2015 Green Bay Packers had a dismal year with pass-catchers. Jody Nelson was done before it began, Cobb and Adams had nagging injuries throughout the year. 35-year old James Jones was signed after being cut by the New York Football Giants, and led the team in touchdowns and yards.when Rodgers' passer rating "through every QB's first N games" is the highest of all time for nearly every N that he has yet reached, and yet his regular-season record as a starter (100-57, 64%) is "in the top group of peers, but not exceptional among them", what else could we ascribe the difference to other than the rest of his team's performance? He plays the most important position, but there's 21 other players on the field too.
And I mean that seriously - how can we disaggregate that? Should we just be looking at variance within the individual games' passer ratings or QBRs? Should we opponent-adjust that? What about if his team falls behind and he becomes correspondingly more aggressive, and his rate stats suffer (as he should, and as they should), do we penalize him for it? There's way too many layers, and never enough sample size.
Could you have a greatest-of-all-time QB contender on a team with bad coaching, or are great QBs only found on great teams? I'd like to think we have the tools to say "yes" to the former. But so many people seem to throw around win/loss record (or, worse, playoff wins) as some dispositive proof of a QB's abilities, as if they're the only protagonists, and everyone else on the field is just some fluff to give them room to do their thing.
At some point, assessing Rodgers all becomes qualitative impressions. Arm strength, accuracy at short/medium/long throws, ability to misdirect a defense, adjustments at the line, touch on his passes to get the most out of them, toughness and focus under pressure, etc. His team's performance the last 5 years has not kept pace with the 2009-2013 vintage, but the stats don't really tell a consistent story. Doesn't it say a lot that he was able to put up a 104 passer rating, and lead the league in TDs, in a season (2016) when his team went 10-6 with a Pyth of 9-7? Then again, what else does it say that he finished 6th in DYAR that year, albeit only slightly behind 3rd? He was leading the league in DVOA as recently as 2014, but the following year was negative in DVOA. Was it he who changed, was it the rest of the team / coach, or was there never a change, just our perceptions? I honestly have no idea how to approach that.
Rodgers started off on fire, 10 TD, 0 INT, 771 yards, 73.63 comp %, and 135.4 passer rating. James Jones with 12 receptions on 15 targets for 219 yards and 4 TD. There was only one dropped pass by Davante Adams during those three weeks.
The rest of the season? James Jones caught 4 more TD on a 45% catch rate, Cobb had 14 drops on 101 targets (13.86%), and Adams had 11 drops on 79 targets (13.92%). That will tie an anchor to your DVOA.
They still made it to the divisional round against the Cardinals, and forced overtime with Rodgers throwing the majority of his passes to Jeff Janis and Jared Abrederris.