* = starter; + = roster spot
* Aaron Rodgers
+ Brett Hundley
Last season was not at all the kind we have come to expect of Aaron Rodgers; he posted the lowest completion percentage (60.7%), yardage total (besides his injury-shortened 2013 season; 3,821) and yards per attempt (6.68), while also tying his career-high for fumbles (8). He was missing on throws that were usually routine, and after a surprising 6-0 start he had trouble dragging the team’s offense to their expected normal heights (21st in Weighted Offensive DVOA, as per Football Outsiders; their second-lowest in a full Rodgers season was 10th in 2008, his first season as starter).
Regardless of those struggles however, there is plenty of reason to expect a bounce-back from our favorite #12.
He should have his top receiver back in Jordy Nelson (a top-5 WR in 2014), his running game is expected to be more consistent with a fitter Eddie Lacy, his young stable of receivers behind Nelson should all be more experienced and prepared to handle their roles, and his line will (hopefully) stay more consistently healthy.
I’m far from the only source expecting a resurgence; Pro Football Focus — a site whose grading on Rodgers during last season consistently left much blame at his feet alone for the struggles of the offense, and also ended the year with him rated behind the likes of such sterling producers as Sam Bradford — came out strong, having him ranked as their #1 QB going into this season. Rankings from sources like (among others) Robert Mays of The Ringer, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports echo that thinking unequivocally, with many others putting him within the top three despite such an off year by his standards. If the players around him are able to bring something more along the lines of their expectations in 2016 than they managed in 2015, this should be an excellent season in the land of cheese.
Behind Rodgers, there is some question as to what should happen, but not much. Hundley has shown enough in his short career so far to have people excited about his potential, and is exactly the kind of young & talented prospect most teams covet to have on their roster in case something were to go wrong above them on the depth chart.
The only problem right now might be the ankle injury Hundley suffered. It isn’t something serious enough to threaten his own spot in the final 53, but it does make the team have to consider bringing on a third QB again.
Should they decide to do so, Callahan would be the pick. He’s shown a decent amount of positive signs throughout the preseason that he could be relied upon in an emergency. The decision to keep him will likely fall on Hundley’s ankle; if it is healthy enough and he has no limitations there isn’t a need for Callahan on the 53, but if Hundley is limited to start the year the team could be forced to keep Callahan over a more coveted option at a position elsewhere on the roster.
At this point, it appears Hundley shouldn’t be limited, so two quarterbacks is the way to lean in our expectations. Plus, Callahan can be placed on the practice squad and brought up later on if need be, and he’s more likely to not get picked up there or on waivers by other teams than some of the players at more loaded positions across this roster.