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NFL Draft

Aaron Rodgers Is Dangerously Fun Right Now

  • The Draft Network
  • October 8, 2020
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Aaron Rodgers is cutting up defenses at a rate we haven’t seen since 2014; the season he won his second NFL MVP award and led the Green Bay Packers to their second NFC Championship Game in five seasons (2010-14). He’s either at or near the top in most statistical categories, but more importantly, he’s having fun. 

It’s a noticeable, contagious fun that has his staunches detractors wondering: Am I an Aaron Rodgers fan?

Now, a quarter of the way through the 2020 season, it’s hard not to be. Rodgers is leading the league in QBR (93.2) and adjusted net yards per attempt (10.13). He has the second-most touchdowns (13), third-most total expected points added (38.8), and fifth-most yards (1,214); and this is just scratching the surface. His use of play-action is one of the best in the league and when throwing downfield, he’s among the top-five passers. None of which is shocking. This is what we’ve come to expect from Rodgers, whose down years, as he described it, with a sly smile to emphasize the point, “are career years for most quarterbacks.” What’s most enthralling is the ease with which he’s performing. 

He’s genuinely enjoying playing and in turn, we’re all genuinely enjoying watching. Rodgers’ new attitude could come from a combination of reasons: the fact there is a football season happening amid the COVID-19 pandemic to being more comfortable in head coach Matt LaFleur’s system to finding balance in his personal life. Whatever the elixir is, it was perfectly captured when Rodgers celebrated a touchdown alone during Monday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Rodgers targeted tight end Robert Tonyan for a 19-yard score in the second quarter, which gave the Packers a 13-3 lead in their dominant 30-16 win. The bulk of the offense was in the end zone having already celebrated when Rodgers jogged to the camera and copied receiver Malik Taylor’s celebration: a flex. It was comical and far from the smug Rodgers perceived in past seasons.

If, production wise, Rodgers is still the same Rodgers we’ve been used to for the 13 seasons he’s been a starting quarterback, there’s something else at work. It would be naive not to consider the moves Green Bay made this offseason as a strong motivating factor. The chatter surrounding Rodgers’ regression crescendoed when the Packers traded up to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Teams don’t often draft highly-touted passers with the thought of them riding the bench for a couple of seasons. Teams certainly don’t trade up to do that. 

Love’s addition brought a watchful eye on how Rodgers would respond. Rodgers answered with a 4-0 record, most notably beating the Minnesota Vikings, 43-24, in Week 1 and the New Orleans Saints, 37-30, in Week 3, and is in the way-too-early MVP conversation. Green Bay has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on its schedule after a Week 4 bye and faces only a handful of difficult matchups the remainder of the year. Rodgers and company can finish the regular season with another double-digit win record and begin another reign over the NFC North. 

Rodgers has played so freely and improved in previous areas of criticism that any extra momentum he gains should be feared league-wide. He is getting rid of the ball in a timely manner, his footwork is better, he’s in rhythm with the rest of the offense, and he’s working extremely well within the structure of the offense all without his star receiver, Davante Adams. This Rodgers is dangerously fun.

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