he also was an All-American wide out as a junior and was considered by some scouts as a first-round pick before the season started.
There is a question about who Rodgers will throw too at the tight end position with the legal troubles of one Andrew Quarless — but even if he is forced to miss games — there is a man by the name of Richard Rodgers that the Packers are excited about.
Richard Rodgers was a third-round pick out of Cal in the 2014 draft and as a rookie he caught 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also had the game-winning touchdown reception in the playoffs against Dallas and hauled in four passes for 35 yards in the loss the Seattle.
The second-year man needs to improve his blocking but his quarterback has stated on a few different occasions that he has the best hands on the team. So if Quarless finds himself suspended then Green Bay has a built-in replacement that probably would have eventually taken over the starting job anyway.
And last but not least Aaron Rodgers finds himself protected by one of the better offensive lines in football. With the emergence of Corey Linsley last year the five-some that also includes David Bahktiari, Josh Sitton, Bulaga and TJ Lang as well as swing tackle Don Barclay and backup center/guard JC Trettor, the Packers are loaded up front.
Essentially what all this means is the Packers are loaded. Ridiculously loaded. Last year they were first in points, sixth in yards, led in fewest turnovers, were first in points per possession, eighth in passing yards and 11th in rushing yards while also leading the league in the percentage of drives that resulted in points which was an incredible 47 percent of the time.
Suffice it to say that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense is going to be very good this season. In fact is everyone stays healthy it could be one of the greatest offenses in NFL history and it’s one reason why this 2015 Packers team could end up being — a team of destiny.