Forget Right Guard, the best deodorant in Green Bay is Quarterback. Marshall Newhouse at left tackle. Andrew Quarless at tight end. Brandon Jackson at running back. Don Barclay at, well, anywhere. Consistently bad defenses and special teams. Yep, Aaron Rodgers has been masking the stink for the past 8 seasons.
If an extraterrestrial were to land on earth tomorrow and wanted to learn about Rodgers, all he’d have to do is watch last January’s playoff game against Dallas. Simply put, it was a microcosm of No. 12’s career as Green Bay’s starting QB.
In that game, the Packers ran for just 87 yards. The defense gave up 432 yards. The defense gave up 31 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter. And yet they won – four words, by the way, that could’ve been uttered after the majority of games this decade. Truth is, for all his accolades, Rodgers is still a little underrated.
I don’t know where Rodgers ranks among the all-time QBs, but I do know this – only Dan Marino has been forced to overcome similar obstacles (i.e. consistently mediocre running games and defenses). And No. 13 had Don Shula by his side. No offense to Mike McCarthy, but the only thing he has in common with the winningest coach in NFL history is they both write the same thing on the line marked occupation on their W-2 form.
As for the rest of the very subjective top 10 quarterbacks, Tom Brady has always had Bill Belichick and good defenses. Joe Montana had Bill Walsh, Jerry Rice, and good defenses. Johnny Unitas had Shula, Lenny Moore, Raymond Berry and good defenses. John Elway had good defenses early and Terrell Davis late. Peyton Manning had Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and a handful of good defenses. Brett Favre had Mike Holmgren and good defenses for the first half of his career. Jim Kelly had Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, and good defenses. And Roger Staubach had Tom Landry, Tony Dorsett, and good defenses.
As for Rodgers, he hasn’t played with any future Hall of Famers on offense and only two of his defenses finished a season ranked in the top 10 in either yards or points (2009 and 2010). Even more alarmingly, in the last six playoff elimination games, the Dom Capers-led D has allowed an average of 34 points and 440 yards.
All of this is a long way of saying that it makes no sense for GM Ted Thompson to draft an offensive player in the first round of next week’s draft – even if a really talented running back, wide receiver or interior lineman is still available at 29. Taking the best player available simply doesn’t apply when a team has a 33-year-old QB as special as Rodgers and a defense that is coming off yet another disappointing season.
The offense will be fine in 2017 without a single addition in the next few months. Sure it would be nice to add speed at running back and wide receiver and depth at guard, but those would be luxuries. On the other hand, adding an edge rusher and a cornerback is a necessity. That’s because, unlike Rodgers, there’s no single player on defense who has the ability to mask the stench created by slow corners and linebackers and a coordinator who hasn’t come up with a new blitz package since Bill Clinton was in the White House.