Cory's Corner: Best Aaron Rodgers Team Ever

This is the best Packers team that Aaron Rodgers has ever been on. 

It took me a second to digest that because Rodgers led the 2010 team that won every road playoff game en route to winning Super Bowl XLV. 

That team finished the regular season with a 10-6 record and a second place finish in the NFC North. That team had Brandon Jackson (703 yards) and Rodgers (356) that led the way in rushing and Greg Jennings (1,265), James Jones (679) and Donald Driver (565) that did the heavy lifting on the receiving end. It also had A.J. Hawk that led the team in tackles, Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Clay Matthews and Tramon Williams on defense. 

That’s a total of five Pro Bowlers — and Rodgers wasn’t one of them. 

But this year’s team is just better. And the reason is simply because they are more complete. They have proven that they can do more with less, in fact, Green Bay is arguably the best at overcoming obstacles and pitfalls of any team in the NFL. And now the Packers have to deal with Randall Cobb’s core injury that has him out until at least the postseason. 

The only reason that the Packers have five potential Pro Bowl players this year is because we have seen guys explode with an opportunity. Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in his sixth season is having the best year of his career and will return to face the Bears after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 30. Then there’s edge rusher Rashan Gary, who has arguably been the best Packers defensive player this year with 31 quarterback hurries and of course you cannot forget Kenny Clark. The sixth-year defensive lineman sees double teams nearly every play and he still leads the team with 38 hurries. 

The Packers defense has been very good even though their best cornerback, Jaire Alexander, has only played 28.6 of the defensive snaps and edge rusher  Za’Darius Smith has only played 2.3 percent. 

And then there’s the offensive line, which is why this team is where they are. All pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who became the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history when he signed in Nov. 2020, hasn’t seen the field coming back from an ACL tear last year and Swiss Army Knife Elgton Jenkins is lost for the season with an ACL tear. 

This team is better because they are the epitome of team. Nobody gave them a chance to beat Kansas City when Rodgers was out with COVID-19, but the defense kept it close even though the offense and special teams looked shaky. 

And here’s the scary part for opposing defenses: Aaron Jones had 15 or more carries nine times last year. He has tallied that number four times this season. The running game will be leaned on more in the next month, especially with Rodgers dealing with a bad toe. 

The Packers may not have as many individual award winners this year, but it’s apparent that they have all bought coach Matt LaFleur’s message. Which is completely the opposite of what is happening in Chicago with Matt Nagy — who may or may not be the head coach Monday morning. 

And that’s why I’m taking this team over the 2010 team. There is strength in numbers. This team has gotten career performances out of undrafted tackle Yosh Nijman and practice squad pickup Rasul Douglas. 

If you can win with those guys, what can’t you do? 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (48)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
HawkPacker's picture

December 11, 2021 at 06:37 am

You make some good points but I can't say that this is the best team. However, I can't say they aren't either. Maybe at the end of the season we can make that call.

Now look at all the players that have stepped it up after all of our injuries. Can you imagine if next year we had all of these guys and the injured players, we have this year, back next year? Too bad we have the Cap issues as we would be the best football team in the NFL by far.

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dobber's picture

December 11, 2021 at 09:07 am

"Maybe at the end of the season we can make that call."

That's the ticket.

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Bitternotsour's picture

December 11, 2021 at 02:00 pm

2014 would like a word. The Pack were the best team in football and on the precipice of the super bowl before Bostick.

That was the best team.

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CoachDino's picture

December 11, 2021 at 06:46 am

interesting take/discussion...also is comparing the rosters or whos now playing. yosh,runyan,patick,royce,turner vs 2010 let alone last year. id argue last years squad was better. they topped pff offense and were blowing teams out. imo, the d last year was good the tenn game through playoffs... other than cambell whats new on d? lost ja, z,. i like stokes and rasul but if arz rec makes the easy catch rasul goes from hero to goat. one could say that gute put together a better roster, but due to inj the teams suiting up havent been. how about the team that went 15-1

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croatpackfan's picture

December 11, 2021 at 01:08 pm

My opinion is that the best Packers team in AR era was 2014 squad. Losing NFCCG was completely on 3 factors:

1. Most impotant - bad ST. Not only because of onside kick (Branbon Bostick I'm looking at you), but also because 1st Seattle TD in the game.

