Suddenly a new excuse has emerged for Aaron Rodgers not maintaining his MVP level of play we saw each of the past two seasons. All year long, we’ve heard about the big changes to the Green Bay Packers receiver room, with two of his top-three targets changing teams.
And it’s true, Rodgers has seemingly struggled to get on the same page as his young pass-catchers while going from a passing offense that averaged the eighth-most yards per game in 2021 to one that now ranks 19th in 2022.
Others have tried to suggest Rodgers has suddenly lost a step at the age of 39, and that’s why he’s on pace to average the fewest yards per game in his 15 seasons as a starter. But that doesn’t seem to track either. After all, he just won two MVPs. Can a quarterback really go from being the best in the game for back-to-back seasons to being one who looks mediocre at times?
Rodgers’ struggles have been one of the most mystifying storylines of the 2022 season, but as we mentioned in the intro, a new narrative has emerged.
Is a broken thumb to blame for Aaron Rodgers’ decline?
We’ve seen Rodgers pop up on the team’s injury report frequently this season, and according to the 10-time Pro Bowl QB himself, he’s dealing with a broken thumb. It’s an injury that first occurred in the team’s Week 5 loss to the New York Giants, and he’s been dealing with it ever since.
Rodgers added that surgery has never been considered and that he’s played with worse injuries, such as his knee ailment in 2018.
Yet, the timing of the injury seems important, as the Packers lost that game in Week 5 and proceeded to lose their next four games too. Yet throughout all this, Rodgers’ numbers haven’t really changed.
From Weeks 1-4, Rodgers averaged 233 yards per game, averaging 7.2 yards per pass. We’ll throw Week 5 out since that is when he got hurt. In the weeks that have since followed, Rodgers has averaged 227 yards per game and 6.8 yards per attempt. As we said, these are pretty similar numbers.
So, is a broken thumb really what’s been holding Rodgers back from performing at an MVP level? Probably not. Let’s not discount the injury entirely, as you can only imagine how difficult it must be to grip and rip a football without the part that actually holds onto the pigskin, but Rodgers seems to be managing just fine.
If it were a “bad break,” he likely wouldn’t be playing at all, no matter how badly he wants to win. Basically, this just seems like another excuse.