Packers need Aaron Rodgers, but differently

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The Green Bay Packers can’t win another Super Bowl without Aaron Rodgers, but in 2022, they’ll need defense and a strong running game as well.

Aaron Rodgers is a two-time reigning MVP. Don’t expect a third straight, unlike his predecessor.

In the mid-90s, Brett Favre won three consecutive MVP awards from 1995-97, all while earning two Super Bowl trips and one title. Rodgers, on the other hand, hasn’t had such luck, with Green Bay facing twice in the NFC playoffs at Lambeau Field.

Not believing Rodgers will win a third straight MVP isn’t a knock. In fact, it’s a note on how Green Bay needs to fundamentally change the way it plays if it’s going to enjoy postseason success.

After losing star receiver Davante Adams in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason — acquiring first- and second-round picks in the process — the Packers did little to replace the two-time First-Team All-Pro save for landing North Dakota State’s Christian Watson in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

In past years, the onus has been on Rodgers. Despite having two excellent running backs in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, the Packers have always relied heavily on the pass. The defense has also been somewhat an Achilles heel in big games, albeit not last year’s 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.

Now, with Adams gone and an unproven group of receivers, the Packers need Rodgers to hand the ball off, make a half-dozen significant throws per week and watch a defense loaded up with seven first-round picks do its job.

Green Bay has a litany of high-end talents on the defensive side, highlighted by defensive tackle Kenny Clark, edge rushers Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, corners Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes, and safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos. The group should be a top-10 defense at worst, and perhaps top-five.

Offensively, Jones and Dillon are an elite duo behind what should be a quality offensive line, although there’s concern about the availability of All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, still trying to recover from a torn ACL suffered on New Year’s Eve, 2020.

All told, Rodgers might not put up huge numbers again. He probably won’t win MVP. But if he makes the high-level throws we’ve seen his entire career, and the supporting cast around him does its job, Green Bay will find itself in the thick of it all come January.

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Author: Lucas Carlson