Aaron Rodgers is Monday Morning Quarterback’s “Goat of the Week.” The Green Bay quarterback threw an interception and fumbled in Sunday's 30-16 loss to Dallas, sparking further concern Rodgers is no longer the quarterback he used to be.
“There is something amiss with Rodgers. Anyone who watches football can see,” King wrote Monday morning. … [The Packers are] not going to win many now unless Rodgers raises his game, and fast.”
King highlighted two third-quarter drives to make his point. Green Bay reached Cowboys territory on each drive and both times Rodgers turned the ball over.
“First he threw a pass behind his man that safety Barry Church picked off; then, at the Dallas one-yard line, late in the quarter, he ran a quarterback draw and had the ball stripped,” King wrote. “Dallas led by 14 at the time of the second giveaway by Rodgers, and Dallas won by 14. These are the kinds of games Green Bay has won for years during the Rodgers era, the slugfests with NFC peers.”
The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback and two-time league MVP started the season ranked No. 6 on the NFL’s list of this year’s top players. Six weeks into the 2016 season, his underwhelming stats are raising red flags for many.
King’s top Stat of the Week shed light on Rodgers’ 6.63 yards per pass attempt since the start of the 2015 season, which is 33rd among all NFL passers (minimum 200 pass attempts). It is worth noting Johnny Manziel's 6.73 yards per pass attempt is better.
Rodgers completed 31 of 42 passes for 294 yards, one touchdown and one interception Sunday. Frustrated fans booed the Packers offense and Rodgers off the field at Lambeau in the fourth quarter.
Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post wrote Rodgers “can’t hit the broad side of a barn with some of his passes. (Relatively speaking.)” He also highlighted Rodgers has only completed 60.2 percent of his passes this season, placing him 25th among 31 qualifying QBs. Last season, his completion percentage dipped below 61 percent for the first time since he became a starter in 2008.
“Dropped passes are not the problem. … Instead, it is just an overall decline in [Rodgers'] production,” Greenberg wrote. “For example, on passes thrown 1-to-20 yards during 2008 to 2014, Rodgers completed 66.1 percent of his passes. Since the start of 2015 that has dropped to 56.6 percent. On passes 21 or more yards his completion percentage has dropped from 41.1 to 25.7 percent. Only passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage have remained unfazed (81.9 to 82.7 percent).
“That’s why the Packers rank just 25th in passing yards (1,133) and 24th in net yards per pass (6.0) with Rodgers oftentimes looking lost under center.”
Advanced metrics, however, argue Rodgers is still one of the most valuable passers in the league. He is No. 5 in ESPN’s Total Quarterback Ratings.
Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who was honored during Sunday’s game, still believes in Rodgers.
“I’ll take Aaron Rodgers any day and that hasn’t changed,” Favre said. “I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again. When he’s sort of off from the experts’ standpoint, it’s still better than mine. His lulls are — I think they’re pretty daggone good. I don’t see any reason why that would change. So I look at it from, ‘If I were starting a team, who would I take?’ And I’d take Aaron Rodgers.”
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote leading up to Sunday’s game “Rodgers should be categorized as a good veteran quarterback scuffling to regain his elite form” under the headline “Rodgers falls from ranks of greats.”
Some NFL analysts are even beginning to question the job security of Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy. Fox Sports writer Chris Chase wrote that Rodgers isn’t going anywhere despite his struggles, so McCarthy could take the fall for the team’s lack of success.
“Every year, it seems, the Packers are the most popular pick to win the conference,” Chase wrote. “Every year they're remarkably steady in the regular season but usually without wowing anyone. … They're the most achieving underachievers in the league.
"Maybe it's because he's in tiny Green Bay or maybe it's because Aaron Rodgers takes up all the oxygen, but McCarthy had always flown under the radar, both in good times and bad. ... Sometimes change for the sake of change is the way to go.”
The Packers are still heavy favorites over Chicago for Thursday night’s matchup despite all the negativity surrounding the team.
Rodgers didn't tell anyone to "relax" Sunday, but instead said he would use a glass of scotch to chill out and deal with the loss. He added "I'm my biggest critic, and I look at this as finely as I look at every other game and improve.”
“Look, we're upset, [fans are] upset, it's part of it," Rodgers said. "It's not the first time, probably won't be the last time."