When you're 28 years old, the reigning NFL MVP and you already have a Super Bowl victory on your résumé, you hold yourself to a higher standard than a 2-3 start. As the Associated Press suggested earlier this week, such is the plight of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers was highly critical of himself on his radio show on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee, saying, "I haven't played as well as the expectations are, obviously. The ones I put on myself, I like to think are as high or higher than the ones people outside put on me."
In his MVP season last year, Rodgers set the record for best passer rating in a season (122.5) while setting Packers single-season records for touchdown passes (45) and yardage (4,643), and balanced that with just six interceptions. Rodgers also owns the league's best career passer rating at 103.5.
So far, the 2012 season hasn't treated him as well, as Rodgers already has thrown four interceptions while compiling just a 97.0 passer rating -- good for eighth in the league and three spots behind Washington Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III.
"I set the bar high and I expect to play at a higher level. (I've) been making just some mistakes I'm not used to making," Rodgers said.
While Rodgers was unable to pinpoint what's different about this year that has him scuffling somewhat, he vowed to keep trying to improve.
"My solemn promise is I'm going to work every day to get better," Rodgers said. "I'm going to clean up some of the things I'm not doing as well as I should. But, the proof is in the pudding. Right now, I'm not getting it done. I've got to look at myself first."
Things don't get any easier for the Packers as they hit the road for the second of three straight weeks when they take on the undefeated Houston Texans on Sunday night.
It won't be easy.
Workhorse halfback Cedric Benson (foot) already is one of potentially three key players who will be missing from the offense. Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings (groin) and playmaking tight end Jermichael Finley (shoulder) look to be no better than questionable to play.
Given all that, the Sports Xchange suggests that Rodgers might just have to resort to taking some deep shots against a secondary that can be exploited, provided he can buy himself an extra second or two on the move outside the pocket against a formidable pass rush.
James Jones and Jordy Nelson could come up big.