Breaking Down Aaron Rodgers’ Numbers
Most of the headlines around Aaron Rodgers this week have read something like this "MVP to Mediocre" or "Rodgers isn't himself" and "ARod hasn't hit 100 in 14 games".
I don't need to tell you again that Rodgers hasn't had a passer rating over 100 in the last 14 games. You don't need me to tell you that Rodgers and the Packers haven't been themselves. If you can read then you already know. But instead let me point out a few numbers that are shockingly mediocre in Rodgers 14 game span.
Two Sip Sally - Low TD Numbers
Rodgers has had only ONE game where he's thrown for over two touchdowns and that game was against Carolina in week 8. However, he threw two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter that should be chalked up as garbage time. In half of his games in 2014 he threw for at least three touchdowns and had two games where he threw four or more.
500 Dead or Alive - Average Passing %
On his career, Rodgers has had an impressive 64.5 passing percentage. But in the 14 game span Rodgers has only had five games where his completion percentage was higher than 58%, which is not bad but not typical numbers from him. From 2010 through the 2014 season Rodgers had 15 games total where his completion rating dipped below 58%. His accuracy has been shockingly off, whether it's a ten yard pass or a quick hit route in the goalline. Rodgers has overthrown and underthrown open receivers multiple times a game.
Mr. Checkdown - Yards Per Pass Attempt
Before 2015 we got accustomed to seeing Rodgers occasionally launch a 55 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. But in the last 14 games Rodgers has had only 5 games where he's averaged over 6 yards per pass attempt. Now that could've been an absence of Nelson but that wouldn't be a sufficient answer for this season's average of just 5.89. Last season stat-lines for Packers receivers usually had numbers like this: Player - 6 REC - 30 YDS - 0 TD, Player - 7 REC - 55 YDS - 1 TD, Player - 3 REC - 22 YDS - 1 TD
300 What? - Lack of 300 Yard Games
Forget the 14 game stretch, the past 20 games it's been more surprising if Kirk Cousins or Ryan Tannehill DON'T have a 300 yard game than it is for Rodgers TO have a 300 yard game. Since the start of last season (20 games) Rodgers has had three games where he's thrown for 300 yards or more. I realized that there's team factors involved with each situation but the fact one can make a legitimate argument for that statement is ridiculous. This easily the most shocking statistic because you can break that number down even farther. In half of the games since last season he hasn't had 225 yards or more. Those are yardages of a game manager. Rodgers is no game manager, he's the most talented guy in the league.
The Ugly Truth
If you pearly look at numbers from the last two seasons, some analysts and fans argue that Rodgers may not even be a top 10 quarterback. The only thing that sticks out is his touchdown to interception ratio. In his defense the Packers likely would've lost more than six games last season if anyone other than Rodgers was the quarterback.
Another ugly truth is the fact that Rodgers has major happy feat as of late and as a result his accuracy is not even mediocre, it's flat out bad. He flees the pocket when he really doesn't need to and rarely sets his feet when he throws. Sure he still has a couple throws a game that only he could make but most of his throws are off the back foot or on the run when there's no one around him. Take a look at his week one highlights, every throw in the video is on the run or off his back foot.
Rodgers flat out sucks when he get's pressured lately. Against Minnesota Pro Football Focus calculated that on dropbacks that lasted more than 2.5 seconds, Rodgers completed just two-of-nine attempts on 17 dropbacks, and had a passer rating of 12.0.
What's Going To Help?
Like I have said for awhile now, Mike McCarthy needs to stop hurting Rodgers with terrible play calling. Many of the routes McCarthy is having receivers run are taking way too long to develop downfield. Instead he needs to make it simple with some quick hit routes and cut out the double move post routes 25 yards downfield. He also needs to get Lacy the ball more than just 13 times a game so that the play action fake is actually a threat. Because defenses are able to send the house knowing that the Packers aren't going to run and their receivers need ample time to run their routes downfield.
For all this to be effective, Rodgers needs to stop throwing on the run and set his feet when he throws the long ball. Against the Vikings he finished the game 4-of-14 on passes targeted 10+ yards downfield. WOW. This can also be improved if he simply stays in the pocket when it's being held. I don't know the number but it would be interesting to see how many passes Rodgers actually threw in the pocket on Sunday.
The Packers have the best offensive unit in the league between him, Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Lacy and Jared Cook. But Rodgers needs to get back on track if the Packers want to make a run at the Super Bowl this year.