The Davante Adams-Packers breakup isn't working out well for anyone right now. The Raiders are 1-4, and Adams' play . Meanwhile, the Packers are off to their worst six-game start (3-3) since 2012, and their 17.8 points per game are the fewest in a six-start span in Aaron Rodgers' illustrious career, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Green Bay has the same number of games with 14 or fewer points this season (three) as the previous two seasons combined, when Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs. His quest for a third straight has taken an early hit, as he currently has 50-1 odds. He also has a passer rating below 100.0 in three straight games, his longest drought since 2019.
It's now clearer where Rodgers thinks the improvements need to be made. He clarified his comments to Pat McAfee Show." "We need to simplify our own game. Both fundamentally and execution-wise," Rodgers said. "It's not anything against the staff, because those guys put a lot of work into it and care about it a lot and try to detail the plan to us as much as possible. At some point, the accountability has to be on the players to go out and execute."Tuesday on "The
These growing pains were anticipated with a new supporting cast. After all, there seemed to be a viral comment from Rodgers on his wide receivers every week building up to the start of the season. But there's no guarantee Rodgers' chemistry with this new group will improve based on previous history.
The Packers have gotten the fewest touchdown receptions from rookies (23) dating back to Rodgers' first season as a starter in 2008. Only Patriots' rookies have accumulated fewer catches and receiving yards than Green Bay's over that span. It's taken time to put up big numbers. None of Rodgers' three top targets in his career – Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb – cracked 500 receiving yards as a rookie. None hit 1,000 in a season until their fourth year or later.
Packers rookies since 2008
In the past, rookie production may have been a luxury for Green Bay, but now it's a necessity with rookies Christian Watson (second-round pick) and Romeo Doubs (fourth-round pick) pressed into duty. Still, the progress is slower than expected. Rodgers is averaging 5.6 yards per attempt targeting rookie WRs this season and 9.6 targeting veteran WRs. Neither has been able to stretch the field like Adams did. Rodgers' pass chart of completions to those two is not what I expected to see at this point in the year. He has the same number of completions to them at or behind the line of scrimmage (16) than he does in front of the LOS!
He is 0-for-7 targeting Watson and Doubs 20-plus yards downfield, and each player has had a back-breaking drop on a deep ball so far. Watson's drop came in the season opener and Doubs' with a chance to seal a victory against the Patriots in Week 4.
That has played into the overall issues on Green Bay's offense. The run game and quick-passing are still working, but there's been very little big-play ability. Rodgers is completing 27% of those deep balls this season, down from 42% when he won back-to-back MVPs. If you stretch it to throws 25-plus yards downfield, he's just 3-for-22.
Call it a combination of chemistry and struggles to get open, because these aren't the numbers we're accustomed to seeing with Rodgers. Usually when you give a four-time MVP time to throw and a clean pocket, it's game over. But not this year. Rodgers is 22nd in the league in passer rating when he has at least 2.5 seconds to throw and no pressure. He was absolutely carving defenses up in the previous two seasons when he won MVP, ranking first in that category each year. That's because he had a group of receivers that could get open.
Aaron Rodgers with 2.5+ seconds to throw and no pressure
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Another sign his teammates aren't generating enough separation is his performance against man coverage. He's 18th in passer rating versus man coverage this season, smack-dab between Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton on the NFL leaderboard. Rodgers and Adams would toy with man coverage in the past thanks to insane talent and years of developing chemistry and timing. The back-shoulder fade was a cheat code against tight windows. Rodgers completed 78% of his passes to Adams in man coverage in the previous two seasons, averaging more than 10 yards per attempt. Rodgers is completing 56% of these throws with 6.2 yards per attempt this year against man.
Things might not get any easier, either. Cobb is out multiple weeks with an ankle injury. And while, there's no timetable for Watson to return from his hamstring injury.
Still, with the landscape of the NFC, it's not quite time to panic yet, at least according to Rodgers. "A lot of people, if you're looking preseason at the NFC, four teams for sure in the conversation: San Fran, LA, Tampa and us," Rodgers said Tuesday on "The Pat McAfee Show." "All four of us are 3-3. I don't think there's any panic at any of those four places."
There's also time for the Packers to broker a deal for a wide receiver before the Nov. 1 trade deadline, another topic Rodgers' broached on Tuesday's show.
"I trust that they'll be in the mix on certain guys that they like," Rodgers said. "As always, it comes down to need price cost of those certain players, but I know [general manager] Brian [Gutekunst] is going to do what's best for our football team, and if he feels like adding a guy or two to the mix, then I'm sure he's going to try and make that happen."
Whether it's the "R.E.L.A.X." season or "Run the Table", Rodgers also seems to dig Green Bay out of an early hole. But unless a rookie emerges or the Packers make a splash at the deadline, this year feels different after the shuffle at wide receiver.