The 2012 season was a series of ups and downs for the Green Bay Packers. Though an 11-5 regular season culminated in an NFC North Division title, it felt like opportunities slipped away from the team especially with a squandered opportunity to clinch a first-round bye in Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings. Then a crushing loss in the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs brought back memories of other recent playoff failures, despite a win in the Wild-Card round.
Despite the disappointments and weak links at certain spots around the roster (we'll get to that more tomorrow), there are of course exceptional players on this Packers team, and a few of them stand out above all others. You now have the chance to help decide which of those players earns the APC community's vote for 2012 Team MVP.
Passing: 371-552 (67.2%), 4295 yards, 39 TD, 8 INT, 7.8 YPA, 108.0 Passer rating
Rushing: 54 attempts, 259 yards (4.8 per), 2 TD
Rodgers is the first choice that will likely come to everyone's mind, and with a stat line like that it's difficult to argue. Obviously, he plays the marquee position in the game, which will earn him more votes. Plus he did all of this with several key receivers in and out of the lineup throughout the entire season and no consistent rushing threat whatsoever. Rodgers is the obvious choice, but keep reading for more legitimate options.
12 games: 32 solo tackles, 11 assists, 13 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes defended
Matthews returned to his gaudy sack numbers this season, as he was a half-sack off his career high set in 2010. He added an additional three sacks in the two playoff games to underscore his impact to the defense. However, whether Matthews earns your vote may depend on just how you define "most valuable player". Instead of Rodgers being defined by the players around him who missed time due to injury, Matthews was defined this season by the defense's play in his absence. We examined a while back the defense's lack of production without Matthews, both in the run game and the pass rush, and perhaps this could be the data that tilts your vote in Matthews' favor.
Receiving: 80 receptions, 954 yards (11.9 per), 8 TD
Rushing: 10 attempts, 132 yards (13.2 per)
Kick Returns: 38 attempts, 964 yards (25.4 per)
Punt Returns: 31 attempts, 292 yards (9.4 per), 1 TD
Led NFL with 2342 All-Purpose Yards (22nd all-time)
Cobb should earn some votes for his versatility alone. He led the team in catches and receiving yards, while contributing as a runner and as the primary return man for the entire season. While he finished in a tie for 7th in the league with 11 drops (according to Pro Football Focus), he still had nearly an 80% catch rate (80 catches on 102 targets). As with Rodgers, one must also consider the fact that Cobb was a steady contributor for an offense that had practically no running game and a revolving door of receiving options around him.
That's where our short list of MVP nominees ends. Did we completely miss somebody who deserves to be nominated? If so, please make your case in the comments.