The Aaron Rodgers we witnessed in 2015 can be no more if the Green Bay Packers are to have success. Although we don’t have much visual proof of this yet, since Rodgers has only thrown nine passes in the preseason, all signs are pointing to the Rodgers-of-old returning in 2016. In fact, Rodgers is the early MVP favorite.
The return of his favorite target, Jordy Nelson, is the biggest factor in why Rodgers can return to his MVP form. Before missing the entire 2015 season with a knee injury, Nelson had been targeted on a whopping 278 passes from Rodgers in the previous two seasons. They’ve become one of the NFL’s elite duos. It is Nelson’s quickness and smooth route-running that leads to him being open more often than not. Number 87 had turned into Rodgers’ security blanket, and his absence was one catalyst in the Packers’ offensive struggles last season.
Nelson’s return is not the only reason Rodgers is primed for a big season. The revival of Eddie Lacy will provide the Packers with a legitimate threat on the ground to complement their aerial attack. Lacy’s weight has always been an issue, but after rocking some P90X in the offseason with Tony Horton, he’s in better shape, and that’s shown throughout the preseason.
Lacy has 114 rushing yards through three games. Much more importantly, he’s averaging a stout 5.7 yards per carry.
With a receiver who can beat press-man coverage and get open on the outside, plus the threat of a top-notch ground game, Rodgers has weapons again. He won’t have to do it all on his own in 2016. The changes will allow the two-time NFL MVP to revert back to the quarterback that we’ve become so accustomed to: an annual MVP candidate.