Before you call me a hater or a bash-artist, all I ask is that you look at the facts. I'm calling Green Bay's new golden boy overrated, but I'm not doing it because I hate the Packers or dislike Rodgers.
I just don't like it when a guy gets puffed up into something he's not. Rodgers puts up awesome stats, has done so for two straight seasons, and is rightfully so an elite fantasy quarterback option.
But that doesn't make him a top-five quarterback in the NFL, a great quarterback, or anything close to it.
I honestly have nothing against Rodgers, personally. If he comes out and goes 16-0 and the Packers win the Super Bowl, then he will have proven me wrong (to a point), and at the very least, overcome these short-comings that I have pointed out.
But, I really don't see that happening. First, because the Packers themselves are vastly overrated, and also because these issues I have pointed out are major flaws to Rodgers' game.
I mean, if he suddenly didn't hold onto the ball too long and didn't take so many sacks, then his completion percentage would go down, he would throw more picks, and the Packers probably wouldn't win 11 games, even against easy competition like they faced last season.
A quick look at what I'm talking about, before I get a little deeper into it:
Holding onto the ball and taking sacks in 2008 led to 34 sacks, 9 fumbles, and 13 interceptions. (Yes, I now he threw for 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns, as well. But the Packers also lost 10 games.)
He held onto the ball even more the next season, jumping up to 50 sacks and dropping his interception total to seven on the season. But since he took so many sacks, he still fumbled the ball 10 times, losing four of them (plus that costly playoff fumble).
But we could pick away at his 6-10 season all day. Let's focus on his cakewalk 2009 schedule/season.
You don't do the stats justice by simply averaging them out and looking over the scale of the season.That doesn't make any sense, especially considering Green Bay's fairly easy schedule last year.
So, to be fair, let's focus on how Rodgers did against playoff teams in 2009.
He faced a 2009 playoff team six times last year (Vikings twice).
1. He lost to the Bengals at home, taking six sacks, completing just over 50 percent of his passes, and failing to generate a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
2. He put up good numbers, but was fairly erratic in both games against the Vikings before leading late comebacks that ended up falling short. He took a total of 14 sacks in the two contests.
3. The Packers beat the Cowboys, but Rodgers only threw for 189 yards and one touchdown, while taking four sacks and fumbling twice (although he didn't lose any).
4. Rodgers played OK in a win over the Ravens, but he did throw two picks.
5. Rodgers was pretty flawless in a Week 17 thrashing of the Cardinals, although he'd lose to them the very next week in the playoffs.
So, a quick refresher breakdown of his six games against teams that mattered in 2009:
3-3 vs good-to-elite competition
Rodgers took 25 sacks against these six teams, combined. That's exactly half of his entire season total. This shows that he held onto the ball too long in pressure situations, and wasn't as effective against tough competition as he was against inferior competition.
He still put up overall good numbers in all of these games, combined, but again, this is much due to playing from behind in the two Vikings games.
In closing, I don't think Rodgers is a bad quarterback. I think that'd be incredibly foolish to think or say. But he's not deserving of all the hype. Not if you actually look at his competition, how he fared against good teams, and how he performs in certain situations.
I think ignoring his tendency to hold onto the ball too long, to take sacks, and to fumble is a big mistake.
I also think that if he corrected this habit, it would lead to more risk-taking (which I deem necessary to win consistently in the NFL), and it would lead to more interceptions and losses, because I don't think he has that "it" factor to overcome those mistakes and huge deficits. I think we've already seen how he can struggle with that.
But hey, I'd still gladly take him as the top quarterback in my fantasy football draft!