By Travis Duncan
Aaron Rodgers' play through the first four weeks of this NFL season has astounded even those who were not convinced (the few that existed) after the Super Bowl that he might be as good as a certain Mr. Brady or Mr. P. Manning-or dare we say the best quarterback in the NFL.
His performance against the Broncos appears to be a tipping point. (He was named the NFC's offensive player of the week, see superlatives below).
Read below for a brief round-up of several NFL commentators who now concede or celebrate Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFL (excluding recent comments from an ol' gun-slinger in Mississippi).
Cris Collinsworth of NBC's Sunday Night Football "I can't remember the last time I even considered answering the question about the NFL's best player with any name other than Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. But, after watching Aaron Rodgers against the Broncos, there is a new name on top of my list."
Nate Davis of USA TODAY, ranks Rodgers atop his NFL QB rankings.. ahead of Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Bailey Johnson of the CBS News " At the end of the first quarter of the season, Rodgers is clearly the best quarterback in the league right now."
Jim Miller NFL host on Sirius XM Radio told Mike Klis of the Denver Post "Mechanically throwing the football, Rodgers is better than all of them. Cerebrally, I think Brees still sets the bar. I would put Brady third."
John Elway (Hall of Fame Class of 2004) also told the Denver Post concerning the Rodgers vs Brady vs Manning debate, "I will say that out of all those guys you mentioned, the one thing Aaron has over all of them is he's really a good athlete and has the ability to extend plays. He can move around."
Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders, "Let the MVP debate begin! Rodgers slips ahead of Tom Brady this week in DVOA for the season, though Brady still holds the lead in DYAR. It sure likes one of these two men will take the award home."
Braden Gall of Athlon Sports, "Is there any doubt who the best player in the NFL is today? There shouldn’t be after another Playstation performance on Sunday afternoon from Aaron Rodgers.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated, "MVP of the Quarter: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay....He's on pace to be six percent more accurate, with 20 more touchdown passes, while throwing for almost 1,400 more yards. He's in the Brady-Brees-Manning pantheon now, except he has the ability to run and make tacklers miss. You don't want to blow too much smoke at Rodgers, but even if he falls off some, and just has average (for him) numbers the rest of the way, his season will be, across the board, 15 to 20 percent better than any of the three MVP seasons of Brett Favre."
The Stats (via NFL Information Dept.):
The NFL's most popular jersey
- Rodgers became the first player in NFL history with 400 passing yards (408), four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game in the Packers’ 49-23 win over Denver.
- He completed 29 of 38 passes (76.3 percent) for 408 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 134.5 passer rating. He also rushed for 36 yards and two scores.
- For the third season in a row, Rodgers has recorded a passer rating of at least 110 in four consecutive games. No other quarterback since the 1970 merger has posted two consecutive seasons with four 110+ passer rating games in a row.
- Rodgers has 1,325 passing yards, the most in franchise history through the first four games of a season. He is the only player in team history to throw for 12 touchdowns and rush for two scores in the first four games of a season.
- In his seventh season from California, this is Rodgers’ fourth career Player of the Week Award and second this season (Week 1). He has been named Player of the Week four times in the past nine weeks (Weeks 13 and 16, 2010; Weeks 1 and 4, 2011).
Rodgers also tops the list of the NFL most popular jerseys, by sales at NFLShop.com via CNBC.com. Clay Matthews is No. 5.
Top Selling Jersey List, NFLShop.com, April 1-Sept. 30, 2011
Candidly about Johnny Jolly
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers
- Tom Brady, Patriots
- Mike Vick, Eagles
- Troy Polamalu, Steelers
- Clay Matthews, Packers
- Drew Brees, Saints
- Tony Romo, Cowboys
- Miles Austin, Cowboys
- DeSean Jackson, Eagles
- Jason Witten, Cowboys
- Mark Sanchez, Jets
- Dez Bryant, Cowboys
- Peyton Manning, Colts
- Brian Urlacher, Bears
- Eli Manning, Giants
- Cam Newton, Panthers
- Darren McFadden, Raiders
- Ndamukong Suh, Lions
- Philip Rivers, Chargers
- Darrelle Revis, Jets
- Ray Lewis, Ravens
- Adrian Peterson, Vikings
- DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
- Tim Tebow, Broncos
- Hines Ward, Steelers
Rodgers spoke candidly about the recent arrest of Johnny Jolly, who is current suspended indefinitely by the NFL and was recently arrested on drug charges.
Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee Radio, "I’ve been in touch with him off and on the last couple years."
