The Green Bay Packers’ offensive woes were supposed to be fixed this season. With Jordy Nelson back, Aaron Rodgers was supposed to play like himself again. But after Sunday night’s 17-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, it’s clear Rodgers is not back.
And what’s even worse, is you have to start wondering, will he ever be?
Don’t mistake that question for an overreaction, it’s a legitimate question and in truth, it wasn’t just about what we saw last night from the long-time Packers’ quarterback.
Rodgers 20-of-36 performance for a meager 212 yards to go along with two touchdowns and three turnovers, was mediocre to the tenth degree. In fact, it wasn’t even that. His three turnovers lost the game for Green Bay. Simple as that.
Yet, his poor play dates back to last season. When you look at the numbers, they are staggering: 14 straight games, including playoffs, with a passer rating below 100. Before last season, he was over 100 in just about every game, he’s still the NFL’s all-time leader in passer rating with an average of 103.8.
In Rodgers‘ last 20 games, he has thrown for more than 300 yards only three times and in 12 of those games, he didn’t even reach 250 yards.
When you look at his yards per attempt and his completion percentage, the picture gets even more bleak.
After averaging 8.4 yards per attempt in 2014, when he won the MVP, Rodgers’ yards per attempt dipped all the way down to 6.33 and he has now gone an astonishing 14 games without averaging more than 7.44 per attempt. What’s even worse, is in those 14 games, he averaged less than seven yards per pass 11 times.
In terms of his completion percentage, the picture is uglier.
In those same 14 games, Rodgers has only competed better than 60 percent of his passes four times. You read that right, four times. The man who completed better than 65 percent of his passes for seven straight seasons, saw his percentage drop to 60.4 last season and now through two games in 2016, it’s 57.1.
Much of his struggles a year ago were blamed on Nelson being out. But seriously, no quarterback’s play should be tied that much to one receiver. Maybe once Nelson reaches 100 percent, things will improve. But right now, there is no denying that Rodgers isn’t the player he was even two years ago.
The bottom line is that right now, he’s playing like the 3rd-best quarterback in the NFC North. Sam Bradford made him look like a fool and the Vikings defense made appear inept.
In his post-game press conference, Rodgers said that the Packers didn’t need to overreact. Really?
It seems to me they have been under-reacting. When it comes to the Packers’ problems on offense, there is one culprit: Rodgers.
Receivers are getting open and his protection is fine. He has a running game and he has playmakers to get the ball to. The excuses for him need to stop and he needs to play better, period.
At this moment, Rodgers is not an elite quarterback. He’s barely even an average one. The kinds of numbers he is putting up, would put most quarterbacks on a one-way street to the bench.
And as crazy as it is to say, if Rodgers doesn’t pick up his level of play in the near future (next year or two), he may be headed to the bench –much, much sooner than any of us expected.