Each winter, Acme Packing Company breaks down the Green Bay Packers’ roster from the previous year by position to examine the team’s performance and needs in the offseason. This year, as always, we begin at the quarterback position.
Distilled to its essence, the Green Bay Packers’ offseason centered around reconstructing the offense for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two-time MVP had played below his standards for multiple seasons at the time the team hired Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur as its new head coach. While LaFleur brought more to the table than simply an offensive system, the Packers hoped the 39-year-old coach would invigorate Rodgers for the final chapter of his illustrious career.
Rodgers and LaFleur tried to manage expectations for the offense early on, an acknowledgment that the new offense and the transition to it would require more than just one training camp and preseason to fully implement. However, with a quarterback of Rodgers’ pedigree, any bump in the road would garner criticism for the entire system.
Starter: Aaron Rodgers
16 games active, 16 starts
353 of 569 (62.0%), 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns, four interceptions, 95.4 passer rating
46 rushes, 183 yards, one touchdown
Rodgers’ play during the first two regular-season games of the LaFleur era raised some eyebrows. The veteran quarterback barely crossed the 200-yard threshold in either contest and the offense, save for the opening few series of Week 2’s victory over the Minnesota Vikings, struggled to maintain drives. Rodgers’ issues with ball placement and unwillingness to take risks became narratives, at least in some corners.
Those narratives flipped midway through October as Rodgers and the Packers grew more comfortable with the offense. Rodgers’ efficiency skyrocketed, highlighted by a five-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders in which he posted a perfect passer rating for the first time in his career. The spike in his play helped Green Bay win seven of its first eight games.
However, Rodgers’ performance dipped during the backstretch of the season. After throwing four touchdowns against the New York Giants on Dec. 1, he didn’t account for more than two scores in a game the rest of the way. The caliber of the Packers’ receivers played a role in those shortcomings, but Rodgers overcame such issues in the past.
Still, for his first year in a new scheme, Rodgers’ play provided more positives than negatives. He has a good chance to improve with better talent at the skill positions and another offseason in LaFleur’s system.
Backup: Tim Boyle
16 games active
Three of four (75.0%), 15 yards, 80.2 passer rating
Five rushes, -7 yards
As a second-year player and former undrafted free agent, Tim Boyle’s season boiled down to winning a training-camp competition with DeShone Kizer for the No. 2 QB job. As he did his rookie year, Boyle did just enough to keep his spot on the Packers’ roster while Kizer continued to struggle with fundamental aspects of the position. The team cut Kizer during final cuts, leaving Boyle as the only signal-caller on the roster behind Rodgers.
During the regular season, Boyle only saw the field for mop-up duty. Accordingly, his development remains difficult to ascertain for those not at practice every day.
Overall grade: B-
Rodgers might no longer have the ability to carry a team as he did during his peak. However, in a new offense that generates open receivers with regularity, he can still tilt the field for stretches. As LaFleur installs more elements of his offense — he acknowledged that the offense will feature more uptempo next season — the Packers can better work around for Rodgers’ late-career inconsistencies.