The Green Bay Packers enjoyed a prolific season offensively in 2021. Aaron Rodgers could seemingly do no wrong, torching opposing defenses leading to an MVP award by the end of the season.
The offense finished in the top 10 of total yards per game (fifth), passing yards per game (ninth), rushing yards per game (eighth), and points per game (first).
The good news is that the Packers are bringing almost every player back on offense outside of starting center Corey Linsley and backup running back Jamaal Williams. Even though most of the starters are returning, it’s going to be hard for the Packers to repeat that same success from 2020; there is bound to be some regression.
Here are three players that could regress statistically in the 2021 season.
TE Robert Tonyan
2020 stats: 52 receptions, 586 yards, 11 touchdowns
Tight end Robert Tonyan enjoyed a breakout year where he tied Travis Kelce for most touchdowns by a tight end but somehow didn’t earn Pro Bowl honors. He also had a career-high in receptions and receiving yards. He was Rodgers’ go-to guy in the red zone outside of Davante Adams. He was a highly productive player for the Packers in 2020.
Tonyan will be back in Green Bay in 2021, but I wouldn’t expect him to put up the numbers like he did last year. It would be hard enough to duplicate those numbers, but if Rodgers is not back and Jordan Love is running the offense, it’s highly unlikely that Tonyan will put up the same numbers. In fact, the whole offense will likely decline if Rodgers is gone.
RB Aaron Jones
2020 stats: 1,104 rushing yards, 47 receptions, 355 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns
Aaron Jones played very well last year. His 1,104 rushing yards were the fourth-most in the league in just 14 games. He played well enough to force Green Bay to pay some big money to keep him in Green Bay. Granted, he took a pay cut to come back to the Packers, but $12 million a year is still a lot for a running back.
He is losing his running mate in Jamaal Williams, who signed with the Detroit Lions this offseason, but I think AJ Dillon, who could be due for a breakout season, will end up producing more than Williams did. He complements Jones very well and could end up getting more snaps from Jones than Williams ever did.
In addition to Dillon likely taking a bigger role, rookie receiver Amari Rodgers could also affect Jones’ production. When Tyler Ervin went down with an injury last year, his role in the offense essentially disappeared. Now, Rodgers will likely have a role in the offense, likely in the slot and in Ervin’s role, taking carries or receptions away from Jones.
I think Jones could still have another solid season and be a major weapon in this offense, but there are only so many snaps to go around, and the more tread the Packers can leave on Jones’ tires, the better.
QB Aaron Rodgers
2020 stats: 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns, five interceptions, 121.5 QB rating
Aaron Rodgers had a season for the ages in 2020, winning the MVP award in a landslide. Topping what he did last season would be something the NFL has never seen before.
There is some reason to think that Rodgers could continue to improve, however. Rodgers has improved each of the last two years with Matt LaFleur as the head coach. In the third year with LaFleur, Rodgers will have this offense mastered.
On the opposite side of things, this situation between himself and the Packers could affect his performance in the upcoming season. Right now, I’m not going to be worried that he’s missed minicamps, but if he is absent from training camp, that’s another story. Less time to work with the team could affect his play early in the season.
No matter what happens with the Aaron Rodgers-Packers saga, Rodgers is bound to regress in 2021. He could still have a great season, but achieving what he did in 2020 would be crazy.