2. Bad play of offense.

3. Bad play calling at the last 3 possesion in the regular game time.

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Houndog's picture

December 11, 2021 at 07:06 am

I don't know, Cory.
That 2010 Team also had B.J Raji, Desmond Bishop, Cullen Jenkins, and Ryan 'Spill It' Pickett. Howard Greene was a late addition that made some waves. This is not to say today's guys aren't as good, and your "Team" perspective of this group is accurate and evident, 'next man up'!
The biggest similarity might be the rash of injuries that both teams had to deal with, and how the D-Backs stepped up when some of those injuries occurred. Bishop replacing Barnett was another big factor, Bishop was the proverbial 'Thumper'.
The fact that young guys have stepped up now, as it was in 'O-Ten, is another similarity and a credit to the coaching staff and front office. Tramon Williams was a rising star back then, today it's Stokes, Campbell has replaced Bishop, Kenny Clark is the new Pickett, and the list goes on, but I don't see another Clay Matthews, and he was a big part of it.
I like and believe in this team, and if they can do it I'll be thrilled, but until then I'll be doing the same as I was in 2010, biting my tongue and lip, and keeping my fingers crossed.

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barutanseijin's picture

December 11, 2021 at 09:00 am

The biggest difference is Woodson. The 2010 team had a HoFer on both sides of the ball.

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Houndog's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:12 am

barutanseijin,
I didn't bring up Woodson for two reasons, first because Cory had mentioned him, and secondly because I thought it went without saying, "without Woodson, they'd have never been there". Period, Nuf Said!

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croatpackfan's picture

December 11, 2021 at 01:10 pm

Rashan Gary > Clay Matthews...

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Nate-1980's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:36 pm

In what world is that even close to being true Croat? Gary hasn’t proved anything yet, Mathew’s had multiple seasons of double digit sacks..Wow

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Alphadork's picture

December 12, 2021 at 05:43 pm

Howard Greene was a late addition *WHO* made some waves

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 11, 2021 at 07:27 am

This O-line is not the same without Jenkins and Myers. The IOL is a problem. The Packers are dealing with it, but they are definitely not a reason to call this the "best" Rodgers-led team. I think teams have been exploiting this group, and with Jenkins out the odds of them getting better this season are not good. Your Super Bowl IOL starters were Wells, Sitton and Lang. Two of those guys were damn good guards. The 2010 OL had some major injury challenges too, especially at LT, but I have to give it to that squad.

The running back group is miles ahead of 2010, no doubt. The receivers, not so much. As great as DA is, I'd take the 2010 group over this group any day and twice on Sundays. Cobb, Driver, Jennings, Jones and Nelson? Yes, please. Even if, and I mean IF, MVS, Lazard and EQ pan out this year (or ever) they are not and were not equal to that group top to bottom, and certainly will never be all that while all or most are wearing the Green and Gold. Oh yeah, and your TEs were Finley and Crabby. That team had receiving talent pouring out of it like sweat off a pig in New Orleans on the 4th of July.

On the defensive side of the ball you had BJ Raji, a man whom Packers fans still today try to re-draft to play all 22 positions. Nuf said right there. Seriously, I'd give the edge to this DB group over that group of SB starters, which is just as good as that group was (as a whole) and realistically could be better if Ja is back for the playoffs. I'd call that one a push.

So overall, interesting idea. Pretty sure I don't agree with it. I'm sure I'd swap that offense for this one. They dropped 24 on the vaunted Steelers defense in the Super Bowl (7 points off a pick-6). They blew Atlanta out of their own building with 48 points.

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NickPerry's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:09 am

Just FYI Mark...Daryn Colledge was the starting LG on that 2010 team but Wells and Sitton were part of it. TJ Lang wasn't a starter until the next year in 2011.

Other than that I agree with much of what you said. Thumbs up by me!

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Since'61's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:33 am

Also, Cobb was not on the 2010 team. He was drafted in 2011. Thanks, Since ‘61

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:38 pm

Good points. Got lost in my links.

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Guam's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:29 am

Solid rebuttal MinM! I think the author got a bit ahead of himself on this one. The 2010 team won a SB, this team has won 9 games so far. Let's see what the rest of the season brings.

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porupack's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:26 am

Hard to say at the 3/4 mark of the season. Without injuries it would have been superiour...but we now have to judge going forward and project for placeholders such as JAlexander, Bahktiari and ZSmith, and the Center, Myers. DA tops Jennings, but overall the WR and TE depth is less than 2010. Oline minus Jenkins is now weaker. The defense is better talent wise, if/when JA and Z are back with no real weaknesses or weak position groups. I'd say its pretty much a wash at this point in time. Just like in 2010, the stars didn't really prove themselves to be stars until Christmas lights started to go up. Now is the month when stars are born.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:34 am

It’s a good team, but we’ve had other good teams. More than anything, the question is whether Rodgers can lead us to the top.

