July 20, 2012
Vic Ketchman of Packers.com seems to think that we may not be far from an NFL quarterback topping 6,000 passing yards in a single season. In fact, he’s already nominated Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the likely quarterback to do it.
I see where he takes possibility and runs with it, as the NFL boasted three 5,000+ yard passers in 2011, while New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees actually smashed Dan Marino’s 20-year record of 5,084 yards in one year by passing for a whopping 5,476 yards.
Impressive, to say the least, but one could argue that Brees’ record-breaking yardage out-put is at least slightly damaged by the fact that there were two other quarterbacks to top 5,000 yards, while Eli Manning came very close, and had Rodgers played in the season finale, he also could have easily topped the plateau.
There is also the notion that a lockout-shortened off-season could have held back defenses and contributed to such an explosive passing season for so many quarterbacks.
It’s a fair and logical point, to be sure, but how do you explain Brees’ passing numbers in 2008, when he nearly bested Marinos’ record with 5,069 yards? The fact is, Brees is in a system that, combined with his explosive weapons and his own talent, allows him to do things other quarterbacks could normally only dream of. And as Ketchman logically puts it, so is Rodgers.
So, lockout discussion aside, is a 6,000-yard season possible?
If we go off of 2011 and don’t read too much into how or why it happened, it’s absolutely possible. In fact, it’s almost very likely, and it could simply be just a matter of time. After all, Brees topped 5,400 yards, and did so despite having three games with under 300 yards passing.
If you put those three specific games up to, say, 350 yards (and they were previously 270, 269 and 258), you have 253 extra yards. Add that to Brees’ 2011 passing yardage total, and suddenly he has 5,729 yards. Now, that’s not 6,000 but it’s much closer and that just means that some of his other “lesser” games (like 307, 322 and 325 yards) would have to be spiked up to 400+.
Make no mistake, even with an elite quarterback, with elite weapons, in one of the top offensive systems, achieving 6,000 passing yards will be no easy task. But we’ve seen what can be done. We’ve seen a record that at one time few thought could be broken, get absolutely shattered.
A stat like 6,000 yards in one season by a quarterback once seemed like a number one could only catch on Tecmo Super Bowl or Madden. Now it’s a crazy reality. One we may not necessarily see in the immediate future, but based off of just last year’s insane quarterback numbers, one we definitely can’t say isn’t possible anymore.
I won’t go out on the limb that Ketchman does, and annoint Rodgers as the first passer to top 6,000 passing yards in a single season. But I’ll agree with him that it’s certainly possible, and I won’t be all that shocked if/when I see it.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t be impressed.