2

November

Cory’s Corner: Adversity makes Rodgers MVP worthy

Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn't missed a beat.

Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn’t missed a beat.

We all know that Aaron Rodgers is good.

But in the last two weeks he’s actually given us a value of how good.

With Randall Cobb and James Jones out with injury, he effortlessly beat Cleveland at home with only nine incompletions as he spread the wealth to eight different receivers.

And then last week, with Jermichael Finley out, he carved up the Vikings. He spread it around to six different receivers and of those, four were still getting used to being thrust into an increased role thanks to a rash of injuries.

Now I know the Browns and Vikings aren’t exactly the cream of any crop whatsoever, but Rodgers proved that he is the Packers’ puppet master.

In a year in which Peyton Manning is taking a machete to the passing record book, Rodgers just put himself in the NFL MVP discussion.

Everyone, including myself, didn’t think it was possible for Rodgers to jell with guys like Jarrett Boykin, a Jacksonville castoff, Myles White, a practice squad promotion, and Andrew Quarless, whose career has been truncated due to injury. The last time Quarless caught five passes in a game was Dec. 2010.

There’s a reason why these guys are backups. Obviously Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are exponentially more talented than this trio. There’s a reason why Rodgers gets all the reps with the No. 1’s in preseason camp so they can quickly get on the same page and develop that needed nonverbal communication that’s so important for success.

Rodgers hasn’t been given that much time with White and Boykin. It’s only been a couple weeks. Usually quarterbacks begin their critical timing at mini-camp and follow that up with more reps at training camp, which lasts five weeks.

And the nice thing about Rodgers is that he hasn’t made any excuses. He keeps plugging along — and winning games for Brett Favre’s fantasy football team.

It looks like it’s going to be the same script again for Rodgers when the Bears come to Lambeau on Monday night. Cobb and Finley are out and Jones isn’t close to making a return. Rodgers’ numbers aren’t going to be as glossy as Manning’s. With a superior running game, Eddie Lacy has been cutting into some of Rodgers’ production, but that shouldn’t detract from Rodgers playing with the Misfit Toys (plus Jordy Nelson) going on three weeks.

6

July

The Year After: Aaron Rodgers and How Other NFL QBs Have Fared After Winning the MVP

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers was the 2011 NFL MVP

Aaron Rodgers was the 2011 NFL MVP after leading the Packers to a 15-1 record and throwing for 45 touchdowns and only six interceptions.

At 28 years old, Rodgers has already established himself as the best player in the NFL. Now his challenge will be to hold onto that title, and bring more Super Bowls back to to Titletown.

Recent history shows that it’s no sure thing for a QB to hold the title of best in the world the year after winning an MVP. Factors like age and injury have caught up with some recent MVP QBs and their post-MVP career have been less than spectacular.

Let’s take a look at how MVP-winning QBs since 2000 have performed in the season following their MVP win. I’ll have a few thoughts on how all of this relates to Rodgers and the Packers at the end.

Kurt Warner (2002)
After throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 36 TDs in his 2001 MVP season, Warner dropped off. Big time.

Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
2002 31 STL qb 13 7 6 0-6-0 144 220 65.5 1431 3 1.4 11 5.0 43 6.5 4.5 9.9 204.4 67.4 21 130 5.4 3.6 8.7 2
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/3/2012.

Post-MVP Warner didn’t win another game until 2004 and went 13-29 from 2002-07. He threw 27 TDs and 31 interceptions from 2002-06 and only started 31 games.

Warner stayed healthy and became a dangerous QB again the final two years of his carerr, but the years immediately following his 2001 MVP run were frightening.

Rich Gannon (2002)
After playing out of his mind and winning the MVP in 2002, it didn’t take long for Gannon to resume playing like, well, Rich Gannon.

Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
2003 38 OAK qb 12 7 7 2-5-0 125 225 55.6 1274 6 2.7 4 1.8 46 5.7 5.4 10.2 182.0 73.5 17 90 4.9 4.6 7.0 1 2 3
27

May

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sunday with no Packers football.

Surviving Sunday with no Packers Football

I published my way-too-early Packers 53-man roster and depth chart prediction on Thursday. Now it’s time for some way-too-early predictions of the entire 2012 NFL season. I’m guessing my mind will change about several of these predictions between now and the period of time where it is no longer way too early to make these sorts of predictions, but for now, here goes nothin’.

Super Bowl
Steelers 34, Packers 27

MVP
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions

Defensive Player of the Year
Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals

Rookie of the Year
Trent Richardson, RB, Browns

Coach of they Year
Mike McCarthy, Packers

Dark-Horse Super Bowl Pick
Eagles 27, Chiefs 24

Dark-Horse MVP Pick
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

Most Disappointing Team
New York Giants

Most Disappointing Player
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

Player that Becomes a Star
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

First Coach Fired
Jason Garrett, Cowboys

Ted Thompson speaks, OTAs, Dancing Donald Driver

  • Ted Thompson spoke with Rob Reischel on a variety of topics in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. You can tell Thompson is a scout at heart. He gives longer answers and even a little bit of insight on questions about the scouting process, and pretty much blows off questions about the draft, contracts and team building.
  • OTAs started this week….yawn. When I become emperor of the universe, one of the first laws I will force upon the people is a ban on all media coverage of OTAs. Unless someone blows out his knee, there is never any news worth reporting at OTAs. You see the same stories ever year: (Insert name of young player) looks much improved. (Insert name of guy coming off injury) looks healthy and ready to go. (Insert name to team troublemaker) looks extra focused and less selfish. And on, and on, and on……
  • I’ve never watched a second of Dancing with the Stars in my entire life, but I couldn’t resist tuning in when I noticed Twitter blowing up about the forthcoming final results announcement. I flipped it on just in time to see Donald Driver declared the winner, roll around on the floor like he was on fire, and celebrate with his extremely attractive dancing partner. I was very happy for Driver, but my attention during the 60 seconds I was tuned in remained mostly on Driver’s extremely attractive dancing partner.
6

