Mike McCarthy would like to wait and see, let the Green Bay Packers' season conclude and evaluate an entire body of work. But at some point, the evidence becomes overwhelming.
That point might have hit Tuesday.
Yes, McCarthy said, this is the best level of play he's ever seen from Aaron Rodgers. And not just the Packers' quarterback. McCarthy said he's never seen any quarterback play at the level Rodgers has this season.
"I've never seen a quarterback or been a part of quarterback play at this level," McCarthy said. "Obviously 2011, the numbers speak for themselves, but his command, his responsibility level is higher than it's ever been. His production, to me, is higher than it's ever been."
Through the past two months, McCarthy has been asked weekly about the quarterback clinics Rodgers regularly displays during games. With almost absurdly efficient play, the seventh-year starter has placed himself as the frontrunner to win his second MVP award.
Rodgers is third in the league with 35 touchdown passes, one behind Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. He's sixth in the NFL with 3,652 passing yards and had his seventh 300-yard passing game of the season in Monday night's win against the Atlanta Falcons.
Most significant, Rodgers is making plays and producing big numbers while avoiding mistakes unlike any quarterback in the NFL. His three interceptions are fewest in the league. As a result, his 119 passer rating is 10.2 points higher than any league quarterback. Rodgers also leads the NFL with 8.78 yards per pass attempt, another stat that tracks efficiency.
Rodgers has thrown an interception in only two games this season. He hasn't thrown a pick in his past five games, the second time he's done that this fall. He entered the season with only one five-game streak without an interception in his career.
With three games remaining, Rodgers is on pace to pass for 4,500 yards, 43 touchdowns and three interceptions. He had 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions in his 2011 MVP season.
McCarthy contextualized Rodgers' numbers when he spoke with the media Tuesday. With the Packers blowing out teams inside Lambeau Field this season, Rodgers hasn't always finished games. Which means his numbers could be even better at this point.
"I think through the big leads in games, he's missed four or five quarters of opportunities. So attempts are down compared to prior years," McCarthy said. "He's playing the best football of his career, in my opinion."
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