Some are even afraid of him.
Rodgers was ranked the third-best NFL quarterback behind only Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson in ESPN’s list of the top 10 passers heading into the 2020 season, which determined its rankings based on the opinions of league executives, coaches, scouts and players. Of the 30 voters who ranked the quarterbacks, Rodgers was picked as No. 3 “by a wide margin.”
“When he’s humming, he’s still Tier 1, without question,” one anonymous NFL coordinator said, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “The things he can do, maybe outside Mahomes, nobody can do. He’s lost a little bit of athleticism. But when he can move around, and beat you inside out, holy sh**, he’s scary.”
Aaron Rodgers’ stats on throws 20+ yards downfield in 2019 (postseason included)
– 1,222 YDS
– 12 TD
– 2 INTspic.twitter.com/ZQ0gZj0IiS
— PFF (@PFF) June 14, 2020
As Fowler explained, the voters didn’t use Rodgers’ reputation as an excuse to rate him highly but rather looked at his upcoming situation in Year 2 of Matt LaFleur’s system in Green Bay. They also expect a “huge response” from Rodgers in light of the Packers’ decision to trade up and select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft.
Some of the coaches and players surveyed also called upon their experience playing against Rodgers during his 15-season career, which has been filled with far more wins (113) than losses (60) while helming the Packers offense.
“One time our safety ran out with the running back, Rodgers checked into something to beat the safety, then proceeded to kill him all game,” a veteran NFL defensive back said, via Fowler. “He notices matchups like no other.”
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Rodgers’ Perception Shaped by Speculation
Rodgers is once again the subject of speculative drama this offseason after the Packers used their top overall draft pick to select his presumptive heir. While Love’s selection has been pitched as a developmental move for the future, it hasn’t stopped discussions from taking place right now about how much longer Rodgers’ tenure will actually last in Green Bay.
Outside talk is nothing new to Rodgers. Last year, the veteran quarterback became the subject of a well-circulated Bleacher Report article that painted him in an unflattering light during the Mike McCarthy era. The story then became a jumping-off point for NFL pundits to question Rodgers’ stock as a teammate and speculate whether there would be friction between him and LaFleur in their first year together. (Spoiler alert: There was not.)
Now, halfway through 2020, the perception that Rodgers is a bad teammate has morphed into how “miserable” of a mentor he will be for Love. Some have called back to last year’s B/R piece to help make that prediction, but nothing new has transpired to convince anyone Rodgers and Love will have a bad relationship. Love has spoken briefly but highly of Rodgers in his limited media interviews, while Rodgers hasn’t said much more than he is excited to work with Love.
“We had a great conversation the day after the draft, and I’m excited to work with him,” Rodgers said back in May. “He seems like a really great kid with a good head on his shoulders.”