What do Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have in common besides now living in bachelor pads? They both are enduring perhaps their worst professional seasons this year, both statistically and regarding the win/loss record of their team. But it is not just those two “future Hall of Famers.” Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford are two other quarterbacks who get described as future “Hall of Famers”. Yet of those players are struggling mightily this year. And then there is Matt Ryan, who got benched for the rest of the season by the Indianapolis Colts a week ago.
Here is the interesting thing about Ryan. Brady, Rodgers, and Wilson have a combined 9-15 record with each of their teams saddled with a 3-5 record. Those three “future Hall of Famers” have combined for only one game where their team scored at least 30 points. They have combined for one game where they threw at least three touchdown passes. They have combined for three games where they threw for at least 300 yards. Ryan had a 2-4 record before seemingly getting benched for the rest of the season (by owner Jim Irsay) after the Colts lost for the second time this year to Tennessee last week. Ryan had a game where Indianapolis scored at least 30 points. He had one game where he threw three touchdown passes. And he had three games where he passed for at least 300 yards. Ryan literally matches the productivity of Brady, Rodgers, and Wilson despite playing two fewer games — and it was Ryan that got benched?
What is going on? Brady announced that he has filed for divorce. But I am not sure how that impacts his poor decision-making in games. He found the time to blow off a Saturday morning meeting the day before a game as he was returning from attending Robert Kraft's wedding the night before. It is not a great look when he then berates his struggling offensive line. Perhaps as the G.O.A.T., he has earned the right to attend the owner of his former team's party? But if building morale is part of leadership, perhaps Brady chose the wrong communication strategy with his teammates if he wants to build positive chemistry. Sure seems like the list is growing of people that have grown tired of his schtick. You can hear all about it on his podcast "Let's Go" ...
Speaking of podcasts, then there is Aaron Rodgers. It was apparent to everyone that Rodgers had the challenge to work with a new group of wide receivers after Davante Adams decided he no longer wanted to have his professional career dependent on a guy who talks about retirement every other week. Rodgers chose to not work with his rookie wide receivers in the offseason. But he is very quick to let everyone know how they are letting him down. Rodgers appears on his weekly podcast with Pat McAfee to make sure everyone knows the Packers' woes are not his fault. It's never his fault.
And ever since Russell Wilson threw the interception on the goal line in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, it has never been his fault in some circles. Offensive coordinator Pete Carroll is to blame for not calling a running play to Marshawn Lynch (yes, I know Carroll is not the offensive coordinator, that is part of the joke). The Let Russ Cook cult dreamed of the day when Wilson could finally be unleashed as if there were no specific examples of the Seahawks abandoning a ground game to let Wilson throw the ball 40-plus times. It didn't work out. Now we are seeing what happens when Carroll can Let Pete Cook with the run-first game management approach with quarterback Geno Smith who is out-performing Wilson in every measurable way. I was described as "insane" once for merely questioning if the Seahawks got the better end of the deal with Denver, considering the contract that Wilson would demand. The question has been definitively answered now -- before Halloween.
And then there is Matthew Stafford who has added only two more pick-sixes to his resume this year. He is on pace to match the four pick-sixes he threw last year with the Rams. Can you imagine how Geno Smith would be crucified if he threw two pick-sixes in his first eight games? Stafford has been dealing with a right elbow injury that some have used as an excuse for his mistakes. Did these observers watch him play when he was trying to force-feed the ball to Calvin Johnson when he was quarterbacking the Detroit Lions? To paraphrase Michael Corleone in The Godfather II when discussing the declining health of Hyman Roth, Stafford has been suffering from the same elbow injury for the last twenty years ...
Best of luck — Frank.