Reassessing Aaron Rodgers, Philadelphia EaglesSeptember 18th, 2008 - 11:22 am
Early this morning, around 1 a.m., as I was laid up in a hospital bed with a separated shoulder sustained during a softball game, I got the opportunity to watch the NFL Network on the TV above my bed and I was able to catch two different games on Replay, thanks to the lethargy of the hospital staff.
First, I caught the entire second half of the Packers-Lions game from Week 2. Then, I watched the first three quarters of the Eagles-Cowboys game. Now, I’m not the world’s greatest prognosticator, that I can admit. And as such, I’ve been able to reassess two of my preseason predictions and come to a modified conclusion on both.
The first is that I had thought Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t be very good NFL starting quarterback. Once projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2005 draft, he slid to pick No. 24. I thought there ought to be a reason for that slide, for why would a highly-ranked prospect dip that far? So did, I guess, 23 other NFL teams who bypassed him because they either didn’t need a QB or didn’t think he was worth a first round pick.
After watching Rodgers play twice — I also watched the Monday night game against the Vikings in Week 1 — I’m giving him a little more credit than I originally did. His numbers through the first two weeks? 42-60 for 506 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions with a 117.8 quarterback rating. Plus, a 70% completion rate and 8.4 yards per attempt.
However, I’m not ready to completely jump off the Aaron Rodgers “bust” bandwagon and climb onto the “boom” ride. While I give him more respect, let’s also remember that these numbers were posted against two of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, the Vikings and the Lions — who, in 2007, finished last and second-to-last, respectively, against the pass. And he can only play those two teams a combined four times in a given year.
As for my second reassessment, I am much more impressed with the Philadelphia Eagles than I was in the off-season. I had predicted them to finish 7-9, and, at this point, the only way that’s going to happen is if they sustain some key injuries. Donovan McNabb looks sharp, Brian Westbrook looks solid as usual, the receiving corps, missing their two top options in Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, are holding down the fort with consistency. Their defense looks better with the addition of Asante Samuel and are currently No. 1 in the NFL against the run. Are you ready for these numbers? Through two games, they’ve given up 104 yards on 39 carries, a 2.7 average. They are giving up just 52 rushing yards per game. That’s rock solid.
So, in hindsight, maybe it’s good that I separated my shoulder and was able to watch these games. I was able to see the Eagles and Packers — whom the Bears play a total of three games against this year — and get a better idea of how good they are. And here’s a prediction that I hope I’m also wrong about: the Bears could have some serious trouble in each of those three games.