Aaron Rodgers Isn't Doing This Alone
Another week, another staggering display of quarterbacking brilliance from Aaron Rodgers.
For the second time this year, Rodgers resurrected the Packers in the second half, shaking off defenders and delivering pinpoint touchdown passes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. His 10:1 interception ratio over the last three games is untouchable, and he’s managed to complete more than 67 percent of his passes over that stretch as well. He’s even chipped in 54 rushing yards for his trouble, if there was any doubt that he can beat teams with his legs as well as his arm.
What’s truly amazing, though, is how he’s done this entirely on his own. It takes a special kind of brilliance for Rodgers to snap the ball to himself, throw a key block as he drops back to pass, and then hit himself in stride for a touchdown deep down field. He can really do it all.
Clearly, that’s hyperbole, but it hardly seems that way based on how Rodgers has been lionized in the media over the last few weeks.
Ignoring teammates in service to the narrative
The offenders are many, but the best recent example comes from The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman, who declared Rodgers “lord of the one man comeback” after his heroics on Sunday:
“Yes, it often seems like Rodgers is all alone. But as a neutral observer, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Few players in league history have been more excellent than Rodgers when desperate, from Hail Mary after Hail Mary to Sunday’s gutty run and pinpoint throw. Sometimes, he has to seem like he’s on a team all by himself to remind us that he’s in a league of his own.”
This is an entirely unfair characterization. Rodgers has been great, but it’s not like he’s not getting any help.
On Sunday, Rodgers completed passes to three second round picks (Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams), a third round pick (Richard Rodgers), the best tight end in this year’s free agent class (Martellus Bennett), and the seventh highest paid tight end in this year’s class (Lance Kendricks). The Packers also played a fourth round pick (Jamaal Williams), a fifth round pick (Aaron Jones), and a sixth round pick (Aaron Ripkowski) in the backfield with Rodgers, while another third round pick (Ty Montgomery) watched from the sideline.
What are the Packers doing with those picks and signings if not giving Rodgers help?
Don’t tear people down just to build one guy up
It’s probably a byproduct of the position Rodgers plays, but it’s extremely disingenuous to say he’s not getting any help from teammates. To do so makes it seem like the rest of the guys on the Packers are a bunch of schmucks and Rodgers is going them a favor just by suiting up on Sundays.
This is probably just the logical next step for the critics who want to say the Packers are wasting Aaron Rodgers’ prime. A certain subset of the media has trotted out this argument again and again, apparently in hopes of characterizing the Packers’ front office as a bunch of selfish do-nothings who have nothing better to do than ruin the career of one of the great quarterbacks of all time. They never bothered to explain why the front office would want to do this, but by golly they’re sure it’s happening.
But now that Ted Thompson and company have actually gone out and signed a few free agents, nobody can argue they’re actively wasting Rodgers’ career any more. So what’s a terrible analyst to do? The only thing he can do: decide the guys the Packers have acquired just aren’t any good and conclude that Rodgers must just be doing this all alone.
Don’t fall for it. More than one player can be good on a team at a time. Aaron Rodgers has been brilliant this year, but he’s not doing it alone.