Packers at Bye: Rodgers Playing 'Pretty Well'

That's quarterbacks coach Tom Clements' take on the play of his star pupil during the first half of the season. With Aaron Rodgers enjoying one of the greatest individual seasons in NFL history, the Packers' offense is putting together one of the great runs in history, as well.

Publisher's note: This is a much shorter version of the Cover Story for next month's issue of Packer Report Magazine, in which we examine one of the greatest offenses in the history of the NFL.


What Aaron Rodgers has done on a weekly basis is unprecedented.

"I don't think so," quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, in his 15th year as an NFL assistant, said when asked if he's seen a quarterback play at such a consistently high level. "He's playing pretty well – pretty well right now."

Pretty well? That's all you've got?

"Outstanding," Clements replied.

How unstoppable was Rodgers in the season's first seven games?

With 71.5 percent accuracy, he's on pace to beat Drew Brees' single-season record of 70.6 percent, set in 2009.

With a passer rating of 125.7, he's on pace to beat Peyton Manning's single-season record of 121.1, set in 2004.

With 2,372 passing yards, he's on pace to throw for 5,422 yards. That would obliterate Dan Marino's record of 5,084 set in 1984, though Rodgers trailed Brees' seven-week total of 2,477 yards.

With 9.92 yards per pass attempt, Rodgers would rank fourth in NFL history but set a modern-era record. Sid Luckman (10.86 in 1943), Otto Graham (10.55 in 1953) and Norm Van Brocklin (10.14 in 1954) are the only quarterbacks that have gained more yards per pass attempt in NFL history.

Rich Gannon holds the NFL record with 10 games of 300 yards. Rodgers topped 300 yards in six of the first seven games.

Rodgers leads the league with 20 touchdowns, putting Tom Brady's record of 50 set in 2007 in jeopardy, though Mother Nature might thwart that run at history.

Rodgers is the only quarterback in NFL history with 2,300 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in the first seven games.

With such jaw-dropping production, Rodgers is the only quarterback in NFL history to start a season with seven consecutive games with passer ratings of at least 110. For that matter, no other quarterback had opened the season with more than five such games.

Put all those numbers together, and here's what you get: The Packers entered the bye having scored 32.9 points per game. That would surpass the exploits of the 1962 team, which is considered the greatest of Vince Lombardi's great teams and perhaps the greatest team in NFL history. That team scored 415 points in a 14-game season, or 29.6 per game.

If they can keep up their dizzying pace, they'd end the season with 526 points. That would trounce the franchise-record 461 points scored by the 2007 team and be the fifth-most explosive offense in NFL history.

It starts with Rodgers, who has the rarest of abilities in a quarterback. He's tied for sixth in the league with 27 completions of at least 20 yards and is No. 1 with eight completions of at least 40 yards. Big-play quarterbacks, however, typically make big mistakes. Rodgers has thrown three interceptions – two of them have gone his receivers' hands – and is second in the league with an interception percentage of 1.26. The six other quarterbacks who have at least as many 20-yard completions as Rodgers have combined for 41 interceptions.

"If I was going to rank (Rodgers' assets), I would definitely start with decision-making," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He is clearly the best decision-maker that I've been around since my time in Kansas City with Joe Montana. He does not get bored throwing completions, and that's a great attribute to have as a quarterback. He's clearly in tune with taking what the defense gives you. He has the anticipation, arm strength, dead accuracy to attack the seams. He does a great job of staying disciplined and playing within the offense."

Of course, a quarterback can't boast a league-best 20-to-3 ratio of touchdowns and interceptions without a talented supporting cast. It takes the offensive line to block, the running backs to sell fakes and the perimeter players to give it their all even if they're not always thrilled with their roles in the offense.

"That's a very good ratio and it's a credit to him and the guys around him – the unit," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said the day after the Minnesota game. "One of the great plays we pointed on the film today was the first drive, the throw Aaron threw on the move to Greg Jennings that was about a 20-yard completion to the right sideline. If you watch the play, Jordy Nelson is running his tail off to take two guys out of there. The lineman is selling the fake to the one side. (James) Starks is doing a great job selling the (play) action. Jermichael (Finley)'s running his route the way he supposed to run it. Nothing happens, as I'm sure Aaron would tell you, individually in this game. He's doing a great job and we expect it to continue. There's a lot of guys helping him make his job easier."


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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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