- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2020

Perhaps there were subtle signs here and there, something that signaled to Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst that it was time to draft Aaron Rodgers’ heir apparent.

It could’ve stemmed from Rodgers’ passer rating, which dipped below 100 for three consecutive seasons. Or maybe Gutekunst just saw the opportunity for Rodgers to groom a young quarterback into the next Green Bay great, like Brett Favre did for Rodgers — despite that initially being an icy relationship.

Whatever the cause, Gutekunst and the Packers selected Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. But Love’s time hasn’t yet arrived. And it might not for quite some time with the way Rodgers is playing so far in 2020.

In Green Bay’s 41-25 win Sunday night against Chicago, Rodgers again compiled an MVP-caliber stat line, throwing for four touchdowns and earning a passer rating of 132.3 — his 10th game this season with a rating in the triple digits. He only needed 211 passing yards to beat the Bears, but that total made him the 11th quarterback to surpass 50,000 passing yards in his career.

Rodgers has led the Packers to an 8-3 record, distributing the ball around the field — especially to Davante Adams — in a resurgent campaign.

“This is as good as I’ve ever seen anybody play,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said, according to The Athletic. “Just his ability to go out there and get us in the right looks and, shoot, even when I make a bad call, he definitely makes us look good. So that’s a credit to him. In my eyes, he’s an MVP player. No doubt about it. And I wouldn’t want any other quarterback on our football team.”

With how meager the Bears’ pass rush was Sunday night, Rodgers had time to sit in the pocket. He could work through his progressions, and that patience led to big results.

On his first touchdown pass, Rodgers sat in the pocket for over six seconds. Adams worked his way through Chicago’s secondary, and Rodgers fired his way for a 12-yard score. Later, Rodgers found Allen Lazard for a short-yardage score after seeing his first two options blanketed in coverage. And the 37-year-old’s final touchdown pass was a 39-yard bomb to Robert Tonyan.

The Bears’ defense is a step below what it traditionally has been. But with the way Rodgers picked it apart, there was little Mitch Trubisky and their offense could do to keep up. Rodgers completed over 70 percent of his passes for the fourth straight game, continuing the longest active streak in the league.

It’s not like Rodgers was a slouch in previous years. He threw a combined six interceptions in 2018 and 2019 compared to 51 touchdowns, and he eclipsed 4,000 passing yards both seasons. But in his second year with LaFleur as head coach, Rodgers said there’s a better understanding of the offense.

And it shows.

“The beauty in this year is the subtleties of simplicity that I feel like Matt implemented in the offseason,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “And it’s really allowed me to feel super comfortable with the plan every week, with my responsibilities, with my checks. And I think that’s why I’ve been playing well.”

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