How Will Aaron Rodgers Handle Expectations in 2010?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2010

As a strong Green Bay Packer fan, looking back to the Brett Favre saga and thinking that the Packers were doomed without their top-flight quarterback seems like a long and distant memory.

When I first heard that Brett Favre had decided to retire, the news of course upset me.  I wasn't on the verge of tears like some of Brett Favre's 17-year followers were, but like the rest of Packer Nation, I too felt like Green Bay were entering a dark period in their long and storied history.

But boy how things changed, and who would have thought two years later we'd be looking into Rodgers Neighborhood, and detailing just how great this man truly is.  Personally, I didn't see it coming. 

No, I didn't doubt Aaron Rodgers, but I certainly didn't think he would develop into a premier quarterback in the span of two years.

Hey, I'm human, though, and we all make mistakes.  However, fortunately this mistake I'm not complaining about, as watching Aaron Rodgers throw the ball every Sunday brings its own delights.

Okay, so enough about Aaron Rodgers's well-detailed skills, now let's move on to the more important issue, or question if you will.  Can Aaron Rodgers live up to the expectations that have been recently placed on his shoulders this season?

To quote our rather inconsistent and cheap friend the Magic Eight Ball, "All signs point to yes."

Recently, Aaron Rodgers was awarded the honors of being the highest ranking quarterback for fantasy football.

Is this an accomplishment Aaron Rodgers will take seriously?  I doubt it, unless he has some form of nerdy friend that goes by the name of "Big Al" and is fond of playing online fantasy football games. 

However, aside from online fantasy games, Aaron Rodgers does have a lot to live up to this upcoming season.  Some may argue with this point and say that Aaron Rodgers is already a well established quarterback, but in reality there is still a lot from Aaron Rodgers we have  yet to see.

1. A Consistent Season

The first point to be made about Aaron Rodgers is  his inability to post a thorough and consistent season since being the starter.  In 2009, the Packers were 6-10, and although Aaron looked impressive at times, there were still many questions looming over his head.

Then 2009 rolled around, and a almost fluke 11-5 season record followed.  Now I know that you're all probably thinking, "How is an 11-5 season a fluke?"

Well, when you consider the Packers offensive line troubles, it is no secret that luck may have played a small role in the Packers success toward the end of the season.

As a fan, I do recognize that not all of the blame can be pinned on Aaron Rodgers here.  Injuries have been an important concern for the Packers, and like I mentioned, the offensive line didn't really make it any easier for Aaron or the entire Packers offense.

A consistent 2010 season is needed for Aaron Rodgers, and it may mean more than just an above-.500 record. 

Am I suggesting a possible MVP season?  Yeah, of course I am. Rodgers simply has that potential.


2. Decision Making

It's decision time Aaron!

No, I'm afraid I may have misled you a little here, as I do believe Aaron Rodgers's decision making skills are exceptional right now.  With that in mind, there are of course a few decisions that Aaron perhaps could have judged a little better, and thought out a little more clearly.

The first is, of course, the no-brainer, the NFC Wildcard Game.  I by no means am blaming Aaron Rodgers for the last-minute fumble as an obvious face mask was involved along with an offensive line collapse, but maybe some better timing could have benefited Aaron just a little more.

The second is the biggest criticism of Aaron Rodgers, ball handling.  Does he take too long to get rid of the ball?  And does he sometimes scramble out of the pocket unnecessarily?

These are questions everyone has their varying opinions on, and Aaron's 30 touchdowns last season do make a strong case against.  I'm simply suggesting that decision-making skills in dire-strait moments could mean the difference between a playoff exit and an extra game or two.


3. Don't Listen To Comparisons

Finally, we reach the last point, and it is one that kind of annoys me a little as a Packer fan.  In the NFL, we are all witness to constant comparisons.

Is Chris Johnson better than Adrian Peterson? Will Tom Brady ever be Peyton Manning?  And can LaDainian Tomlinson revert back to his old ways in New York?

We're used to it, we love it, but I'm totally tired of it when it comes to Aaron Rodgers.  Recently, I've been subject to a little bit of NFL bias that I'm sure everyone has encountered at some time or another.

When mentioning Aaron Rodgers, it seems the name Peyton Manning instantly arises.  Fans are quick to say that Rodgers will never be on Peyton's level, but really, what does this even mean?

That's right, not a whole lot.  Aaron Rodgers has done a great job of blocking out the Brett Favre talk, so it's time he blocked out the Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Phillip Rivers debate.  Not only does it seem to feed his confidence, it also helps him focus on what is truly important.

Will He Live Up To The Hype?

The answer to this question is yes, yes, and yes.  The skill is there, the talent is there, and the discipline is there.  All that is needed is a few corrections and tightening to an already solid screw.

Is the MVP trophy on the cards?  Maybe, but it's tough to say right now.  Aaron Rodgers does have a lot of hype to live up to, but if there is one Packer that can deliver, it's No. 12.


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