Aaron Rodgers: savior, quarterback and man with a three-to-two touchdown-interception ratio through two games. Rodgers hasn't looked like a 2011 NFL MVP in the Green Bay Packers' first two games this year, but there is no reason to worry in Green Bay.
Here is a breakdown of his stats through two games in each of the past five seasons in Green Bay:
2012: 52/76 522 yards, 3:2
2011: 55/65 620 yards, 5:0
2010: 38/60 443 yards, 4:2
2009: 38/67 445 yards, 2:0
2008: 42/60, 506 yards, 4:0
Using those numbers, we can rank some more complex data:
Touchdown percentage (Touchdowns/Attempts):
2011 (7.69 percent), 2010 & 2008 (6.67 percent), 2012 (3.95 percent), 2009 (2.99 percent)
Interception percentage (Interceptions/Attempts):
2011, 2009 & 2008 (0.00 percent), 2012 (2.63 percent), 2011 (3.33 percent)
Yards per attempt (Yards/Attempt):
2011 (9.54), 2008 (8.43), 2010 (7.38), 2012 (6.87), 2009 (6.64)
What does all this mean? Absolutely nothing.
People are too focused these days with stats instead of watching games and seeing how a player actually performs. Throughout this season, Rodgers hasn't been his old self due to what I think are small, correctable mistakes.
Not all of it is on Aaron's shoulders. Finley, Jones, hell, even Jennings and Nelson have had drops this year on catches that they seemingly would have made look easy in 2011.
Part of it has been ball placement by Rodgers, some of it body placement by the receivers. Almost any pass this year that has had a chance to be dropped, for whatever reason, has been. It is literally impossible for it to get worse at this point.
Expect a couple of these plays made against Seattle on Monday night, along with some drops. You win some, you lose some. The Packers' luck meter in the passing game is, if not exactly zero, close to zero.
Another thing I wanted to point out is that the refs aren't helping the cause of the Packers' WRs. The Packers have been known to have the possession WRs that run all round and get a little shove off at the perfect time to create separation in sync with Rodgers' passes. The replacement refs seem to not want to be part of any of it.
Not only are the Packers getting charged more with offensive pass interference, but it seems like defenses (the one in green and gold as well) have been getting away with more shoving and jersey tugs. I write this with hesitant fingers because I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the refs; I'm not. The rules are the rules, it's just that the replacement refs have seemed to interpret them differently than the "real" refs did. The Packers need to adjust with them.
The last thing I think has changed Rodgers this year is just the Packers offense in general. All Green Bay can do is pass at this point.
Benson gives good burst, but he's not going to break anyone's ankle, so he's only going to be as effective as his offensive line makes him.
A note about the offensive line: Green Bay's OL (outside of maybe Newhouse) isn't getting beat to death in the pass, Rodgers just needs to tuck it or throw it away more because he's holding onto the ball too long. This could fall with the WRs too if they aren't getting separation like they have in the past.
If you don't think this offense has changed, then I suggest you re-watch the first two games and tell me how many times they ran the no-huddle and how many times Cobb has started in the backfield on plays. They have essentially sold out on the running game when he lines up back there.
Aside from a play action in the 49ers game and two separate running plays (one which was called back) to Cobb, there has been no element of "hey, you shouldn't play two deep safeties on us" by the Packers.
All in all, this team just hasn't had any luck in the passing game this year, which means the first two games might actually be the worst two from the offensive unit in 2012. That being said, there is a lot of obvious work that still needs to get done if the team wants to play in New Orleans to end the year.