NFL: Can Aaron Rodgers win MVP award for third time on the bounce?

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Aaron Rodgers was crowned the reigning back-to-back MVP after having the “best season” of his NFL career thanks to the help of the psychedelic drug ayahuasca and now he could target a third.

The feat has only been accomplished by his Green Bay predecessor, Brett Favre, and if he achieves a fifth MVP, Rodgers would hit the all-time high for the Associated Press award currently held by Peyton Manning.

The potential history and records are, of course, sentimental and important to keep in mind for the new season, but it’s the Super Bowl that Rodgers will be targeting more than anything else.

With a coveted second Super Bowl win in his sights, though, he’ll have to put in a signature stellar performance leading up to late January and February to secure that much-anticipated shot that could go hand-in-hand with his MVP opportunities.

It’s no secret that the clock is ticking on Rodgers’ career. He’s approaching 39 and with the man himself feeling like he’s retiring, this season could be a last ditch effort to match Manning and Favre’s records before the sand runs out in his football hourglass.

Rodgers has not shied away from talks about his retirement and it seems his career is progressing season after season, but he remains committed to this term.

Reigning back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers aims for a third on the bounce this season

Reigning back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers aims for a third on the bounce this season

Rodgers, 38, revealed on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast that his past use of psychedelic drugs improved his mental health, ultimately leading him to the “best season” of his NFL career.

With each season potentially being his last, he will definitely be focused on giving it his all and he admitted that a championship would be the perfect way to end a great career.

The Packers quarterback won his second consecutive AP MVP award after a standout season in 2021

The Packers quarterback won his second consecutive AP MVP award after a standout season in 2021

The Packers quarterback won his second consecutive AP MVP award after a standout season in 2021

“I’ve never been one to want some sort of farewell season or anything like that,” Rodgers said during the minicamp.

“I don’t think it’s fair to compare the mental state at the end of the season with how you feel.

“If you say I’ll play for another two or three years and then you have a magical season that ends with a championship and you think that might be the best way to get away, then I don’t want to commit to anything.

“You say I’ve only been playing for a year and you have a bitter taste in your mouth and you still have the drive and passion to play for another year or two, I just don’t want to be pigeonholed. So I’m focused on this season.’

Despite all this talk of retirement, you have to look pretty closely to find signs of aging in Rodgers’ game.

He is coming back from a standout 13-game season with multiple touchdown passes and zero interceptions, breaking his own 11-game NFL record, which he tied in 2020.

He also recorded a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 9.25 — the seventh best in NFL history — and was won by his own sixth-place finish at 9.60 from the previous year. The ratio means he now owns six of the 12 greatest seasons of all time.

Despite approaching age 39, there are hardly any signs of aging in the game of the Green Bay star

Despite approaching age 39, there are hardly any signs of aging in the game of the Green Bay star

Despite approaching age 39, there are hardly any signs of aging in the game of the Green Bay star

Remarkably, the 2021 season was the weakest MVP-winning season by Rodgers’ standards.

He registered 343/502 passes, 68.3 percent completion, 4,643 passing yards, 45 passing TDs, six INTs, 122.5 passer rating – the current NFL record – in 2011, when he first won the award.

Followed by 341/520 passes, 65.6 percent completion, 4,381 passing yards, 38 passing TDs, five INTs, 112.2 passer rating in 2014 and 372/526 passes, 70.7 percent completion, 4,299 passing yards, 48 passing TDs, five INTs, 121.5 passers-by rating in 2020.

Rodgers will have to get used to the loss of Davante Adams (right) this season

Rodgers will have to get used to the loss of Davante Adams (right) this season

Rodgers will have to get used to the loss of Davante Adams (right) this season

Rodgers, however, finds himself at a slight disadvantage heading into the season as he has to go through training camp to adjust to the loss of Davante Adams and be responsible for the departure of free agent Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Rodgers himself admitted he was disappointed with Adams’ departure and it will be interesting to see what effect this may have on the quarterback’s numbers in the coming season.

“I love Davante, so I’d say I was clearly disappointed,” Rodgers confessed.

‘I really wish him the best. You know, sometimes you wish people the best and you think, “Ehhhh.” But I really wish Davante the best.

“I love him like a brother and I appreciate everything we’ve achieved together. (Just) disappointed we couldn’t finish it together.’

The star wideout set franchise records for receptions with 123 and receiving yards 1,553 in one season in 2021.

Adams’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders has led to a lot of reshuffling in the wide reception space.

The Green Bay Packers traded wide receiver Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in March

The Green Bay Packers traded wide receiver Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in March

The Green Bay Packers traded wide receiver Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in March

While Rodgers will have to break in a new batch of receivers, he is not without options.

Fourth-year veteran Allen Lazard seems like a safe bet and is expected to take over the WR1 role, while Pro-Bowler Randall Cobb could also be a reliable option for Rodgers, possibly the WR2 position.

But the development of rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs could change the Packers’ passing game, while Green Bay remains very optimistic about Amari Rodgers’ improvement despite a disappointing rookie season.

Fourth-year veteran Allen Lazard looks like a safe bet and is expected to take over

Fourth-year veteran Allen Lazard looks like a safe bet and is expected to take over

Fourth-year veteran Allen Lazard looks like a safe bet and is expected to take over

Doubs in the fourth round in particular impressed during the training camp and received rare praise from the man himself.

“Every day… there has been at least one kind of ‘wow’ game for him,” Rodgers told reporters.

“And that’s quite rare for such a young fellow.”

Second round receiver Watson has been sidelined throughout training camp following an off-season knee injury, but cornerback Jaire Alexander also believed he would be back to work once he was healthy.

Romeo Doubs impressed coaches and Rodgers himself at his rookie training camp

Romeo Doubs impressed coaches and Rodgers himself at his rookie training camp

Romeo Doubs impressed coaches and Rodgers himself at his rookie training camp

Rodgers’ offseason of discontent and tumultuous relationship with general manager Brian Gutekunst must now feel like ancient history and his frustration with the franchise seems to be behind him.

While he has insisted that he will not play any preseason game, it is not uncommon for Rodgers as he has not taken a preseason photo since 2018.

Rodgers also skipped all of Matt LaFleur’s organized team activities this spring, but insisted he was determined to make the head coach’s offense succeed.

Rodgers insisted he was determined to make head coach Matt LaFleur's attack successful

Rodgers insisted he was determined to make head coach Matt LaFleur's attack successful

Rodgers insisted he was determined to make head coach Matt LaFleur’s attack successful

“You just have to have some faith in the organization,” Rodgers said during the mini camp.

“I’m going to take the time to make it work with those guys and we’re going to find a way to get Matt’s offense to be successful – as we’ve always done.

“This year will be no different. We’re going to be in the mix.’

In addition, his new contract, worth $150 million over three years, gives a renewed sense of commitment to Rodgers’ Packers, which could bring out the best in him.

The troubles in Packers paradise seem to be over and if Green Bay can supply the receivers to step into Adams’ shoes, Rodgers could produce another MVP-worthy season.

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