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Rodgers comes in at #1 QB in sixth annual Quarterback Tiers survey

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Rodgers comes in at #1 QB in sixth annual Quarterback Tiers survey

A Tier 1 quarterback can carry his team each week. The team wins because of him. He expertly handles pure passing situations.

That's the tier personnel people voted to put Aaron Rodgers in the sixth annual Quarterback Tiers survey as compiled by Mike Sando (formerly of ESPN, now writing for The Athletic)

From Sando

Fifty-five NFL coaches and executives contributed to the survey this year by placing all veteran starting quarterbacks into one of five tiers and then offering insights into their thinking.

Tier 1 is reserved for the best, while Tier 5 is so poor that no starters received a majority of votes in that tier this year.

Once ballots were in, I averaged the results to create a ranking. The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers commanded 53 Tier 1 votes and two Tier 2 votes, creating a 1.04 average that narrowly landed him atop the rankings despite a tumultuous 2018 season, generating a rich, lively discussion among voters. By proceeding past this introduction, you’ll enjoy a front-row seat for some of the most candid discussions among those voters — not just for Rodgers, but for all quarterbacks.

The rankings are not gospel. No single voter agrees with the final results exactly. There are quarterbacks I’d move higher or lower if filling out my own ballot. This is a composite look at what the league thinks of its quarterbacks and why.

Here's what the personnel folks had to say about Rodgers:

Rodgers has at least tied for the top spot six times in six years of QB Tiers balloting, but some voters were less enthusiastic this time around. Two even placed Rodgers in the second tier, the first time Rodgers received a second-tier vote since 2014, when he was coming off an injury.

“It was always Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy’s fault, and when it gets to be two people’s fault, then you wonder,” a GM who nonetheless placed Rodgers in the top tier said. “You see the body language and then you realize the heroics come when there is nothing to lose.”

Those most critical of Rodgers raised concerns about him becoming less coachable, going for big plays instead of running the offense, failing to get Green Bay into the playoffs and losing some dynamism through cumulative injuries.

“Guys like Rodgers get canonized and put on a pedestal so high that it’s hard for the coach to keep up,” said a coach who placed Rodgers in the top tier. “Someone has to tell him, ‘Listen, if you do that again, I’m going to kick you right in the balls.”

A different coach had a different message for Rodgers: “Please, come to my team!”

The coach who thought legendary QBs sometimes need a figurative kick below the belt thought Brett Favre missed that type of hard coaching later in his career. Another veteran coach saw similarities among Rodgers, Dan Marino and Tony Romo later in their careers, suggesting all three became tougher to coach.

“Rodgers is a stud,” a veteran defensive coordinator pushed back. “That’s a bitch right there. It is never dead with Rodgers. He has eyes in the back of his head. Special.”

Another voter explained that “since we do not know what plays are called and we do not know what his audible ability is from the outside, I’m looking at this as who do you want on your team and who is hardest to defend by your definitions? Rodgers comes out tops on both.”

Another Rodgers defender said he charted all the catchable passes Rodgers delivered that were not caught through the bulk of last season. His conclusion: Rodgers’ incomplete passes were better than a lot of starters’ highlights.

“Debating whether Rodgers is in the top tier is the equivalent of asking whether LeBron James is the best basketball player,” a defensive backs coach said, “because he is just so gifted with some of his abilities, and there is no way you can say a Matt Ryan is better even though there could be some years statistically where a case can be made.”

The Packers obviously could have done more to support Rodgers. Some voters also thought Green Bay would benefit from offensive scheme changes.

“Rodgers is the only one that can do everything with the least talent,” a different defensive coordinator said. “Brady makes Tier 1 decisions but cannot carry the team in the same way. New England has the system and the running game. Put all the other quarterbacks on that (Packers) team and who do you think would succeed? Not many.”

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Pierre's picture

Can you say overrated? Rodgers has a record of 39-43 on road games over his career, which means for the elite money he’s paid...his talent as the leader of the GB offense, has not translated to consistent winning or Super Bowl appearances and wins. The excuses about other weak areas of Packers’ teams year after year holding them back is nauseating to hear...while not looking at Rodgers poor QB play as problematic. He holds the ball too long waiting for plays to develop (which is why he gets sacked so’s not always on the Oline) and then throws the ball out of bounds at a rate higher than even 1st year QBs!

For all the accolades he receives you’d think he’d won at least 3-4 Super Bowls in 13 years. Time to get this team in the SB this year Mr. Rodgers, or it’s time this organization looks to move on. Packers can have losing seasons with a QB paid a lot less than what Rodgers is collecting. Forget all the other stats, winning is what counts in the NFL...and championships are what should count in Green Bay...which used to be known as Titletown. That distinction now lies with a team in the Northeast over the past 15 years.

