It seems like so long ago that analysts and scouts were commenting that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was playing the position as well as they had ever seen. Yet it wasn’t that long ago — it was earlier this season.
And to start the 2015 season, Rodgers did play at an elite level. In his first six starts, he threw 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He completed better than 63 percent and has a passer rating of 99 or above five times.
To be blunt, Rodgers was dominating.
Then something happened.
Rodgers and the Green Bay passing attack got into a funk it is still working its way out of. When it comes to those struggles, there is plenty of blame to go around.
Receivers have dropped passes — Rodgers has missed throws — the offensive line has had protection issues — the play calling was unimaginative — but through it all Rodgers has still found a way to be productive.
The two-time MVP may not be playing at the level he is accustomed to, but he still has nearly 3,000 yards passing to go along with 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Rodgers may rank just 14th in NFL in passing yards but there are still just three quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles) that have thrown more touchdown passes than him this season.
Ask any NFL team if it would be pleased with a quarterback that has Rodgers-like numbers and the answer would be a resounding yes. Hell, Andy Dalton has 25 touchdowns and six interceptions and averages just 20 passing yards per game more than Rodgers and he is getting credit for a career year, while number 12 is said to be having a down one.
The truth is that Rodgers is so good that a bad season for him is better than a good season for most. And even in spite of his troubles — he still found a way to lead the Packers to a huge road win over the Vikings and made one of the greatest throws in NFL history to beat Detroit.
That hail mary touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers wasn’t a fluke and it wasn’t luck — it was simply a great player making an all-time great play.
Most successful hail mary’s are tipped and caught — very few are caught cleanly, but Rodgers threw such a high, tight spiral that his tight end was able to simply snap the ball right out of thin air. It was amazing and it probably saved Green Bay’s season.
There is no doubt that Rodgers can play better and if the Packers are going to make a serious run in the playoffs this year he will need to.
Yet for all the so-called struggles Rodgers has had the Packers still control their own destiny in the NFC North and they still have as much talent as anyone in the NFC. And despite what Cam Newton and Carson Palmer have done this season — they still have the best quarterback too.
Rodgers hasn’t quite been himself lately but as he showed against the Lions — he is still the most talented passer in football and if he starts firing on all cylinders again — then Green Bay will be a Super Bowl contender.
I’ve been critical of Rodgers and at times he has deserved it, but he’s still as good as it gets in the NFL and unless I’m mistaken he is about to remind everyone why that is over the next four games.