Green Bay Packers fans, let's face it: we've had it pretty good as far as our quarterbacks have gone over the last 25-plus years. Aaron Rodgers holds the mantel now, and before him we had a great string of 16 years with Brett Favre at the helm of the franchise. Going back even farther, Don Majkowski had some flashes of brilliance as well, taking us all the way back into the late 1980s.
With Rodgers just a year removed from his second NFL MVP award and turning 32 years old this offseason, that success looks to remain consistent for the better part of the next decade.
So you can forgive us if we feel that we have it better than anyone else at that position. However, Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty sees one team as having a better long-term quarterback situation than the Packers', and it's one that Green Bay fans won't like: Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Here are a few of Daugherty's comments about the comparison he makes between the top two men on his list:
You could certainly argue that Wilson still isn’t as good as Aaron Rodgers, but you can’t argue his age — five years younger. That’s not to say youth alone is Wilson’s claim to the top spot. Whereas Rodgers struggled with a bad supporting cast last season, Wilson has consistently thrived with them. He’s also been held back by a run-first scheme that finally gave way to his unique gifts in 2015.
To be fair, let's give credit where credit is due - Wilson did have a remarkable second half in 2015, coming on strong after just an okay first nine games. Here are his splits from the first nine games to the final seven:
Games 1-9: 175-266 (65.8%), 2118 yards (235.3 ypg), 10 TDs, 7 INTs; 64 carries, 355 yards (5.6 ypc), 0 TDs
Games 10-16: 154-217 (70.1%), 1906 yards (272.3 ypg), 24 TDs, 1 INT; 39 carries, 198 yards (5.1 ypc), 1 TD
What is fascinating about these numbers are that he threw the ball about the same number of times per game in the second half, but was insanely more effective when doing so - and he also ran (and presumably scrambled) far less in the second half.
An astute observer might imagine that his offensive line played better in the second half than the first. That observer would be correct. In the first half of the year, Wilson was sacked 3.7 times per game, and was taken down at least four times in six of those nine games. In the second half, Seattle's sacks allowed dropped to 1.9 per game, with just one game of more than two.
The Packers, meanwhile, had a massively depleted receiving corps, which featured a number one wideout with a torn ACL (Jordy Nelson), a number two with a bum shoulder (Randall Cobb), a #3 playing on an injured ankle (Davante Adams), a #4 who was lost for the year with an ankle injury of his own in week six (Ty Montgomery), a returning player who was cut by two other teams last offseason (James Jones), and two second-year wideouts who had barely played at all on offense (Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis). Rodgers dealt with all that while dealing with injuries across the offensive line as well, as he took one more sack than Wilson in 2015 and was hit far more in the games in which he struggled down the stretch.
In other words, any quarterback will be off his game when dealing with pass-rushers in his face on a regular basis and with virtually no healthy receivers to throw to.
Still, although Rodgers' yardage and completion numbers trailed Wilson's in 2015, the two posted fairly similar TD/INT numbers in 2015 (31/8 for Rodgers, 34/8 for Wilson). Daugherty also acknowledges that there is no reason to expect Rodgers to maintain his "down" pace, as he heaps a fair share of praise on #12:
Although he’s now 32, Rodgers remains in his physical prime ... Rodgers is the league’s best pure passer, and should remain so for at least the next 2-3 seasons.
With that in mind, it's possible that we're making a mountain out of a molehill here. For the long term, Rodgers is still viewed by this pundit as one of the two best quarterbacks in the NFL for the immediate and foreseeable future, and his play should be a key factor in the Packers likely remaining Super Bowl contenders in that span.
And besides, we know what a healthy Rodgers with a reasonably healthy supporting cast is capable of. We'll just have to look forward to him being ranked number one on this list in 2017.