Last year was so close and yet so far for the Green Bay Packers. With Aaron Rodgers in the QB position, the Packers surged to the NFC Championship game, only to be beaten by the resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers who finally won the Super Bowl thanks to Tom Brady.
The 2021/22 season appears as if it may be another prosperous year for the Packers players and fans. However, a lot of pressure lies on Rodgers’ shoulders because Green Bay is a very different franchise when he’s not firing.
Hitting the High Notes at 36
Whereas most professional athletes struggle to perform as they age, Aaron Rodgers rolled back the years in 2020. At the ripe age of 36 – he turned 37 towards the end of the season – the QB highlighted why he’s considered the Greatest of all Time for a franchise that once employed Brett Favre.
Everyone focuses on the touchdowns, which are important in a sport that rewards attacking offenses. Still, the most remarkable stat from 2020/21 is Rodgers’ pass completion percentage. It was 70.72% for the year, meaning he hit 372 of his 526 attempted throws, 48 of which were TDs. If he can do the same again, Green Bay will blow the majority of their rivals out of the water when the season kicks off.
Nearly the Finished Article
Rodgers is only one man. He’s the jewel in the crown, yet he can only do so much before the team starts to falter. To go one step further this time around, he’ll require a side that is the finished article in offense and defense. On the surface, it appears this could be the case because the offense is loaded with the likes of wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams. Plus, Devin Funchess is available after injury and Amari Rodgers looks set to challenge for the Rookie of the Year award.
Last year, the franchise ranked in the top ten for total defense for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in 2011. The bookmakers have Green Bay’s current NFL betting odds at +1400, which showcases the dangerous nature of the team. The Kansas City Chiefs, for instance, are +450 for the overall victory. If the Packers can tighten up and ship fewer points, then they are bound to score when Rodgers, Valdes-Scantling, and Adams are on the field.
Jordan Love Needs More Time
If Rodgers isn’t in the right frame of mind, it’s not as if Matt LaFleur has the luxury of resorting to his number two QB. For starters, no one is sure who that is, whether it’s Jordan Love or Blake Bortles. But if it is the former, there’s uncertainty regarding his suitability for the big leagues. The Packers are keen on him becoming their next franchise QB; that much is sure.
However, it hasn’t stopped the coach from saying that Love lacks the experience required at this level. They are putting him through his paces at minicamp, but it may not be enough to maintain a sustained push for the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl title. He could grow into his skin after a couple of snaps in high-pressure matches. Regardless, he’ll need to learn quickly because the Packers could be out of the playoff picture if he’s a slow learner.
All the signs point to the fact that Aaron Rodgers will need to be in the right frame of mind at the start of the season if the Packers plan on building on last season’s impressive displays. If he isn’t, the fans may end up being disappointed.