December 30, 2008

Quarterback change a blessing in disguise

Category: Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 9:36 pm

In retrospect, looking back on the Packers 2008 season is certainly disappointing; dropping seven more games from a year ago is a drastic step backwards. And while the casual Packer fan will more than likely direct the brunt of the blame at Aaron Rodgers, statistics show that the quarterback position was not the cause of the team’s ills. Here’s a look at Favre and Rodgers final regular season stats:

                COM PCT%   PASS YDS   TDs   INTs   QB RAT.    
Rodgers-      63.6          4,038        28      13        93.8        

Favre-          65.7          3,472        22      22        81.0 

Rodgers became just the second quarterback in NFL history to surpass the 4,000 yard passing plateau in his first season as a starter, joining Kurt Warner. Additionally, Rodgers ranked fourth in the league in passing yards and TDs and sixth in QB rating. And to help sway you a little more, Favre’s 22 picks lead the league (Jay Cutler was second to last with 18). Need I go on? From those numbers, it’s obvious to see that the highly-publicized transition went better than expected.  In just his first season as a full-time starter, Rodgers has cemented himself as a top 10 (if not top 5) quarterback. His mobility also proved valuable- contrary to what Favre was able to display in his final years in Titletown. The 207 total rushing yards he accrewed placed him 7th among NFL QBs. He also had four TDs on the ground. In comparison, Favre had a mere 43 yards with 1 TD on the ground.

While I won’t go on a rant on why the Pack ended up with a sub-par record, I will give you a couple news and views revolving around the team before the off-season begins.

News: 2010 free-agent-to-be Greg Jennings isn’t happy getting paid bupkis anymore.

Views: Can you blame the guy? Statistically, he was one of the best receivers in the league this season despite his snubbing from the Pro-Bowl. Note to Ted Thompson: get this guy locked up! He’s going to be a stud for years to come. 

News: Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders is all but gone…or at least he should be. A decision on Sanders’ future could be made as early as this week.
Views: Top candidates to replace him: former-49er head man Mike Nolan, interim Rams and former Saints head coach Jim Haslett, Jaguar defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (who’ll likely be let go) and possibly Winston Moss, the Packers linebackers coach. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who of those will be hired-if any. Anything to get Sanders O-U-T.

News: The Packers will hold the ninth overall pick in the upcoming April draft, and will receive the Jets’ third-rounder as compensation for the Brett Favre trade.

Views: Compensation could have been a second-rounder had the Jets not had their monumental collapse and made the playoffs and a first if they would’ve made the Superbowl. As far as the 9th pick is concerned, a trade down is always possible. Needs are at corner (with Harris and Woodson aging) as well as offensive and defensive line. Just to give you a quick idea, here were the players drafted in the nine spot the past five years:

2008- Bengals: *Keith Rivers, LB, USC. Rookie Stats:37 tks, 1 INT, 1 FF.
2007- Dolphins: Ted Ginn Jr, WR, Ohio State. Rookie Stats:  420 rec. yds, 3 total TDs.
2006- Lions: Ernie Sims, LB, Florida Stats. Rookie Stats: 124 tks, 0.5 sacks.
2005- Redskins: Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn. Rookie Stats: 46 tks, 2 INTs (12 games).
2004- Jaguars: Reggie Williams, WR, Washington. Rookie Stats: 268 rec. yds, 1 TD.

* Suffered season-ending broken jaw during Week 7 game against the Steelers.

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