AdamMPrice's picture

He hasn’t had quality defensive help since ‘11..

Rak47's picture

Yes and you know what you're talking about while all the coaches and GM's who think he's the best......well they know nothing, right? I guess Peyton Manning wasn't very good to you either since he didn't win 3-4 SB's in his 17 years in the NFL with a 14-13 record in the playoffs. And he only won 1 SB in 14 years with the Colts. In reality you're talking nonsense.

Christian Roussel's picture

Did he had a bad year last year? absolutely. If you ask me, he was trying to get his coach fired. Good thing to do? Maybe not. But at the same time, as a franchise player he tried to talk to the front office and they told him that he was paid to make decisions on the field and they showed him the door. So the only thing left was to expose Mccarthy. Sidney Crosby did the exact same thing in hockey in 2015, and nobody thinks he's evil. Rodgers looked as an MVP at the start of 2017 (before the collarbone). I would strongly suggest that you go back and check the rosters of the 2015 and 2016 seasons where they went to the playoffs. 4-12 teams at best. Compare that to the rosters of the QB's that you think are better than AR because they have more wins and then, think again.

murf7777's picture

It might've looked like he was trying to get MM fired, but I highly doubt that was his intent. I think it had more to do with his injuries he was playing thru and defenses playing him differently due to lack of running and rookie WR's that were covered off the line of scrimmage far too long. Better scheming probably would've helped. With the speed of the defenses today you only have two seconds to make a decision and throw the ball or your running for your life. That's what makes Brady so good, the offense is designed around quick timing routes and he is one of the best at getting rid of the ball quickly.

I supported TT and MM for a long while because I thought other then the last two years they did a great job, but I also felt it was time for a change after watching them play over the past two years. Exciting times for sure!

porupack's picture

Bear in mind, Brady and his minions can rack up a lot of stats against Buffies and the Jetties and the Dolphies….while running 6 scrimmages throughout each season over the last 2 decades. Well, NFC-N had Detro. :-)

Since '61's picture

Pierre - Are you the last of the Luddites?! Thanks, Since ‘61

Samson's picture

Another Luddite sighting!!
'61 --- No, Pierre is just another common troll.

WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

A term like overrated means zero unless you define who is doing the rating. Rodgers maintains the all-time career best passer rating despite coming off 2 down seasons.

Gb would never have gotten as far as they did many of those playoff seasons without Rodgers heroics. How many overtime playoff losses were there in his career? And how many of those were lost when the D couldn't stop the other team from scoring after GB lost the coin toss. Harder to have playoff heroics when you don't see the field in OT.

Packers2019's picture


While you have some valid points with AR holding the ball too long at times, you are completely clueless in all other aspects. Go back and look at the article on this site that analyzed AR's throw away last year. You will find that 90% of them were not his issue. It was more because WR's were not open, were not in the right place, or he had pressure before he could even breathe. Oh, and he was playing on a fractured leg.

As far as SB titles, let's look at that. Since AR has been a starter, our defense has given up an average of 34 points per game in playoff games. Do you know what Tom Brady's Defense has given up on average in that same time frame? 21 points per game. No defense for the last 8 years as well as before the SB year in 2010.

Am I saying AR is perfect. Absolutely not. But maybe you should check your facts before you spout off about possibly the best QB in our generation.

Jonathan Spader's picture

“Guys like Rodgers get canonized and put on a pedestal so high that it’s hard for the coach to keep up,” said a coach who placed Rodgers in the top tier. “Someone has to tell him, ‘Listen, if you do that again, I’m going to kick you right in the balls.”

How is a man woth a torn ACL supposed to kick Rodgers in the balls? I'd rather see Rodgers kick Pierre in the balls. Good thing Rodgers has pin point accuracy. Can you say unappreciative?

AdamMPrice's picture

I’d just like to see him take more chances this season. I don’t want him to lead the league in throw-aways again. We should have the defense, again finally, to make interceptions matter less anyways...

Samson's picture

According to the new regime, most of those throw-aways will end up being simple hand-offs to the RB or swing passes to the RB or quick outs to a wide open WR.

Lare's picture

You can't just judge a football player on the success of the team. Football is a team sport. You can take a great QB and he won't win with inferior coaching and talent around him.

Case in point- how many Super Bowls did Dan Marino win?

Coldworld's picture

Thinking exactly the same thing.

Johnblood27's picture

So, you are saying that Don Shula was a sub par coach?

Were you around to see the Don Shula years?

How many Dolphins games did you watch when Marino was playing?

I live in Fla all of those years well before the NFL sunday ticket and well before the TB Bucs as well as the johnny come lately Jags. The phins were the only show on tv and I was a football junkie even as a Packer fan I watched.

