Packing The Stats: What’s bigger, Aaron Rodgers’ ascent or the Secondary’s descent?

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In my last article I compared the defensive performance of the Packers defense (in regards to passing plays) against the average defense; for instance I compared the Packers defense against the New Orleans Saints to all other defenses who have played New Orleans at this point.

Today, I’m flipping the table and comparing the Packers passing offense against the average offense; so again for instance I will compare the Packers offense against the New Orleans Saints to all other offenses that have played New Orleans at this point.  Since the Packers didn’t have a week 8 game, and since data on the Packers is most important (as this is a Packers blog), I’m only working with week 7 data.  Again, Cmp is completions, Att is attempts, Cmp% is completion percentage, Yds is yards, TD is touchdowns, Int is interceptions, Y/A is yards per attempt and Yds/Pt is yards per point (essentially how many yards does the offense have to gain in order to gain a point?  The lower the more efficient the offense is)


Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Y/A Yds/Pt
VS OPP
NO 18.00 36.67 49.1% 220.50 1.50 0.67 6.01 11.41
CAR 17.83 28.17 63.3% 211.17 1.17 0.67 7.50 7.77
CHI 26.67 41.67 64.0% 267.67 1.33 1.17 6.42 13.06
DEN 21.40 32.40 66.0% 215.40 1.40 0.40 6.65 10.16
ATL 21.83 34.33 63.6% 243.83 1.33 1.50 7.10 10.60
STL 17.80 32.60 54.6% 208.60 2.00 0.60 6.40 7.10
MIN 24.83 38.83 63.9% 264.83 1.33 1.00 6.82 10.96
VS GB
NO 27.00 35.00 77.1% 312.00 3.00 0.00 8.91 7.43
CAR 19.00 30.00 63.3% 308.00 2.00 0.00 10.27 15.40
CHI 28.00 38.00 73.7% 297.00 3.00 1.00 7.82 11.00
DEN 29.00 38.00 76.3% 408.00 4.00 1.00 10.74 8.33
ATL 26.00 39.00 66.7% 396.00 2.00 0.00 10.15 15.84
STL 18.00 29.00 62.1% 316.00 3.00 1.00 10.90 13.17
MIN 24.00 30.00 80.0% 335.00 3.00 0.00 11.17 10.15
Diff
NO 9.00 1.67 28.0% 91.50 1.50 0.67 2.90 3.98
CAR 1.17 1.83 0.0% 96.83 0.83 0.67 2.77 7.63
CHI 1.33 3.67 9.7% 29.33 1.67 0.17 1.39 2.06
DEN 7.60 5.60 10.3% 192.60 2.60 0.60 4.09 1.83
ATL 4.17 4.67 3.1% 152.17 0.67 1.50 3.05 5.24
STL 0.20 3.60 7.5% 107.40 1.00 0.40 4.50 6.07
MIN 0.83 8.83 16.1% 70.17 1.67 1.00 4.35 0.81
AVR 3.23 0.81 10.7% 105.71 1.42 0.43 3.29 1.47

A couple of conclusions that you can make:

  • The Packers offense is completing more while throwing less than the average offense, which of course means that the completion percentage is higher.
  • The Packers offense is gaining about a 100 yards more than the average offense.
  • The Packers are scoring nearly a touchdown and a half more than the average offense all while throwing under a half less interceptions.
  • The Packers are gaining nearly 3 yards more per attempt than the average team.  This probably has a lot due to the fact that the Packers aren’t throwing it more than other teams, but completing more passes.
  • The Packers are actually not as efficient with in terms of converting yardage into points.  This probably means that the Packers are having to drive down the field a lot of times, this could be due either to teams not wanting to risk playing the Packers offense on a short field or poor special teams play that results in longer fields (i.e. when Cobb gets tackled at the 15 instead of the kneeling and starting from the 20)

Some of these numbers are simply staggering and based on quarterback Aaron Rodgers ridiculous quarterback rating (which is 20 points higher than any quarterback right now) I’d be willing to bet that no other team comes remotely close to these numbers.  The praise has to start obviously with Aaron Rodgers but you also have to take your hats off to the receivers and offensive linemen for making the whole thing work.

On the flip side, one of the biggest questions that many Packers fans wonder is how the Packers can be the remaining undefeated team while fielding such a poor passing defense that they rank 31st in passing yards allowed.  Many people have speculated that Aaron Rodgers and offensive company have been bailing out the defense much like the defense did during the 2010 Super Bowl season.  Looking into that, I’ve recomputed the defensive data from my last post to match the offensive stats.


Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Y/A Yds/Pt
VS OPP
NO 30 41.67 72.0% 343 2.5 1.33 8.23 8.61
CAR 20.67 34.33 60.2% 278.5 1.17 1 8.11 10.07
CHI 19.33 32.5 59.5% 233.33 1.17 0.67 7.18 8.24
DEN 17.2 32 53.8% 189.2 1.6 0.8 5.91 7.69
ATL 22.67 36.83 61.6% 252.67 1.33 1 6.86 9.60
STL 19.2 37.8 50.8% 213.2 0.6 0.4 5.64 19.04
MIN 17.17 29 59.2% 187.5 0.67 0.33 6.47 7.60
VS GB
NO 32 49 65.3% 419 3 0 8.55 12.32
CAR 28 46 60.9% 432 1 3 9.39 18.78
CHI 21 37 56.8% 302 2 2 8.16 17.76
DEN 22 32 68.8% 273 3 3 8.53 11.87
ATL 18 32 56.3% 167 1 2 5.22 11.93
STL 29 45 64.4% 328 0 1 7.29 109.33
MIN 13 32 40.6% 219 2 2 6.84 8.11
DIFF
NO 2.00 7.33 6.7% 76.00 0.50 1.33 0.32 3.71
CAR 7.33 11.67 -0.7% 153.50 0.17 2.00 1.28 8.72
CHI 1.67 4.50 2.7% 68.67 0.83 1.33 0.98 9.53
DEN 4.80 0.00 -15.0% 83.80 1.40 2.20 2.62 4.18
ATL 4.67 4.83 5.3% 85.67 0.33 1.00 1.64 2.33
STL 9.80 7.20 -13.7% 114.80 0.60 0.60 1.65 90.30
MIN 4.17 3.00 18.6% 31.50 1.33 1.67 0.38 0.51
AVR 2.39 4.12 0.6% 63.23 0.42 1.07 0.80 17.04
DIFF AVR 0.84 4.93 11.2% 42.49 1.00 1.50 2.49 15.57

