The Green Bay Packers are considered a contender in the NFC like they have been every season for some time. The defense, despite the loss of nose tackle BJ Raji (retirement), were expected to be tough under the leadership of linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive coordinator Dom Capers. And offensively, the Packers were going to be led by one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers. And with Jordy Nelson returning from an ACL tear last season, the Packers offense was expected to be more explosive than they were the previous season without Nelson. Well, the defense has held up the bargain for the most part this season. Until Sunday against the Cowboys, the Packers were defending the run excellently and were solid against the pass. But as for the offense, there has been something not quite right there. The offense has been inconsistent and the running game has been hit or miss sometimes as well. But one guy that no one really expected to struggle this season was Aaron Rodgers. He has been considered one of the best if not the best quarterback in the NFL by some people, but this year has left a lot to be desired for him.
Rodgers has always been known for his accuracy as a quarterback. Throughout his career, he has consistently hit on 60% or over on his passes. And it is because of that, he has put up numbers that have been excellent every single season that he has been the Packers quarterback. Last season, we saw a slip in his percentages and everyone put that on the fact that he did not have his star receiver, Jordy Nelson. But this year, he has Jordy back and the offense seems to not have found itself along with Rodgers' percentages dropping. Currently, he has his lowest completion percentage of his career. And for those that want to blame that all on his receivers, that is certainly not the case. For example, the veteran quarterback missed wide receiver Randall Cobb not once but twice when he was open. One throw he missed was when Cobb was open down the field for what would have been a long touchdown. And the other was a pass that sailed over Cobb's head as he would have had a touchdown on that play too. This has been the case for Rodgers all season long and it is costing the Packers because those misses can be the difference between six points and three points.
But along with the inaccuracies, Rodgers is also trying to force the football some. Last season, he often could not find his receivers open down the field. And because of that, you would see him running around and hoping that one of them would get open or he would take off running the football. Well this season, the thinking with him has been less patience and more forcing the issue. That means that he has been trying to thread the needle a little bit more than he really needs to try. A great quarterback can get away with doing so sometimes. But with how many times he has tried to do so, he has not had much success. Sure, the wide receivers are not getting free enough, but that does not mean that you force the football into coverage over and over again. Rodgers was very lucky today to not have one pass he threw in a tight spot between two defenders picked off. And if keeps tempting fate on the tight squeezes he throws it in sometimes, he is going to cost himself more interceptions than what he has now (Rodgers has three by the way right now).
There is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But at this present time, he isn't playing like it. Of course, he has the rest of the season to get himself together. We all know that he does not have the greatest set of wide receivers in terms of getting separation. But still, we have come to expect better from Rodgers and it seems that he has been a little off for some reason or another this season. For the Packers sake, hopefully he becomes the guy that we all know and have seen instead of the guy that we see that looks frustrated a bunch this season.