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Packers 2021 Wrap: Bob McGinn tallies his weekly footballs
"Rating the Packers" lives at Go Long now. Our Bob McGinn begins his look back at the season right here. Upgrade to get his full grades, to be published soon.
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Paid subscribers will also gain access to Bob McGinn’s annual position-by-position Packers grades, to be published in the near future:
For the seventh time quarterback Aaron Rodgers either had the most or tied for the most star of the week designations in my weekly analysis of the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers earned the No. 1 berth in three games. Next in No. 1 games were nose tackle Kenny Clark, tackle Elgton Jenkins and running back Aaron Jones, each with two.
Since succeeding Brett Favre in 2008, Rodgers also had the most No. 1’s in 2011, 2014, 2020 and 2021. He tied for the most in 2010, 2013 and 2016.
This was the first season that the weekly “Rating the Packers” feature appeared at GoLongTD.com. It originated at The Milwaukee Journal in 1991, continued at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1995-2016, at BobMcGinnFootball.com from 2017-2018 and at The Athletic from 2019-2020.
Rodgers’ all-time best came in 2011 when he was the No. 1 star in seven of the team’s 17 games.
Based on the weekly football totals, however, the quarterback position came in third. That also reflected the work of Jordan Love, who started at Kansas City and played the second half at Detroit after Rodgers was rested for the playoffs.
Here are the football totals and 18-game averages for each position group:
Running backs: 66 (3.67)
Receivers: 59 1/2 (3.31)
Quarterbacks: 59 (3.28)
Defensive line: 58 (3.22)
Linebackers: 56 1/2 (3.14)
Offensive line: 56 ½ (3.14)
Defensive backs: 56 (3.11)
Kickers: 48 (2.67)
Special teams: 43 (2.39)
Overall, the Packers received 58 footballs in 18 games, or 3.22 per game. In Matt LaFleur’s first two seasons, they had 60 in 2020 (18 games) and 57 ½ in 2019 (18 games).
Green Bay ended 13-5 this year compared to 14-4 in both 2020 and 2019.
In 2018, the Packers’ last non-playoff season, they received 42 footballs (2.63) in a 6-9-1 campaign coached by Mike McCarthy (12 games) and Joe Philbin (four games).
As a point of reference, the Packers received 73 footballs in 20 games (3.65) in 2010, which was their last championship season. In 1996, another Super Bowl-winning season, they also received 73 footballs but in 19 games (3.84).
In terms of the nine position groups, the running backs won for the fifth year in a row. They were No. 1 with 47 ½ footballs in the 16-game season of 2017 and again in the 16-game season of 2018 with 52 ½. They led with 71 ½ in 2019 and 66 in 2020.
The quarterbacks, led by Brett Favre, finished first nine times between 1994 and 2007. Since Rodgers replaced Favre in 2008, the quarterbacks finished first five years in a row from 2008-2012. In the last eight years the highest finish for the quarterbacks was second place in 2014, 2016 and 2020.
Five of the position groups demonstrated improvement from last season whereas one remained the same and three slipped.
The highest jump came at defensive back and special teams, each of which were plus-.33. Other increases came at linebackers (plus-.31), receivers (plus-.25) and defensive line (plus-.16).
Slippage occurred at kicker (minus-.44) and offensive line and quarterback, both of which were minus-.33. The running backs were unchanged.
The maximum total of five footballs was awarded three times, one more than a year ago. That was for the kickers at San Francisco, the running backs at Arizona and the defensive backs against Seattle.
The highest number of footballs for the team as a whole was 4 ½ at San Francisco and at Arizona.
Rodgers registered the most points in the three-stars-of-the-week selections. His point total was 11, five fewer than last year, included three firsts and two thirds.
Here are the 26 players that received mention among the three stars of the week. Being a No. 1 star was worth 3 points, a No. 2 star was worth 2 points and a No. 3 star was worth 1 point.
Player (first-second-third = total points)
Aaron Rodgers, QB (3-0-2 = 11)
Aaron Jones, RB (2-0-3 = 9)
Rashan Gary, OLB (1-2-1 = 8)
Kenny Clark, NT (2-0-1 = 7)
Davante Adams, WR (1-1-1 = 6)
De’Vondre Campbell, ILB (0-2-2 = 6)
Elgton Jenkins, T (2-0-0 = 6)
Dean Lowry, DL (1-1-0 = 5)
Lucas Patrick, C-G (1-1-0 = 5)
Adrian Amos, S (1-0-1 = 4)
Mason Crosby, K (1-0-1 = 4)
Rasul Douglas, CB (0-2-0 = 4)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR (0-2-0 = 4)
Preston Smith, OLB (1-0-1 = 4)
Randall Cobb, WR (0-1-1 = 3)
AJ Dillon, RB (1-0-0 = 3)
Allen Lazard, WR (0-1-1 = 3)
Billy Turner, T (1-0-0 = 3)
Jaire Alexander, CB (0-1-0 = 2)
Josiah Deguara, TE (0-1-0 = 2)
Yosh Nijman, T (0-1-0 = 2)
Darnell Savage, S (0-1-0 = 2)
Eric Stokes, CB (0-1-0 = 2)
Krys Barnes, ILB (0-0-1 = 1)
Tyler Lancaster, DL (0-0-1 = 1)
Jon Runyan, G (0-0-1 = 1)