Put down the statistics sheets and pull up some old video and see what actually happened on the field before you throw judgements around based on some ink on a piece of paper.

Samson's picture

So you're saying "football is NOT a team sport"?
Find one other person to agree with you & then there'll be two of you.

fastmoving's picture

For some guys its only a team sport when we lose. If we win its just because of AR because he can walk over water. But he was not that big since a couple of years and besides that magical run, as he was the best on the planet by far, he has only 3 playoff season, where you can argue that he carried the Pack on his shoulders

marpag1's picture

Judging any QB on the basis of "multiple super bowl wins" is just dumb. In the entire history of the NFL, only 12 QBs have won multiple super bowls. Of those 12, only 3 are playing today. Two of those 3 are Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Does anybody think that the Packers would have been better off having Roethlisberger or Eli Manning instead of Aaron Rodgers?

Pierre's picture

There’s no way Rodgers should not have lead the Packers’ offense to beat Seattle in that championship game, being up 16-0...with four defensive turnovers by his defense in the first half...and at least gotten the Packers to another Super Bowl that season. With four turnovers in the opponent’s territory that’s a game any decent QB should win and get into the SB. His defense kept giving him the ball in great field position yet he could not convert TDs in the first half nor could he keep a 16-0 lead in the second half. That’s a game the defense played great in but Rodgers did not capitalize on it with a Super Bowl on the line. Not clutch at all in that most memorable and disastrous game for Green Bay.

Spock's picture

"There’s no way Rodgers should not have lead the Packers’ offense to beat Seattle in that championship game..." Pierre that would be true if Rodgers had had two working legs that day. It was heartbreaking as a fan to watch him see a wide open space to run to with his receivers blanketed and then you could see him make the decision to not run, knowing he wouldn't be able to elude even late defenders. Had Rodgers been healthy the Packers would have smashed Seattle; Wilsons' QB rating at the half was 0.0. Let me repeat that: 0.0. A mobile Rodgers would have been scoring TD's, not just field goals, and the game would have been out of reach before the ineptness of the special teams could become the disaster it turned the scoring into. Wilson got the MVP for that game-what a travesty.

Since '61's picture

Spot on Spock. I’ve said from the beginning that if Rodgers was 100% that day the Packers win that game easily. Rodgers would have run for at least 2-3 first downs during that game which would have kept drives alive and scored at least 2 more FGs. More importantly more time would have been squeezed off the clock preventing Seattle from having the time to make their comeback.

MM and the Packers have yet to recover from that game. Until Now with a clean slate on the coaching staff and a revised defense we have a chance to move forward again. Thanks, Since ‘61

Old School's picture

This reinforces my point about having a healthy Rodgers at the end of the season being a big advantage, but that we've got to reduce all the hits that bang you up.

Run more throw less. It'll shrink his stats, of course, but he'll feel better in December.

porupack's picture

wah? Did you Mr. Pierre see all the comedy of errors in the last 2 minutes of that Seattle game? None of the culprits were named Rodgers. And the culprits almost looked like they were determined to lose the game for GB. Even then, it took a perfect storm of 4 of those egregious mistakes to lose that game that was practically won up to the last 5 minutes.
If you really want to blame any single person for failure, then, like most of corporate (and sports America) believes; you go to the top, and hold the boss accountable for leadership and preparation (er lack) to get the job done.

fastmoving's picture

even he was on one leg, he left some on the field. There was a hurt CB and some chances…..

murf7777's picture

Pierre, do you realize that it takes two to tango, meaning there is also a defense to go thru. Seattle at the time had one of the greatest D’s, probably top 5 over the past 50 years. There isn’t a QB in the history that didn’t fear that D. So, to basically say Arod and the team should be able to go thru them like melted butter is hogwash. That game was lost due to multiple TEAM errors, not Arod.

Old School's picture

Rodgers is pretty good. He has the highest regular season career passer rating of all time. There's never been a QB as careful with the ball as he is, and subjectively, I've never seen a guy throw downfield better than him.

So yeah, pretty good. But you've got to put a team around him that can win without a big performance by their QB every week.

Look at the stats over the last 4 year: Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Cousins, Mahomes, Ryan...these are the best of the bunch.

IceBowl's picture

This cannot be possible. ARod is a malcontent. He dumps the coaches plays. He hangs on to the ball too long. He doesn't throw to open receivers. He waits until a deep play opens up.

Come on, I've read it here a 100 times.

Old School's picture

Every thing you said is true. He's good, not perfect. He does hang onto the ball and not see open guys some times. You get the bad with the good. He's been one of the top guys over the last 4 years.

Old School's picture


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