The Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson connection is the best in the NFL right now. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson: The NFL's best connection


NFL Network last night announced the number 11-20 selections for The Top 100 Players of 2014, resulting in, once again, some head-scratching and head shaking, especially when it came to the announcement that Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers was placed at numbr 11.

This ranking, put together by the players, has become the bane of many who follow the game, especially the media who are in tune with the National Football League.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Rankings don’t mean a whole hell of a lot as anyone who follows this game knows. As Packers fans, we’ve watched Aaron Rodgers through the years and understand his value to the franchise and to the league.

Whether Rodgers is the top-rated player, the eleventh-rated player or the 111th-rated player really doesn’t matter.

Whether Rodgers is the top-rated player, the eleventh-rated player or the 111th-rated player really doesn’t matter.

What matters is what happens between the lines on Sunday and the result of that action on the wins and losses.

However, we do have to at least consider what others are saying about Aaron Rodgers.

For instance, before the announcement last night, here’s what Chris Wesseling of NFL.com’s Around the league said:

Alone at the top: Aaron Rodgers
A surgeon as a passer and an escape artist in the pocket, Rodgers has been the NFL’s best player since the 2010 postseason began. Despite a porous defense and a slew of injuries to his receiving corps, he has won 77.5 percent of his games and a Super Bowl over that span. Unlike the rest of the elite quarterbacks, Rodgers remains at the height of his physical powers while still mastering the mental side of the game.

And here’s what Marc Sessler of NFL.com had to say following the announcement of Rodgers placing number 11:

No general manager on terra firma would pick 10 players ahead of Rodgers, but the players have ranked three running backs and a trio of quarterbacks ahead of a signal-caller with the highest career passing rating in NFL history.

The Top 100 is designed to name the game’s best players for this year – not last. Voters, though, clearly factored in the broken left collarbone that cost Rodgers seven games in 2013.
But as I said above, what really matters are the numbers – the wins and losses and the statistics that have followed Rodgers over the past 10 years.

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III are all following their own drummer. Some of these guys are headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with distingished careers that nobody can deny.

But let’s get back Aaron Rodgers.

I came across this interesting study the other day published in the Washington Post of all places.

The article argues that the best passing and receiving duo in the NFL these days is Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson – and they’ve got the numbers to back up their claim.

Here’s what Neil Greenberg, the author of this story, wrote:

“Since 2011, Aaron Rodgers has thrown to Jordy Nelson 224 times and has completed 158 of those passes (70.5 percent). They have produced 2,683 yards, 26 touchdowns, three interceptions for a passer rating of 143.9. Plus, they have needed eight yards on average for the first down and have moved the chains 51.3 percent of the time.

Those numbers exceed those put up by Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas.

Here’s the numbers the Denver teammates have put up:

From 2011 to 2013 Manning to Thomas resulted in 185 completions for 2,863 yards, 24 touchdowns, three interceptions and a first down 44.7 percent of the time for a passer rating of 123.0.

In fact, here is a graphic produced by Greenberg that shows just how effective the Rodgers-to-Nelson combination has been over the past three years.

QBWR-Combo-Passer-Rating-2011-to-2013

Considering that Rodgers and Nelson have grown up together in this league and both enter the 2014 season as somewhat grisled veterans, we can only assume that they will only get better.

Considering what they have done with the Packers through the past few years on a team that has been devastated by injuries, one has to consider that Rodgers and Nelson are the best at what they do, despite the rankings and lists that have been published in the past few years.

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson

  • JaKa

    Did you ever notice how writers from the East coast, except for maybe half from the New York area are the last to admit the Packers are doing great when things are on the upswing, and the first to downgrade them for things that caused a change in the teams regular performances, such as Rodgers being injured nearly half the season? Like last season, the team still made the playoffs, despite getting caught with their pants down, not having an adequate backup for Rodgers. So now, the team drops to number 11 on power rankings, and Rodgers going down to 11 too? Try to tell them there are not 10 quarterbacks with passer ratings over 100 in a season, yet Rodgers made it to 114 point something. Some of these guys are messing up their thinking somehow. I could see goint down to number 5 or even 7 with a surge from a few others, but there aren’t any coming close to the game numbers Rodgers puts up game after game. The one with the long name in SF, and Manning would be in Rodgers bracket, but not too many others, consistently for any amount of time.