Perhaps a bigger story than the candidates for the MVP award is who isn’t a candidate for the award. Aaron Rodgers has won the award twice. He has no chance to win it this year.
Rodgers has 20 touchdowns, one interception and a 101.7 passer rating, but he hasn’t played like Aaron Rodgers the entire season.
The Packers quarterback has completed only 61.7 percent of his passes, which would rank as the second-lowest of his career. He leads the league with 47 throwaways, according to Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus, compared to only 82 total incompletions for Drew Brees. Rodgers has missed his target on 20.6 percent of his 286 attempts, according to ESPN, which is above the NFL average off-target rate of 16 percent this season.
It has raised questions about Rodgers’ fundamentals and whether a Week One knee injury affected him.
“I don’t think I need to respond about fundamentals,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I mean, I drill the fundamentals. I throw how I throw. I’m not playing any different this year. It’s just we’re not completing as many passes percentage-wise.
“I listen to my quarterback coach and my offensive coordinator and my head coach. My study of myself, I’m very critical of my own film. I’m not playing any differently fundamental-wise. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t love it when it’s a certain way and then critique it when it’s the other way. I mean, you guys can because that what you guys get paid to do. Again, that’s the news cycle. They’re going to pick at things when you’re in a situation like this where we’re at. We’re 4-6-1 so it comes with the territory.”
Rodgers, who pointed out USA Football twice has named him to its All-Fundamental team, is missing throws he usually makes. He said a third-and-two throw against Seattle that bounced at the feet of Marquez Valdes-Scantling stuck in his hand. He missed back-to-back throws in the fourth quarter against Minnesota with the second-down toss landing at the feet of Equanimeous St. Brown and the third-down throw sailing over Davante Adams.
“I told you, the first one stuck to my hand, and the second one, I threw without laces and threw it into the ground,” Rodgers said. “So I can’t really explain it any other way. You can go back and check the film on the second one, but that’s what happened. I practiced throwing without the laces. I was trying to get the ball out quick, and I just didn’t throw it well. The first one, I told you it just stuck to my hand. Some balls are tackier than other ones.
“It’s embarrassing, for sure. Yeah, I mean, it happens to the best of us.”