The point is, a lot of people think that records simply to be surpassed. Who are we to argue with that line of thinking? Here are a bunch of records we’d like to see Packers players break in 2018.
Evan “Tex” Western - Aaron Rodgers’ personal QB DVOA record
Aaron Rodgers holds the NFL’s high-water mark for passer rating in a single season, and by extension, the team record. One record he doesn’t hold is in single-season quarterback DVOA, Football Outsiders’ overall metric for passing success on a per-play basis. Rodgers’ personal best in this value is 46.6%, one-tenth of a percent below Brady’s 2010 (46.7%) for the high-water mark over the past decade.
However, Peyton Manning holds the all-time record for his 2004 season with a ridiculous 58.9%. As far as pure passing stats go, the only notable difference in Manning’s favor was his four more touchdowns, which gave him a TD% of 9.9% instead of Rodgers’ 9.0%. Rodgers’ 2011 numbers were just as good across the board -- better in most cases. Take a look:
Completion %: Rodgers 68.3%, Manning 67.6%
INT %: Rodgers 1.2%, Manning 2.0%
Yards/attempt: Rodgers 9.2, Manning 9.2
Yards/completion: Rodgers 13.5, Manning 13.6
Passer rating: Rodgers 122.5 (all-time single-season record), Manning 121.1
Probably the biggest difference that contributes to the big gap in DVOA was that Manning took just thirteen sacks through all of 2004, while Rodgers was brought down 36 times in 2011.
It would be magnificent for Rodgers to break his personal best in DVOA and with a defense that looks to be better in 2018 than it has been in recent years -- at least on paper -- that should put the team in their best position to win a 14th NFL title since the year he set that mark. If he could somehow approach or crack Manning’s absurd 2004 value, it would be a year that every football fan alive would remember.
Matub - Passer Rating Differential (PRD)
Dom Capers did a lot of things wrong. He also did one thing very, very right. Dom championed the importance of a stat known as “Passer Rating Differential”. How much higher is YOUR QB’s Passer Rating than THEIR QB’s? It’s as simple as that. Dom felt it was a stat very closely related to victory. The only problem in recent years was Dom’s ability to effectively change THEIR QB’s passer rating in a negative direction. For reference, the 2017 Green Bay Packers’ PRD was -20.05. Opponent QBs had, on average, a Passer Rating of 20 points higher.
During Dom’s tenure as Defensive Coordinator, the highest PRD came in 2011 when his defense forced turnovers at an elite level and Aaron Rodgers appeared nigh unstoppable. At the end of regular season, the team’s PRD was a whopping 42.01. If Pettine’s defense can perform in a similar fashion and the “Aaron Rodgers Revenge Tour” proceeds full steam ahead, the team has a chance to eclipse this mark.
Jordan Smith - Clay Matthews breaking the all-time Packers forced fumbles record
The record is currently held by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila with 17 FF, while current Packer Clay Matthews is a mere three away from tying that record and four from breaking it. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Clay Matthews in recent months, but breaking this record would accomplish two very good things: it would give Clay a renaissance season that would resonate well with fans and four forced fumbles could steer entire games in the Packers’ favor. Of course, that would require the Packers recovering the fumbles once they hit the ground. Last season, the Packers only managed 10 forced fumbles so if that production repeats itself, that’s a lot to ask of Matthews.
However, I’m already very confident in the performances of the defense over the past few years not repeating themselves. In four out of Mike Pettine’s five seasons as a DC, his defenses ranked in the top-10 in takeaways and top five in defensive DVOA. Clay is in his 10th season and just turned 32. Both reasons I’ve suggested moving on from the pass rusher in the past. He hasn’t had more than three forced fumbles since 2013 nor has he had double-digit sacks since 2014. So he’ll be leaning heavily on Pettine to put him in a great position to succeed and pass rushing depth to help keep him fresh.
Paul Noonan - Running Back Receiving Yards
The Packers have several running backs with the potential to bust out as receivers, and that fact may keep any of them from really putting up huge numbers, but it also doesn’t take much to break the Packer running back receiving record in the post-merger era. That record belongs to Edgar Bennett, who had 648 yards receiving on 61 receptions in 1995. If the Packers pass as much as they should, and if any one of the three Packer backs can take over the bulk of passing downs, that seems entirely possible. Lacy and Starks combine for 567 yards in 2014 during the last really good Packer offensive showing. Now imagine what that number would look like with actual good receiving backs.
Jon Meerdink - Billy Howton’s single-game receiving yards record
200 yard receiving games are something special. There have only been 72 such performances since 2000, an average of a little over four per year league-wide in that stretch. For comparison, someone has rushed for 200 or more yards 76 times in the same period.
There have been seven 200-yard receiving games in Packers history. The dearly departed Jordy Nelson did it most recently, abusing the New York Jets for 209 yards in 2014, the third best total a Packers player has ever produced.
As Shawn noted, Billy Howton’s 257-yard day in the Stone Age of passing stands unmatched more than 60 years later, and I think that’s due for a change. It’d be especially interesting to see that change happen this year, when the Packers don’t have a bona fide deep threat near the top of their wide receiver depth chart. Spot him an early 66-yard touchdown (as happened against the Seahawks in 2016) and Davante Adams would still need 17 catches at his career average of 11.9 yards per reception to pass Howton.
That would be a sight to see. How about we pencil it in for Week 12 at Minnesota?