The third preseason Green Bay Packer game was played, and most of the starters took a good portion of the snaps. Next week, most of the starters will rest while everyone else plays for a roster spot. Game 4 of the preseason is generally unimportant to the fans, but the difference between being employed and unemployed for those on the bubble.
Last night, the Packers dominated the game, beating the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Now some might say, “But it’s only preseason” and they’d be right. However, if you consider that this was the preseason game where the coaches and players try to put some meaning into it, to see how they might be entering the regular season, and if you consider that Payton Manning was pretty upset about his performance and the loss (anytime you can make Manning look like a whining crybaby, it’s a good game), then that phrase sounds somewhat hollow. Almost as hollow as “wait until next year.” Now if it had been a close game, had the two teams traded touchdowns back and forth, then I wouldn’t place too much importance on it. But we walloped them! Creamed them. Kicked ass and took names.
Oh, sorry, I got caught up in talking smack and forgot why I started this.
I wanted to talk about Aaron Rodgers. Just a few short years ago, people in Green Bay were whining that we didn’t have an adequate backup to what’s his face. We did have Rodgers, but many questioned his durability. They questioned his decision making in preseason games. They questioned Ted Thompson’s decision to send what’s his face packing in preference to a young, untested quarterback.
So, where do we stand today?
Well, Rodgers is entering his sixth season with the Packers. His first three, 2005-2007 were as backup to what’s his face. He had a total of seven games played during that time, and mostly just in mop up duty at the end of meaningless games. Oh, except for one game against the Dallas Cowboys. Per Wikipedia: “Rodgers stepped in when Favre was injured in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football on November 29, 2007. Rodgers completed 18 passes for 201 yards, with no interceptions. He also threw his first touchdown pass, but was sacked three times. Rodgers brought the team back from a 17 point deficit to a 3 point deficit, but the Cowboys went on to win 37–27.” Not a half bad performance and for many of us, it was a look toward a better future.
So let’s go over the stats for 2008 and 2009 and see if we can’t figure out where we stand with Rodgers under center. (Stats borrowed from http://www.packers.com)
1) Rodgers became the first quarterback ever in the entire history of the game (that includes what’s his face) to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter.
2) In 32 regular-season starts, has posted nine 300-yard passing games, 19 games without an interception and 18 with a 100-plus passer rating.
3) In 2009, nearly broke the franchise’s single-season record with 4,434 passing yards, falling just short of Lynn Dickey’s 1984 mark of 4,458.
4) He set Green Bay’s single-game postseason record with 423 yards passing in NFC Wild Card playoff at Arizona.
The Wall Street Journal has an article that tells of how Aaron Rodgers is having the best start, after 32 games, of any quarterback in history as measured by one of the more important stats, the ratio of touchdowns to interceptions. That ratio is 2.9, which just beats out Dan Marino at 2.53. For a comparison, what’s his name was a 1 in his first 32 games. In other words, for every TD he made, he threw an INT.
And though it is only preseason, Rodgers has a passer rating of 141.2. He has six touchdowns and no interceptions. So that’s a TD to INT ratio of what? I don’t know. You can’t divide by zero.
The point is, it’s a different feeling watching Rodgers compared to old what’s his face. We used to close our eyes and groan every time that other guy threw the ball because you never knew who would come up with it. A Packer or an opponent? With Rodgers, we’ve all thrown out the Pepto and Alka-Seltzer. Our ulcers are healing. Our nerves are calm. We’re a much more relaxed Packer Nation.
Now when we watch a game we groan when Rodgers throws only if he misses! Then we chuckle and remember, “Oh, he’s 40 for 45! We should cut him some slack.” Because, after all, he’s not perfect, but he’s damned close. And he’s made us forget all about that other guy.