As a Packers fan, I have the optimistic view that Aaron Rodgers’ struggles this year were attributable to the knee injury he sustained Week 1, the depleted roster after several years of bad Ted Thompson drafts, and a stale relationship with Mike McCarthy. I hold out belief that he has more great seasons left in his career. Nevertheless, he also missed many throws and reads that we’re accustomed to seeing him execute and at age 35 it is a reasonable and terrifying question as to whether he is on a steep decline with three guaranteed big money seasons left on his deal.
This season, Rodgers ranks 28th in completion percentage, 19th in yards per attempt, 14th in QB rating, 17th in total QBR, and 13th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. It would be unfair to say that Rodgers has been a bad quarterback. Nobody is calling him Nathan Peterman or even Eli Manning. Lots of fanbases would sign up for this version of Rodgers in a second, and as we said before there are factors beyond his control that have contributed to his slide. But if he’s going to rebound from it and have MVP-caliber seasons again, he should be careful what he wishes for from the front office this offseason.
The best case scenario is that the Packers bring in a new head coach with legitimate bona fides — John Harbaugh or Nick Saban come to mind — or someone like Lincoln Riley or Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemywho is clearly an offensive mind on the upswing. The nightmare is that nobody with serious clout wants to work for the muddled Packers front office where the coach and general manager Brian Gutekunst both report to team president Mark Murphy, and that Murphy won’t back off this odd structure to seal the deal. (Josh McDaniels has also been floated as a candidate by multiple reporters and I’ve struggled to form a strong opinion one way or the other about that idea; whatever happens with head coach I would be a staunch advocate in bringing Mike Pettine back to run the defense.)