Twitter was hot and bothered this morning after Domonique Foxworth said Aaron Rodgers is no longer one of the eight best quarterbacks in the NFL on Get Up. On its face, that sounds outrageous, but if you look closer, it's quite accurate.
Mike Greenberg pointed out some may differ when listing the eight "playing the best" versus the actual "eight best." But I lean that it's pretty much the same thing, as long as you take a large enough sample size. 14 weeks of football this season qualifies as such.
With a new coach, and a running back playing at an All-Pro-level in Aaron Jones, Rodgers has not been close to peak-Aaron Rodgers-- which is a legendary, never-before-seen talent. Of course, his passer rating is impressive as he continues to rarely turn the ball over, but he only comes in at ninth in that category. His passing yards rank 11th with 3,260. Rodgers' 17th-ranked completion percentage (64.4) just barely trails Mitch Trubisky's (64.5) Yet Rodgers has thrown the eighth-most touchdowns (23) through 14 weeks.
The stats validate the eye-test: Rodgers has been a good, but not great quarterback for most of the season.
Rodgers has been flat-out bad in two out of his three last games. Like his team, he got demolished by the 49ers, throwing for only 104 yards in a 37-8 loss. And against the putrid Redskins, he looked lost as he notched his third game with less than 200 yards passing this season. In some Packers' wins, Rodgers took a backseat to his defense (Bears), running back (Panthers), and the refs (Lions).
Rodgers is certainly not in the top three anymore. Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson are all playing at a much higher level and appear superior to Rodgers overall. It does get more debatable after that, but the top five looks out of reach for Rodgers, too. Drew Brees has played with more energy, confidence, and efficiency all season long (although Brees has played in only eight games). Deshaun Watson, with a low-level coach, offensive line, and running back situation, has been far better in key moments than Rodgers. He's made more plays when it matters most and led the way in big wins against the Chiefs and Patriots. Right now, or moving forward, the younger and more exciting Watson is the pick over Rodgers.
Foxworth also listed Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins ahead of Rodgers. Come playoff time, those three aren't going to keep defensive coordinators up as late, but this season, they've all played the quarterback position better than Rodgers. Tannehill, oddly, is leading the Titans to victories and throwing the ball all over the field as one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league. Cousins has been phenomenal this season and is topping Rodgers in yards, passer rating (Rodgers' stat), touchdowns, QBR, and completion percentage. Prescott is also ahead of Rodgers in all those areas except passer rating, despite dealing with the drama-filled Cowboys led by Jason Garrett's fireable coaching.
Rodgers' current rank and the players that would be taken ahead of him this season doesn't hurt his legacy one bit. The wise bet, in 20 years, would be that Rodgers will be placed ahead of all active quarterbacks outside of Tom Brady in the unofficial all-time rankings. The same Brady who, by the way, is playing far worse than Rodgers this season and isn't even a top 10 quarterback right now.
Foxworth's statement sounds hot take-ish and dreadful, but it wasn't. Rodgers is a very good quarterback, he just hasn't played like the one we've all become accustomed to. Sure, Rodgers may yet be able to change our minds. However, as far as this season goes, he is laps behind where he once ranked in these discussions.