In 2011, Aaron Rodgers had one of the best seasons a quarterback has ever had. His stone-cold average in 15 regular-season games was three passing TDs and 0.4 interceptions. That's not an exceptional day. That was an average day. He completed 68.3% of his passes, second only to Drew Brees (71.2%), which normally means that a QB took a lot of low-risk short throws. Not Rodgers. He led the league in yards per attempt (9.2). Brees's was 8.3. And oh yeah, he led the Packers through a 15-1 regular season despite having the league's worst defense in terms of yards allowed.
Packers fans have been spoiled for two decades of generally great quarterback play, so let me put that in some context: what Aaron Rodgers did last year was one of the great season-long performances of the Super Bowl era. It ranks up there with Peyton Manning in 2004 and Tom Brady in 2007. It was absolutely stupendous, and thereby, it set an incredibly high bar for next year. I wanted to just take a minute before camp starts to remind everyone that he probably will not play up to that level next year, because the bar was set so high.
This isn't a knock on Rodgers. Manning and Eli Manning and Brady and Brees, the other members of the Top 5 Club, have all had unbelievable seasons and then gone back to being merely great the next year. Sometimes, guys just play out of their minds. It is entirely possible that Rodgers will be just as good in '12 as he was in '11, and thereby set a new standard for modern quarterbacking. I'm just saying that most times, after a terrific year, even the best QBs come back to earth somewhat.
Now, with Rodgers, that's totally fine. His average day is better than a lot of quarterbacks' best day. And it's entirely possible that this is just me being needlessly worrywart-ish. I just want to throw this out there in case Rodgers does have a multiple-interception game early in 2012 (shock!) or loses to the Bears or Saints (horror!) that it's not the end of the world. He's still one of the best out there, but everybody has off years. Manning threw 21 fewer touchdowns in 2005 than he did in 2004. Drew Brees doubled his interception total from 2009 to 2010 (11 to 22). Even for the elite QBs, this stuff happens. If it happens to Rodgers, there's no reason to freak out. If it doesn't happen to Rodgers, then there's a legitimate reason to freak out (but with happiness, not freaking-out-ness. You get the drift).