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Since'61's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:42 am

Rodgers can and has lead us to the top.
In every NFCCG loss the defense has failed the team miserably. Allowing an average of 36 PPG in the 4 NFCCG defeats.

This is the season where our defense may not only be the difference they can actually lead the team to victory.

GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

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croatpackfan's picture

December 11, 2021 at 01:15 pm

As I remember correctly, AR ha lowest QBR of his career in the NFCCGs, excluding pre SB win (2010).

2014 NFCCG - D gave the offense 5 TO. How many points went on that turn overs?

And you are calling D?

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Leatherhead's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:24 pm

Since 61, this is a bad narrative. The 2014 team played very good defense in the Championship game, but the league’s top offense didn’t show up.

2016 we had a lot of injury issues amongDBs and WRs. I blame no one. Rodgers played great down the stretch.

2019 we got beat soundly on both sides.

2020 Two turnovers led directly to 14 points. And we scored under our season average. Once again, the league’s leading offense didn’t show up, failing to convert 3 turnovers into points and failing in the red zone.

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Since'61's picture

December 11, 2021 at 05:32 pm

It may be a bad narrative but it is an accurate and sad narrative.
2014 NFCCG - yes, the defense did play well until there was less than 4 minutes to play and the Packers had a 12 point lead with under 4 minutes to play. Then in less than 2 minutes of running time the defense allowed 15 points on 2 TDs and a 2 point conversion. Rodgers countered with a game tying FG to send the game to OT and the defense promptly and easily surrendered the game winning TD on Seattle’s opening OT possession. The defense gave up 3 TDs on Seattle’s final 3 possessions.
To be fair, Rodgers played the game on one leg, on the road against the defending SB champs and the league’s #1 defense but I will contend that if Rodgers was healthy he would have run for a few first downs to keep drives alive and possibly score more points. Also that game was the beginning of the of Lacy’s career in GB as he failed miserably in scoring attempts early in the game.
To those who blame Rodgers and or the offense for that I guarantee that if you were assured that we would have 16 point lead on the road in Seattle with injured Aaron Rodgers you would have signed up for it immediately. You would have signed on for a 12 point lead with less than 4 minutes to play. So to say in retrospect that it was the offense fault is not only unfair it is mandacity.
2016 NFCCG I agree is no one’s fault except the idiocy of NFL scheduling. The NFCCG against Atlanta was the Packers 16th consecutive game without a bye. The league should never allow that situation to happen for a championship game. I have posted for years that to be fair to all teams all of the byes should be scheduled during weeks 7-9, unless they add a 2nd bye week as they expand the schedule. No team should be required to play 10-12 or more consecutive games while their opponents play 7-9 games consecutively. It’s just not fair.
2019 our defense was blown off the field for 285 rushing yards by a 3 rd string RB. On offense our OL was manhandled. End of story.
2020 - the Packers offense lost the LOS and our defense allowed 2 easy TDs. Yes the turnovers hurt but that is when the defense needs to step up and make stops. The offense cannot be expected to make up for their mistakes and the defense allowing easy TDs. When you allow 36 PPGs you are going to lose most but especially championship games because the opponent’s defense is not going to be as bad as the Packers defense has been. Put Rodgers on any of the teams who we lost to in the NFCCGs against the Packers defense and he wins every game. Maybe, finally, this is the defense that contributes and carries us to victory.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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jurp's picture

December 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

I was with you until last year. Yes, the D needs to make stops, but that's really, really hard when the opposing team gets the ball in the red zone from a turnover. That TD I blame entirely on the offense. The fact that the offense did absolutely nothing with three turnovers is on them, not the defense.

The O shat the bed last year, not the D.

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Since'61's picture

December 12, 2021 at 06:32 pm

jurp the offense scored a TD after the first pick. They drove from their own 32 to a TD. The problems were the next two picks that they did nothing with. But that also makes my point about defense. The Bucs defense made stops following turnovers, the Packers defense did not. They could have made a stand to hold the Bucs to an FG after the Jones fumble.

Also, the Packers started inside their own 20 after the 2nd and 3rd picks. That's a long way to go against the Tampa D especially without Aaron Jones. Having said that our OL did not play well against the Bucs. They allowed 5 sacks and 8 QB hits. They also were not very effective in the ground game. So yes, the offense has their share of the blame for the loss to Tampa. But the Tampa game was lost in the pre-game preparation and the in game coaching decisions. The Bucs were better prepared especially on defense and the Packers coaching made some questionable, at best, in game decisions, including leaving an injured King in one on one coverage twice in the first half. Thanks, Since '61

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 11, 2021 at 02:04 pm

Be careful '61. Mentioning anything critical of GB's defense or WRs, however warranted, and you risk incurring the wrath of a certain "run more pass less" poster on here.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 11, 2021 at 02:26 pm

You can’t help yourself. It’s a characteristic of your mental illness that you’d rather post about me than the team. Obsession.

