NFL: Is Aaron Rodgers Really That Good or Does Packers Offense Make Him?

Nathan Giese@@gieseflysouthSenior Analyst IIJanuary 5, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 18:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers in action during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 18, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This past Sunday, we witnessed an anomaly in Green Bay.

Matt Flynn, backup quarterback to potential NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions.

The game itself was in fact somewhat of a formality, seeing as how Green Bay already had the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC locked up the week before, and Detroit already made it into the playoffs prior to this game. 

What came to be of the game was Flynn's stunning performance against the Lions secondary throughout the day. 

Rarely do we see a backup quarterback step in for one game and perform as well as Flynn did.  Not only did he perform well, he made the Lions defense appear that much more vulnerable as they look ahead to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend.

One thing that really stuck out during this game was, of course, Flynn's performance.

Here we have a guy who's started one previous game in his career, last year against the New England Patriots.  Sure, he performed as well as he could but lost the game in the end. 

There is one glaring question that sparked with myself and some fellow NFL fans: does Flynn's performance on Sunday prove that it's not necessarily Aaron Rodgers that makes the Packers great, but it's the offense in general that makes Rodgers seem that good?

Better yet, could you take a quarterback, say Cam Newton, as he was the main topic for this discussion, and insert him into Rodgers role and expect the same kind of production from the Packers offense through a whole season?

It's not a ridiculous assumption to think that another quarterback could easily step in and have the same amount of success with the loaded Packers offense Rodgers has the luxury of dealing with.

Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, James Jones, Randall Cobb....

Need I say more?

You can look up and down the entire league and not find another receiving corps, with maybe the exception of the Saints, that complements each other as well as these guys do. 

In Jennings, you have the strong, deep-ball threat every quarterback loves.  Driver may not be as effective as he once was, but the guy can still catch balls and make defenders miss.  Nelson is a tall, slot receiver that gives even the most physical defenses fits in coverage. 

Finley's the brute tight end with soft hands to make the job easy for any gunslinger in the league.  Jones and Cobb each possess great speed and deceptive moves to help open up the field for all the other receivers to get open passing lanes.

Who wouldn't want to take that group of receivers to help front an offense?

Now, since we can't make a fair comparison between the one game Flynn had this year and Rodgers' 15, let's throw in rookie Cam Newton's stats with the 6-10 Carolina Panthers, who realistically have Steve Smith and a bunch of no-names for receivers, and see how they compare.

Rodgers: 15 games, 343/502 pass attempts, 68.3 completion pct, 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions

Newton: 16 games, 310/517 pass attempts, 60.0 completion pct, 4,051 yards, 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Sure, Rodgers' numbers are slightly better than that of Newton's, but considering that Newton is a rookie just learning the NFL game, taking over a less than respectable Panthers receiving corps, so it's safe to say that Newton has done quite well for himself with what he has to work with.

Throwing for 4,000 yards as a rookie is no easy feat.  Ask Peyton Manning, the man Newton passed on his way to the rookie record for passing yards in a rookie campaign.

I dare you to make an argument that if Newton were given the type of receivers that Rodgers gets to work with week in and week out, that he wouldn't have as great of statistics as Rodgers had this year. 

Actually, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that Newton could potentially have a better statistical year than Rodgers had this year, if he had the right guys catching the ball each week. 

Now, I'm not saying that Rodgers isn't a great quarterback.  On the contrary, I think Rodgers is an amazing quarterback. 

What I am saying is that due to Flynn's exceptional performance off the bench this past week, the Green Bay receivers don't get enough credit for making Rodgers as great as he is. 

You can have the best quarterback in the world, but if the guys he's throwing to don't catch the ball or can't get open, then his talents are wasted.

Green Bay has one of the most potent offenses in the league, and their record shows it.

Except, wouldn't their offense be just as good if they had somebody like Cam Newton throwing them the ball?

Would their offense suffer if it wasn't Rodgers throwing to them every week?

Well, if the game against the Lions is any indication, the offense would certainly not suffer from a different quarterback calling the shots.

What do you think?

Would the Packers offense be just as good as they are now if they had a different quarterback other than Rodgers?

Let the debate begin!