It’s time for the sixth annual “Best & Worst Case Scenario” series, a feature that goes back to the days of the old RailbirdCentral.com domain.
I attempt to take a look at what is the very best possible season a player is capable of producing, and on the other hand, what would happen if a player fell flat on his face (without assuming they suffer a season-ending injury). These are intended to be extreme scenarios on both sides of the spectrum. More than likely, each player is going to fall somewhere in the middle, but every now and then, they just so happen to come to fruition.
As one final note, I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not necessarily what’s best for the team.
Best-case scenario: In terms of post-season honors, it will be difficult for Rodgers to improve upon last year when he was named the NFL’s MVP, a first-team All-Pro and a starter in the Pro Bowl. Rodgers is not only capable of duplicating those feats, he can add Super Bowl MVP to the list, all in the same season. From a statistical standpoint, Rodgers can also eclipse his previous single-season career highs with over 5,000 yards passing, a completion rate over 70% and a tick more than the 45 touchdowns he threw a year ago.
Worst-case scenario: A poor season by Aaron Rodgers’ standards is still better than probably 80 to 90% of the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL. Even in the worst circumstance, it’s difficult to envision being bettered by any other NFL quarterbacks other than Drew Brees or Tom Brady, and maybe Eli Manning. It’s certainly possible Rodgers throws more interceptions (six) and has a lower passer rating (122.5) than a season ago, and if that’s the case, that means the Packers, as a team, are probably also doing worse than last year too.
Best-case scenario: More than any statistical achievements, the highest honor Harrell can achieve is the trust of the coaching staff and his teammates. If he inspires confidence in the rest of the team, it will be a successful season for Harrell. Unless Rodgers is injured, Harrell will play sparingly this season, but his play during the preseason will be worthy of praise. He’ll lead the second-stringers on several touchdowns drives and protects the football by not throwing a single interception. If and when Harrell does play in the regular season, the Packers remain competitive.
Worst-case scenario: Harrell wilts under pressure during the exhibition season. He throws more interceptions than touchdowns in the preseason, and does little to ease convince anyone that the Packers are in good hands should anything happen to Rodgers. Harrell performs poorly enough that there’s speculation the Packers should acquire a veteran quarterback to back up Rodgers, but they never actually do. By the end of the season, B.J. Coleman overtakes Harrell on depth chart.
Best-case scenario: Coleman performs so well during training camp and the exhibition season that he forces the Packers to keep him on the 53-man roster rather than risk cutting him and trying to stash him on their practice squad. The Packers make Harrell the No. 2 quarterback by default, but by the end of the season, it’s clear that Coleman is more talented and leapfrogs to become the eventual second-string QB.
Worst-case scenario: Throughout the course of the preseason, it’s clear that Coleman isn’t ready for primetime. It’s too early to give up on him, but the Packers aren’t about to keep a third-string quarterback on their 53-man roster and instead groom Coleman on the practice squad. Coleman’s uninspiring performance will have the Packers looking for competition for him next year.