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NickPerry's picture

December 11, 2021 at 08:49 am

While to 2010 team didn't have a Davante Adams, not really, the WR Corps was far superior to the Packers current group. In 2010, before I couldn't stand Greg Jennings, I actually loved that dude when he stepped on the field. Not only did he make some amazing catches in SB45, he was HUGE week 17 with 2 different catches to get the Packers in scoring position. The first one a deep pass down the sideline to set up a FG and the 2nd on a beautiful catch and run to set up a Rodgers to Donald Lee TD pass and a 10-3 win to get the Packers in the playoffs.

Driver was getting pretty old but DD was still a huge part of that team and in he WR room. James Jones had his issues with Drops, but KILLED Atlanta in the Divisional playoff game. Jordy had his coming out party...Literally...In SB45.

On Defense there's ONLY ONE Charles Woodson. Woodson was and will always be one of my favorite Packer players. I only wish the Packers would have kept him in GB instead of letting him walk and go to Oakland. Nobody will ever convince me either Morgan Burnett OR MD Jennings was a better option...EVER!

I was a HUGE Nick Collins fan. Collins has GREAT ball skills, was SO fast, and IMO without a doubt would have been a HOF player had he not been injured. Neither Amos or Savage are Collins, but between the two of them, especially with the way Smash is playing now, the Packers have a DAMN fine group of Safeties.

Call me crazy but I'd take the combination of Preston and Gary over Matthews and Waldon/Zombo, especially if Z is able to make it back for the Playoffs. Campbell is right there with Bishop. He's faster and better in coverage than Bishop was but Bishop was more of a thumper and a better blitzer.

I Like this coaching staff better than that group too. Now I'm not a MM basher and I for one APPRECIATE what McCarthy did while he was here. McCarthys problem was he stayed a few years too long and when he was on point, he had a GM who just wouldn't use Free Agency. I will go to my grave wondering what might have been had Ted used Free Agency, ESPECIALLY in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

EDIT...Also, Mike McCarthy's #1 defect was loyalty. While it's an admirable trait, it doesn't always work in the coaching business. Yes, I'm looking at you Capers and Slocum...UGH!!!

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dobber's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:22 am

"I was a HUGE Nick Collins fan."

I can't help but wonder that if Collins (who even now is "just" 38 years old) hadn't gotten hurt, how his steadying and playmaking influence would have made a difference in the intervening years.

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HawkPacker's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:10 am

Yes, Collins was a stud and I would bet we all think of him at times during the season. I know that I do.

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NickPerry's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:26 pm

Great point dobber, especially in 2011, 2014, and even last year had he played that long. IMO Collins was one of those players that would have been able to play for years he was that good.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:39 pm

Take 2012, our first year without him. I think it would have been nice to have him, but I don’t think he changes the result of our playoff loss @SF. Do you?

In 2013 , we lost Rodgers AND Cobb for half the season, made the playoffs, then lost AT HOME on a day when we only scored about 20. Does Collins change that

In 2014, I don’t think he’d have been on the field during the fake punt or Bosticks Boner, the two biggest plays . He might have prevented the 2 point conversion.

So, he would have helped, but I’m not sure anything changes. Maybe the Seattle game ends differently.

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jurp's picture

December 12, 2021 at 10:04 am

You're being a bit myopic. To pick 2014, perhaps Collins prevents a loss or two during the season and the NFCCG is in GB, not Seattle. In that case, he would certainly have made a difference. No way to tell, of course, so the whole discussion is really a waste of time.

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Since'61's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:15 pm

Dobber I’m confident that if Collins and Woodson were still playing for the Packers in 2014 that we would have won the Seattle game and the SB that year. Thanks, Since ‘61

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barutanseijin's picture

December 11, 2021 at 09:09 am

They’ll go as far as the patchwork OL takes them. Teams with strong line play have been their kryptonite in the playoffs. The 2010 OL was more solid and less beat up.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 11, 2021 at 09:40 am

There is a lot to like about the resiliency of the 2021 Packers, however way too early to make such a bold prediction. Will say with a healthy Tonyan, Jenkins, Jaire, Za'Darius, and Bachtiari I think Cory might be spot on. This team is solid top to bottom but I fear any team with a dominating front 7 on defense. How many times in the past 18 years have we been knocked out of the playoffs because the opponent has a dominant front defensive line and linebackers? Tampa still has that dominant defense.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:22 am

We can beat Tampa, but Bahk and Jaire need to be playing, and hopefully Z, and Rodgers has to be outstanding.

