Leader of the Pack
Aaron Rodgers: Who else but Rodgers, the league's Most Valuable Player? After guiding the Packers to a Super Bowl championship in 2010, Rodgers' encore included a 14-1 regular-season record. Rodgers, who was named the NFC's offensive player of the month in September, October and November, put the offense on his shoulders as the Packers started the season 13-0 despite a disintegrating defense that turned most games into track meets. Rattling off all of Rodgers' ridiculous numbers would make your server meltdown, so we'll limit it to three. Rodgers' career passer rating of 104.1 not only is the best in NFL history but a mile ahead of Tony Romo's second-place mark of 96.9. The major reason why Rodgers holds that record is because he holds the record for lowest career interception percentage. Rodgers' mark is 1.8; Neil O'Donnell is a distant second at 2.1. For perspective, Rodgers could throw interceptions on his first five attempts this season and still hold the record. Finally, in 62 career starts, the Packers have averaged 28.3 points per game, best in NFL history ahead of Philip Rivers' 27.5 for San Diego.
"He's the entire package," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. "He's what you're looking for in every aspect. He has great physical talent. He can move around, he has a strong arm, he's accurate, he's smart, makes good decisions, makes them quickly. All those things combined him make him, in my mind, the prototype of what you're looking for in an NFL QB."
Graham Harrell: With Matt Flynn getting his chance to start in Seattle, Harrell is getting his chance to be the No. 2 in Green Bay. After setting all sorts of records at Texas Tech but going undrafted in 2009 and not even getting a contract offer after participating in the Browns' rookie camp on a tryout basis in 2009 and 2010, Harrell spent much of his first two seasons in the NFL on the Packers' practice squad. Harrell, who was signed too late for the Packers' quarterbacks school in 2010 and was robbed of it by the lockout in 2011, benefitted from being a first-time student this year.
"I think everybody would agree that Graham's throwing with more velocity, and I would say that that starts with him," coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's a credit to really what he's done from the end of last season until now. He's stronger, he's done an excellent job in the weight room, he's done a few things fundamentally, where we could help him with his power side, just the throwing mechanics, and you'll see that improve as time goes on. Anytime you make changes like that, I'll show up in the individual drills first, and eventually show up in the team drills."
B.J. Coleman: There are no such questions about Coleman's arm. Before starring at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Coleman landed at Tennessee as one of the nation's top quarterback prospects. Coleman is a project. The coaches spent the offseason retooling his fundamentals, and there's a huge difference between the defenses of the Southern Conference and the NFL in terms of complexity and talent. Coleman's a huge underdog to beat out Harrell to be the No. 2, but with Coleman's arm talent, intelligence and attitude, he's got the potential to be a future NFL starter.
On the bubble
Coleman: Going with two quarterbacks has been the norm under McCarthy. However, general manager Ted Thompson has been reticent to release draft picks – especially draft picks who have some promise. So, chances are the Packers will keep three this time, though the depth at wide receiver complicates matters.
122.5: Rodgers' NFL single-season record for passer rating came on the strength of 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions. In the process, Rodgers became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw six or fewer interceptions while topping 4,000 yards and is the only quarterback with two seasons of 4,000-plus yards and no more than seven interceptions.
Had Rodgers had thrown as many passes as Drew Brees while not losing any of his efficiency (second-ranked 68.3 percent and league-high 9.25 yards per attempt), he would have thrown for 6,077 yards. That would have obliterated Brees' record of 5,476 yards.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.