January

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and CB Charles Woodson Named to AP All-Pro Team

Charles Woodson was named to his sixth AP All-Pro team on Friday.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been named to the Associated Press 2011 NFL All-Pro Team after receiving 47.5 of the 50 total votes, the AP announced Friday. Rodgers was joined on the team by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson.

Rodgers threw for a franchise-record 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns in leading the Packers to a 15-1 regular season record and the NFC’s No.1 seed. He also set the NFL record for passer rating in a season with a 122.5 mark, eclipsing Peyton Manning’s mark of 121.1 set in 2004.

2011 will be the first season in which Rodgers has earned All-Pro honors.

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints record-breaking quarterback, received the other 2.5 votes. The wide discrepancy in votes almost ensures that Rodgers will also be the NFL’s MVP, which is scheduled to be announced in February on the night before the Super Bowl.

Woodson earned his sixth AP All-Pro selection of his career (1999, 2000, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11) despite the Packers allowing the most passing yards in NFL history this season. The 35-year-old Woodson was tied for the NFL lead in interception in 2011 with seven, marking the second time in his career that he’s either led or tied in interceptions for a season. He also had two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble.

Fullback John Kuhn, receiver Jordy Nelson, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, center Scott Wells, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, and outside linebacker Clay Matthews also received votes at their respective positions.

AP 2011 NFL ALL-PROS

QB AARON RODGERS, PACKERS
RB MAURICE JONES-DREW, JAGUARS
RB LESEAN MCCOY, EAGLES
FB VONTA LEACH, RAVENS
WR CALVIN JOHNSON, LIONS
WR WES WELKER, PATRIOTS
TE ROB GRONKOWSKI, PATRIOTS
T JASON PETERS, EAGLES
T JOE THOMAS, BROWNS
G CARL NICKS, SAINTS
G JAHRI EVANS, SAINTS
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, STEELERS
DE JARED ALLEN, VIKINGS
DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL, GIANTS
DT HALOTI NGATA, RAVENS
DT JUSTIN SMITH, 49ERS
LB TERRELL SUGGS, RAVENS
LB DEMARCUS WARE, COWBOYS
LB PATRICK WILLIS, 49ERS
LB NAVARRO BOWMAN, 49ERS
LB DERRICK JOHNSON, CHIEFS
CB DARRELLE REVIS, JETS
CB CHARLES WOODSON, PACKERS
S TROY POLAMALU, STEELERS
S ERIC WEDDLE, CHARGERS
K DAVID AKERS, 49ERS
P ANDY LEE, 49ERS
KR PATRICK PETERSON, CARDINALS

22

August

The Worst of the Best: Who is the Packers Least Valuable Player (LVP)?

Mason Crosby is the Packers LVP.

Mason Crosby is the Packers LVP.

Lets take a couple of minutes and get negative. I know we’re all fired up for the season and ready to see if the extremely talented and deep Green Bay Packers can repeat as Super Bowl champions. The Packers proved in 2010 that depth wins titles, and they look almost as deep in 2011.

But no team is perfect. Every team has a couple of players that make you groan as soon as they run onto the field. Who is that player for the Packers? Who is their Least Valuable Player (LVP)?

First, some ground rules:

  • Only starters or players fighting for a starting job can be considered. I’m not going to break down how terrible Jarrett Bush is compared to Pat Lee. Nobody cares.
  • Only kickers, punters and returners are considered on special teams.
  • Just like the MVP, the LVP can mean different things to different people. Some analysts base their LVP votes on statistics, others on boneheaded plays or failure to reach potential. Selecting the LVP is not an exact science.

Without further ado, here are the candidates:

James Jones
Forget about concussions on the field, how many Packers fans will have long-term health issues due to concussions suffered after smacking their heads every time Jones drops an easy TD pass? Jones’ talent exceeds the level of a typical LVP candidate, but the drops and failure to utilize all that talent puts him on the ballot.

Quinn Johnson
Fullbacks typically go unnoticed, but Johnson has been invisible his entire career.

TJ Lang
This is a controversial nomination. There are high hopes for Lang and he appears to have the edge in the LG position battle. Lang is probably a decent enough player, but he’s the most replaceable players on the OL. I’ll be nervous if Chad Clifton, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton or Bryan Bulaga goes down with an injury. I won’t be as nervous is Lang goes down.

Frank Zombo/Brad Jones/Erik Walden
All three of these guys get a single nomination because if one of them goes down, the other one will likely step in and play at a similar level. We also are not really sure if any of these three are any good in the first place.