Brady came out last week and threw over 50 passes. He has the O-line and the receivers to do it. They'll likely do the same against us. Expecting Stokes, King, Rasul, and Sullivan to stay with Godwin, Evans, AB., and Gronk is almost impossible. Hell, their 5th receiver, Scotty Miller, burned us last year.

We need to win big in time of possession to keep their offense off the field.

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Nate-1980's picture

December 11, 2021 at 03:53 pm

Ab is suspended for actually lying about covid..

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JohnnyLogan's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:07 am

Mathews and Woodson were essentially playing not at Pro-Bowl but at a Hall of Fame level. Collins was close to that. Woodson and Mathews were so much better than anything we have now that even with this year's improved defense there is no comparison. If Jaire doesn't come back for the playoffs I don't see how we cover the Tampa Bay receivers. It's likely to be deja vu all over again.

On offense, that team was also far superior. Davante is great, but Jordy was a superstar as well. Add in Jennings, Driver, and Jones, and the only equivalent receiving corps I can see is in Tampa Bay right now. MVS and Lazard wouldn't make the practice squad on the 2010 team. We may not like to admit it but this year's team is struggling on offense even with the two great backs. The offensive line right now isn't really very good and not opening holes. The lack of #2 receiver is a killer.

The depth, the heart, and the coaching of the current team is outstanding, but the 2010 team would beat this team 9 out of 10 times.

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Houndog's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:17 am

Johnny,
Even if Jaire comes back it'd be great, and a big help, if Bruce Arians keeps his word "one mistake and he's gone" and dumps Antonio Brown.

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PhantomII's picture

December 11, 2021 at 10:45 am

2010 WR's were much better, DL much better, Secondary better, OL better. 2021 OLB slightly better, RB's much better, TE better. Coach Better at game planning players open. Team has not came close to their best game yet, which is a plus with their record.

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stockholder's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:13 am

Can't beat the secondary of 2010. Not to mention Raji and the rest of that DL. I feel 2010 was still better. The current packers are in a weak division. Plain and simple. Rodgers has aged like fine whine. And too many other comparisons, are to "miss - fit". toys.

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dobber's picture

December 11, 2021 at 02:29 pm

"The current packers are in a weak division. Plain and simple. "

What does that have to do with anything? Win your games. Get better seeding and home playoff games. It's a formula that worked for a certain AFCE team for years.

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jurp's picture

December 12, 2021 at 10:06 am

Love the Freudian slip about how Rodgers is aging. Finally, something I can agree with you about.

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Since'61's picture

December 11, 2021 at 11:54 am

The defense, the OL, the WRs and even Rodgers were all better in 2010. That team was at the beginning of a 19-0 run which extended deep into 2011. Although with the losses of Collins, Jenkins, and Bishop the defense began it’s decline which was allowed to continue until the current season.

The current defense has played well but during the last 2 games prior to the bye week they began to allow a few easy TDs. That needs to stop. If we get Alexander back that will be a big help on that issue.

Bottom line until we can see a healthy version of this team it will be difficult to make an fair comparison. GPG!
Thanks, Since ‘61

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THESZOTMAN1's picture

December 11, 2021 at 01:03 pm

I won't attempt to engage the experts above on the greatest AR12 coached team.
But there is one measure in which this team tops them all: Resourcefulness.
The Szotman

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Starrbrite's picture

December 12, 2021 at 01:38 am

I thought the loss of Collins (and Tim Lewis years earlier), were two of the most devastating injury losses in Packers history. Collins was to the Packers what Ronnie Lott was to the 9’rs. The Sterling Sharpe injury hurt too, although we recovered. In light of the soiled play by Amos, Savage, et al., we never adequately recovered from losing Collins. And I agree with’61, if we had had Collins and Woodson together, we win an additional SB.
A potential future article might be, what are the most devastating injury losses in Packer history?

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marpag1's picture

December 12, 2021 at 02:19 am

Talk to me after the super bowl, because there's no sense in debating this until then. A good team is judged by its accomplishments, not by unrealized potential.

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Alphadork's picture

December 12, 2021 at 05:42 pm

Nice thoughts. Just have to point out that while it's proper to refer to a team as "that" - it's not proper to refer to human individuals as "that." One should use "who" - so, for example this sentence should read "That team had Brandon Jackson (703 yards) and Rodgers (356) *WHO* led the way in rushing ..." and so forth. Carry on.

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