There is no doubt that during the course of the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay that we as fans have been incredibly spoiled.
For about a decade we have had the pleasure of watching one of the most talented quarterbacks to ever play the game and as long as number 12 is under center, the Packers have always had a chance.
From the ridiculous throws to the late game comebacks, and a few hail marys sprinkled in for good measure, the standard that Rodgers has set for himself and the bar that many hold him to has been set ridiculously high.
However, uncharacteristically the Green Bay Packers have been out of the playoffs the last two seasons. Something that I for one would have never expected.
Now, by no means is Rodgers the lone culprit behind those lost seasons as there were a number of factors, including injuries which are really out of his control.
Prior to breaking his collarbone against the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, Rodgers led the Packers to a 4-1 record and had thrown for 1,367 yards with 13 touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 104.1.
Unfortunately, Green Bay couldn’t stay afloat with Brett Hundley at the helm and even with Rodgers making a return against Carolina in the final weeks, the Packers would miss the playoffs.
As we fast forward to the 2018 offseason, the Packers would move on from Ted Thompson as General Manager, whose last few drafts and a reluctance to use free agency left this roster depleted.
Green Bay would also move on from defensive coordinator Dom Capers whose defense was criticized for often times holding this Packers team back from more success.
But even with the significant changes, fans including myself chalked the 2017 season up to unfortunate circumstances and with a healthy Rodgers, the Packers would return to their winning ways.
Of course, we all remember week one against the Chicago Bears when Rodgers would go down with an injury, but he would eventually return to lead an incredible second-half comeback.
Sadly, that week one comeback was the highlight of the Packers’ season and everything would go downhill from there.
Rodgers’ injury would nag him the rest of the season and clearly affected his play. Meanwhile, the offense was growing increasingly stagnant under former head coach Mike McCarthy with predictable play calling, a grossly underutilized Aaron Jones, and an offensive line that couldn’t keep Rodgers upright.
All of those factors listed above along with I’m sure a number of others contributed to an uncharacteristically poor season from Rodgers.
There were a number of missed throws that normally we’d expect him to make in his sleep, and Rodgers would also suffer career lows in completion percentage, touchdowns (when healthy), and total QBR. That standard that we had previously discussed was not met.
Green Bay would once again miss the playoffs which would lead to more significant changes.
Mike McCarthy was fired mid-season and a majority of the coaching staff was over hauled this offseason. GM Brian Gutekunst would then make four splash free agent signings, which is something that we as Packers fans just aren’t accustomed to.
And of course, what’s an offseason without countless articles and anonymous quotes on the relationship of Rodgers and McCarthy?
Under new head coach Matt LaFleur I’m expecting things to be much different than what we have seen in recent years. Both running back and tight end positions are utilized much more, players are schemed open rather than having to constantly win one-on-one battles, and hopefully, we see the return of the play action pass in Green Bay.
I’m incredibly excited to see this team in action and I am truly expecting Rodgers to set the league on fire with this new offense.
With that said, this is a very important season for Rodgers and he needs to get back to playing as he did prior to his collarbone injury.
The defensive side of the ball has been revamped and Capers is no longer calling plays. The Packers have a GM that will address needs in free agency rather than only in the draft. And Mike McCarthy, who many thought that his play calling was holding this offense back has been replaced.
Over the years these have been the reasons that the Packers have “underachieved”. Well, now they are all gone, so there is a bit more pressure on Rodgers to get the Packers back to their winning ways and to put together a vintage Aaron Rodgers season.