It seems ridiculous now, but Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers entered the 2020 NFL season surrounded by a lot of controversy. The Packers organization had to decide whether Rodgers' declining stats were a trend that would continue or a result of injuries and/or Mike McCarthy's coaching.
By hiring Matt LaFleur, the Packers hoped that the Rodgers of the past would return. At one point, he was the best quarterback in the game, but he had seemingly regressed in recent years. Clearly, 2020 was destined to be a pivotal season for both Rodgers and the Packers.
Plus it was unclear whether the Green Bay Packers were still fully invested in their star QB after trading up to draft his successor in Jordan Love. A few months later, these questions remain, despite an MVP season from Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had bounce-back year in 2020
Aaron Rodgers silenced his doubters this past season. Many of his critics cited his past three seasons of declining play as a sign that the future Hall of Famer was about to fall off a cliff, statisically speaking. But Rodgers responded in 2020 by having a career year.
The Green Bay Packers (riding their star QB's return to his elite form) finished with another 13-3 record and made another NFC Championship Game. But the season ended on a sour note, as questionable play from Rodgers and play-calling from coach LaFleur led to the Packers' defeat on Championship Sunday.
Next season, Rodgers will seek to prove that his play in 2020 was an indicator that he can sustain his heightened play. If Rodgers regressses to his form of the previous two seasons, the Green Bay Packers probably feel like they have to move on from the star quarterback.
The Packers' executives may feel like they never get any credit while their star passer never gets any blame. When the team loses, it's always the blamed on the defense or another player. But when the Packers win, it's always linked to the brilliance of Aaron Rodgers. The quarterback and Packers management have always had a dicey relationship, so the writing might be on the wall.
The Packers typically find success in the draft and free agency. The team has built a winning culture, and it could continue to find success, even without one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
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The John Elway Route For Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers' career arc could be compared to that of John Elway. Many fans widely accepted that Elway was probably the most talented paser in NFL history, but he lacked the team success that's needed to be considered a true great.
Elway had a late career peak in a run-centric West Coast offense, and he won two Super Bowls in a row before he retired. Elway is certainly as one of the NFL's greatest players of all time.
Coach Matt LaFleur served directly under Elway's coach, Mike Shanahan, and it's safe to say he has a deep understanding on how to use that type of offensive scheme. It should be noted that Aaron Rodgers returned to MVP form under LaFleur's watchful eye. In theory, LaFleur and Rodgers can be a winning duo the way that Elway and Shanahan were.
With a similar run, Aaron Rodgers can experience a stretch that would remove any doubt that he is in fact a winning team player rather than an outstanding individual talent.
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