2019 Season in Review - Quarterbacks
As the 2020 NFL Draft draws near and Free Agency is in full swing, we are reminding Packers' fans how our team faired last year with a view to where we need to improve in the future. Over the coming days, stay tuned for our 2019 season in review articles for every player at every position. The series commences with a look at our signal callers.
Entering the 2019 season, all the talk was about the Packers' new offense and how the relationship between Rodgers and new head coach Matt LaFleur would work. How quickly would Rodgers learn the new offense, and would it suit his style? Would LaFleur trust Rodgers to call audibles?
So how did it go?
It’s fair to say that Rodgers’ 2019 season again drew mixed reviews but in fairness, that’s because he continues to be compared to the extremely high standards he set at his peak, rather than be judged against the levels of mere mortals. It’s a matter of perspective.
After two injury affected seasons, Rodgers remained injury free this past season, starting all 16 regular season games (playing 1,057 offensive snaps, 98.1% of the team’s offensive total)[i], attempting 569 passes and completing 353. His ability to throw his receivers open with a perfectly thrown ball remains, but perhaps happens less consistently than before. Some of his athletic prowess to escape the pass rush, extend the play and turn a possible negative into a huge gain is also still there – but as he has aged, this happens perhaps less frequently than before. Going forward, a second season in the new system should help.
For his 2019 season, PFF ranked Rodgers the 83rd best player (4th highest placed Packer, 7th highest among quarterbacks) in the NFL irrespective of position.
The 2019 season numbers certainly seem to support the mixed narrative…
On the plus side:
Passing Yards – He threw for 4,002 yards, surpassing the significant 4,000-yard mark for the eighth time in his career.
Touchdown Passes – He threw for 26 touchdowns, the tenth time in his career that he has thrown for 25 or more in a single season.
Interceptions – For the second straight year, he ended up throwing less than 5 interceptions in a complete season – this time he threw only 4! This shows an incredible level of cautiousness with the football…not turning the ball over being one of the keys to winning football.
On the negative side:
Completion percentage – 62.0% - his lowest since 2015 and the second lowest of his 12-year starting career
Passer Rating – 95.4 – his lowest since 2015 and the third lowest of his 12-year starting career. The 95.4 rating placed him 12th in the NFL in 2019.
ESPN’s QBR – 53.5 – the lowest of his 12-year starting career
Rodgers won NFC Player of the Week awards once this season – for his week 7 performance against the Oakland Raiders in which he posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 (the first such perfect passer rating of his career) and was named to the Pro Bowl (he didn’t play). Completing the statistics, Rodgers ran for 183 yards on 46 carries (4.0 average) with 1 touchdown and he fumbled 4 times. He was charged with 7 penalties (6 delay of game, 1 false start, 1 intentional grounding).
And oh yeah, he led his team to a 13-3 record and a division title. Without labouring the point, surely a second year in this offense can only bring good things.
In the meantime, Rodgers continues to move his way up the Packers all-time record books…here is a flavour of some of the positions on the Packers all-time career lists that Rodgers now holds:
Seasons Played – 15 – tied 3rd in franchise history
Games Played – 181 – tied 8th in franchise history
Career Passing Attempts – 6,061 – 2nd in franchise history (behind Favre)
Career Passing Completions – 3,913 – 2nd in franchise history (behind Favre)
Career Completion Percentage – 64.56% - 1st in franchise history
Career Touchdown Passes – 364 – 2nd in franchise history (behind Favre)
Career Passing Yards – 46,946 – 2nd in franchise history (behind Favre)
Career Average Gain Per Pass Attempt – 7.75 – 2nd in franchise history (behind Starr)
Career Interception Percentage – 1.39% - 1st in franchise history
3,000 Yards Passing in a Single Season – 9 times – 2nd in franchise history (behind Favre)
4,000 Yards Passing in a Single Season – 8 times –1st in franchise history
300+ Yards Passing in a Single Game – 60 – 1st in franchise history
Passer Rating – 102.4 – 1st in franchise history
Pro Bowl Selections – 7 – equal 4th in franchise history
Times Sacked – 448 – 1st in franchise history
Rushing Yards – 3,122 – 13th in franchise history
Fumbles – 77 – 2nd in franchise history (behind Favre)
Fumble Recoveries – 25 – 3rd in franchise history
Behind Rodgers, three quarterbacks competed in camp and pre-season for what turned out to be just a single back-up spot – Boyle, DeShone Kizer and Manny Wilkins.
In pre-season, Boyle outplayed both Kizer and Wilkins and earned the primary back-up role. When the front office opted to go with just 2 quarterbacks on the roster (freeing up an extra roster spot), it meant that both Kizer and Wilkins were released at the final cutdown to 53.
During the regular season, Boyle saw his first real NFL action seeing mop up action in 3 games (21 snaps, 1.9% of the team’s total), attempting only 4 passes – completing 3 for 15 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also had 5 kneel downs for -7 yards. It’s likely that Boyle will see competition again in camp in 2020 for a back-up role.
After being released at the final cutdown, Wilkins was re-signed on 1st September to the Practice Squad where he remained all year. Wilkins signed a futures contract with the Packers just after the season finished, meaning that he’ll be back in 2020 competing for a roster spot.
Kizer was a carry-over from the 2018 roster (playing in 3 games in 2018) – having been acquired in a trade and was probably the favourite to win the back-up job entering camp. But he was outplayed by Tim Boyle in the pre-season and was released at the cutdown to the final 53-man roster. Kizer was picked up off waivers by the Raiders.
Find Peter on twitter here: @The_IT_Hedgehog