We all know that Aaron Rodgers is good.
But in the last two weeks he’s actually given us a value of how good.
With Randall Cobb and James Jones out with injury, he effortlessly beat Cleveland at home with only nine incompletions as he spread the wealth to eight different receivers.
And then last week, with Jermichael Finley out, he carved up the Vikings. He spread it around to six different receivers and of those, four were still getting used to being thrust into an increased role thanks to a rash of injuries.
Now I know the Browns and Vikings aren’t exactly the cream of any crop whatsoever, but Rodgers proved that he is the Packers’ puppet master.
In a year in which Peyton Manning is taking a machete to the passing record book, Rodgers just put himself in the NFL MVP discussion.
Everyone, including myself, didn’t think it was possible for Rodgers to jell with guys like Jarrett Boykin, a Jacksonville castoff, Myles White, a practice squad promotion, and Andrew Quarless, whose career has been truncated due to injury. The last time Quarless caught five passes in a game was Dec. 2010.
There’s a reason why these guys are backups. Obviously Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are exponentially more talented than this trio. There’s a reason why Rodgers gets all the reps with the No. 1’s in preseason camp so they can quickly get on the same page and develop that needed nonverbal communication that’s so important for success.
Rodgers hasn’t been given that much time with White and Boykin. It’s only been a couple weeks. Usually quarterbacks begin their critical timing at mini-camp and follow that up with more reps at training camp, which lasts five weeks.
And the nice thing about Rodgers is that he hasn’t made any excuses. He keeps plugging along — and winning games for Brett Favre’s fantasy football team.
It looks like it’s going to be the same script again for Rodgers when the Bears come to Lambeau on Monday night. Cobb and Finley are out and Jones isn’t close to making a return. Rodgers’ numbers aren’t going to be as glossy as Manning’s. With a superior running game, Eddie Lacy has been cutting into some of Rodgers’ production, but that shouldn’t detract from Rodgers playing with the Misfit Toys (plus Jordy Nelson) going on three weeks.
Without the receiving weapons Manning has in Denver, I doubt he would be able to have his absurd 29 touchdowns by throwing to Andre Caldwell and Trindon Holliday.
And Rodgers is doing it all without the benefit of a breather. The Packers had their bye back in Week 4 at the end of September. Rodgers must be consistent and play well for 13-straight weeks in order to give Green Bay a chance. And now he’s added a degree of difficulty without his top receiving threats.
Rodgers has mastered the art of quarterback efficiency as the all-time leader in regular season passer rating with 105.2 and third all-time in the postseason with 103.6. He has proven his leadership skills are second to none after following in the footsteps of a legend. Rodgers also has the added dimension of his legs, which he doesn’t need as much this year with a powerful running game, that constantly drives defensive coordinators batty when he picks up a first down on 3rd and 7.
Right now Rodgers is more important than alternative fuel. He keeps the Packers humming with his arm that keeps throwing frozen ropes, like the dart he tossed Nelson, which went for a 76-yard touchdown against Minnesota.
Rodgers is so good that when he rarely has a string of incompletions, fans start to wonder. If only fans in Cleveland and Jacksonville could worry about things like incompletions.
Nobody gave Rodgers a shot to win the MVP this year. But he has played his way in as a write-in candidate thanks to his mind and a cool confidence that when the walls are caving in, he knows he must be even better.
If Rodgers isn’t the most valuable person in the NFL, I’m not so who is. He is proving that it doesn’t matter who Green Bay puts out there at receiver because Rodgers is the quintessential captain that makes everyone better not only on the field, but in the film room, weight room and lunch room as well.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn