Rodgers Unfazed by Poor Preseason

No, it probably doesn't mean a thing, but the numbers show that Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 offense are in a bit of a funk. In the previous three preseasons, the Packers have scored 20 touchdowns on 36 possessions. This preseason, it's four touchdowns in 12 possessions.

Statistically, he's been terrible.

He's completed 48.8 percent of his passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. His passer rating is a pitiful 53.8.

Surprise — those are Aaron Rodgers' numbers, and they're just about on par with Graham Harrell's 50.8 percent, one touchdown, two interceptions and 53.7 rating.

So, what's wrong with the NFL's reigning MVP? And is he ready for a defining four-game opening to the season that begins against San Francisco and the 49ers' juggernaut defense?

"Aaron is ready to go," quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said on Monday. "I think he had a good first half vs. Cincinnati. We put up some yards, a couple completions away from a big day against a pretty darned good defense. His explosive gains have been up in practice so far. We're looking forward to getting going."

Still, it's worth noting Rodgers' numbers from previous preseasons as the team's starting quarterback.

2011: 78.7 percent, four touchdowns, no interceptions, 130.1 rating.

2010: 77.4 percent, six touchdowns, no interceptions, 141.2 rating.

2009: 70.7 percent, six touchdowns, no interceptions, 147.9 rating.

2008: 68.5 percent, three touchdowns, one interception, 103.6 rating.

"It's preseason," Rodgers said on Tuesday. "You're trying to work on things. Sometimes you're going to have real good results and sometimes it's not going to look as good. but thankfully those stats don't count, don't carry over. I'm not trying to be the top-rated passer in the preseason anymore."

Of course, it should be noted that touchdown runs don't figure into passer rating. Replace last week's touchdown runs with touchdown passes of equal distance, and his rating jumps to 72.4. More than Rodgers' numbers, however, there should be at least a small amount of concern about the offense's efficiency after finishing second in league history with 560 points last season. Here are the numbers from Rodgers-led preseason possessions during his five years as the starter.

2012: 12 possessions — three touchdowns, one field goal, two punts, two interceptions, two fumbles, two turnovers on downs.

2011: 11 possessions — four touchdowns, one field goal, one missed field goal, five punts.

2010: 12 possessions — seven touchdowns, two punts, two fumbles, one turnover on downs.

2009: 13 possessions — nine touchdowns, one field goal, one missed field goal, one punt, one turnover on downs.

2008: 14 possessions — four touchdowns, four field goals, five punts, one interception.

Counting missed field goals as successful drives, since that's out of the offense's hands, the Rodgers-led Packers have scored on 33.3 percent of their drives this preseason compared to 54.5 percent in 2011, 58.3 percent in 2010, a ridiculous 84.6 percent in 2009 and 57.1 percent in 2008.

"I'm not worried about the statistics in the preseason," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. "I think the last game we played was more like we wanted it to look. We had good rhythm, we were productive, and the third game of the preseason, that's what you'd like to see."

Between his lone interception in 2008 and his interception on the third possession at San Diego, Rodgers had gone 192 preseason passes without being picked off. And while the offense was productive against Cincinnati last week, he was off-target on a bomb to Jordy Nelson and underthrew a long pass to Greg Jennings. Those were two potential touchdown passes. Plus, he threw a bad ball on his interception.

What does it all mean? Probably nothing. After all, Green Bay went from four touchdowns in 11 possessions with Rodgers in the preseason to one of the great offensive seasons in NFL history. But it's worth mentioning considering he'll get maybe a series against Kansas City on Thursday night before a showdown against San Francisco, which finished second in scoring defense last season.

"I think he always wants to do well, regardless of what's happened previously," Clements said. "His numbers might not be as good as last year, but that doesn't necessarily mean he is playing poorly or not as well. If he makes the right decisions and takes care of the football and gets us in good plays, he'll have an outstanding year and we will, too."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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