Rodgers continued, "It’s just disappointing. And I’ll be honest, I think the league deserves some of the blame in this case. When you look at some of the other guys that have been reinstated in the league after jail sentences, and justly, rightly so, Johnny didn’t serve any days in prison, sat out for a year and still couldn’t get his case heard, from what I was told. I just think that that’s wrong"
"I think the commissioner’s done a great job of cleaning up some of the stuff in the league. That said, if you take a guy away from his support system … I don’t think that’s helping.”
The Packers again maintain their rightful spot as Power Rankings royalty.
Washington Post No. 1 followed by the Saints, Ravens, Lions and Patriots.
Pro Football Weekly No. 1 followed by the Patriots, Saints, Lions and Ravens.
Fox Sports by Brian Billick No.1 followed by the Saints, Ravens, Lions and Chargers
ESPN.com No. 1 followed by the Saints, Patriots, Lions and Ravens.
CBSSports.com No. 1 followed by the Lions, Patrios, Ravens and Chargers.
SBNation.com No.1 followed by the Ravens, Saints, Patriots and Lions.
AthlonSports.com No.1 followed by the Saints, Lions, Ravens and Texans.
New Orleans Times Picayune No.1 followed by the Saints, Lions, Patriots and Ravens
ProFootballTalk.com No.1 followed by the Saints, Lions, Ravens and Patriots.
USATODAY No.1 followed by the Saints, Patriots, Ravens and Texans.
WalterFootball.com No.1 followed by the Patriots, Saints, Ravens and Lions.
SportingNews.com No.1 followed by the Saints, Patriots, Ravens and Chargers.
Jordy Nelson's New Deal
Nelson was rewarded/retained by the Packers with a new three-year contract extension which will take him through the 2014 season. Nelson was due to be a free-agent at the end of the season. According to an ESPN report the contract is worth up to $13.35 million over three years.
He told reporters Wednesday (via the Associated Press) "I think some people are in this league to get the money, and are excited about it For myself, I love winning. I don’t know why you would want to leave a team like this, an organization like this.”
Nelson says, "My wife loves it here. She probably would have thought about staying and (have) me go play somewhere else. Obviously you have a kid, and hopefully more in the future. As you get settled in, I mean, there’s so many things, you get settled in with doctors and stuff like that. And you have a base, a family here that you kind of have to put into consideration."
Inside the Georgia Dome
The Packers will play indoors for the first time this season (also again Week 7 vs Minnesota and Thanksgiving Day vs Detroit) an atmosphere which shows a marked statistical difference offensively since 2006.
Total Offense: 360.3
Net Passing Yards: 247.3
Total Offense: 379.2
Net Passing Yards: 295.7
The Last Meeting
The Packers defeated the Falcons 48-21, which at the time was an upset, as the Falcons were the top-seed . Rodgers threw three touchdowns and ran in another score as well. The Packers offense ran up and down the field on the Falcons.
Falcons coach Mike Smith says, "I can assure you definitely it was a learning experience for us as a team. There were a lot of lessons to be learned from that game. They were the better team, we didn't play very well. We'll have our hands full, but we're looking forward to the challenge of competing against them."
A hot game
The "Playoff Atmosphere" label is being applied to Sunday Night's game. In the words of
Packers coach Mike McCarthy, "We think this is going to be a ‘hot’ game"
"We’re fully aware of how they feel about us. We’re looking forward to the challenge."
Comparing the Packers and Falcons
Based on the stats, expect a shootout. Two good offenses and against two of the lowest-ranked passing defenses in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers..........................Atlanta Falcons
Turnover Margin +6 5th NFL............0 15T NFL
Total Offense 429.3 5th NFL.............360.3 12th NFL
Rushing Offense 109.5 15T NFL.......99.8 19th NFL
Passing Offense 319.8...5th NFL.......260.5 11th NFL
Total Defense 406.8 28th NFL...........372.8 21T NFL
Rushing Defense 71.0 2nd NFL.........97.3 10th NFL
Passing Defense 335.8 31st NFl........275.5 24T NFL
Woodson on PTI
Sunday against the Broncos, Charles Woodson returned his 11th career interceptions for a touchdown. He is now just one pick-six behind the all-time NFL leader Rod Woodson. Woodson spent five goodminutes with ESPN's Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on Pardon the Interuption on Wednesday and told the guys that he is well aware of the record "You better believe I'm keeping track and I want it." You can listen to the segment here go to the 9:30 mark.
For a nice comparison between two of the greatest NFL cornerbacks who share the same last name, check out this February 20011 article by Tom Mulhern of the LaCrosse Tribune.
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