The most important stat is the difference in averages at the very bottom.  Simply put it looks at the average difference that the Packers offense produces versus the average difference that the Packers defense produces (or doesn’t produce if you want to look at it that way).  For instance, the Packers on average threw for more than 100 yards more than opposing quarterbacks against the same teams.  Conversely, opposing quarterbacks are throwing for 63 yards more against the Packers defense than they are against other defenses they have played on average, thus giving a difference of 42 yards.  At the end of the day Aaron Rodgers throwing more is offset by the Packers defense giving it up more and luckily for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers is more good (pardon the grammar) than the Packers defense is bad.

I think the data shows just how important a quarterback is in the league today.  Aaron Rodger is not only directing the offense and winning games, but he is also masking many of the deficiencies that the Packers have (just look at the Peyton Manning-less Colts).

No running game?  Not a problem, Rodgers can cover it.

Receivers dropping balls? No problem, Rodgers can cover it.

No passing defense?  No problem, Rodgers can cover it.

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Ron LC

    “No passing defense? No problem, Rodgers can cover it.”

    I think you should have added “So Far” to that conclusion. A defense playing that consistently poor is a problem. MM seems to think most of that is due to giving up the big play. And he vows to work on that and fix it. I’d love to see that shut down D show up in SD this week.

    Once again Thomas, thanks for the hard work.

    • Bearmeat

      Agreed Ron. Great stuff Thomas.

      I’ll say it again: Either the D picks it up (I think they will) to at least be mediocre yds given up, or we have to hope the offense’s bad game doesn’t come in the playoffs. Cause if the bad pass D and a bad offensive game happens at the same time, we’re goin down…

      • Thomas Hobbes

        Well, even a poor Packers offense and defense could still probably win against say the Colts or the Dolphins.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Well I’ll ask you this question, at what point of the season does it go from “so far” to “consistently”? This is for all intents and purposes midway through the season for the Packers and through 7 games, the defense isn’t all that good; can they make changes during the bye week? Probably but at some point, the team is what it is

  • Elle

    Consistently poor? #10 in points scored? #1 scoring offense?

    Yeah I’m not worried. Especially since you consider that with our injuries on defense, we’re only going to get better as the season moves along, not worse.

  • Mojo

    Great work Thomas. So in a nutshell you’ve proven A-Rod & Co.(in large part) has overcome a deficient pass D. So far weather conditions have been good, but I’m wondering if late in the season, if crappy playing conditions will narrow the A-Rod advantage over other QB’s. In that case it will be up to the D to pick up the slack or GB will be sent Packing.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I’m not entirely sure weather really makes much of a difference, from the Packers perspective its not like when it gets cold outside the offense immediately goes into run-first mode. Also keep in mind other quarterbacks have to play in the same cold weather, so even if Rodgers dips, so will the other quarterback

      • Mojo

        Right, I would expect both A-Rod and other QB to dip, but if the weather is intolerable A-Rod has further to dip than the opponent. For example if conditions were bad enough (frigid, high winds) even as good as A-Rod is, he might not be able overcome the conditions. In that case the Pack loses it’s greatest advantage.

        • Elle

          Good point, the Packers only won by 3 touchdowns against the Rams because of the wind.

          • Mojo

            Generally, in discussing what I believe to be a better QB than most everyone else s (A-Rod) in a sterile setting, I would prefer not to let weather circumstance possibly create an environment where bizarre happenstance could occur. If you’re better, more skilled than the opponent(in any sport) you don’t want to take the chance the weather variable will create fluke situations that could end your season. In a sense bad weather conditions hurts the better player more.

            To illustrate I’ll use a example of two boxers. One boxer is clearly better than the other and on a stable surface like a boxing ring would demolish the other. But put them both in a skating ring and many of the better boxers advantages dissipate as he losses leverage and footing. The same things happens to the worse boxer, but so what, he has closed the gap and has given himself a flukey chance of perhaps landing a blow he normally would never have a chance to.

            • http://yardbarker.com Ken

              WOW….. your article is amazing! I have known what your article points out, but to see it in numbers! I also like the analogy that you use with the boxer. The only way the overall performance can continue on the scale it currently is running is for another aspect of the packers game to step up…. specifically the running game. Using your tables and your numbers, wouldnt it be correct to say that anything added by a positive from the running game nullifies a percentage point drop by Arod? I think this is where the cold weather that is fast approaching has the greatest chance of being neutralized…but thats just my opinion

        • Thomas Hobbes

          Do you mean that Rodgers would dip more because he’s starting from a higher level of production? If anything I would say that the Packers should do a little better, Rodgers seems more than happy to take the open short pass rather than the long bomb then entire game (as is often the case when playing against the Bears) and it definitely helps that that he has a ton of weapons to throw to so one of them is bound to have a good game, regardless of weather.

  • Bubbaloo

    I’ve got to go along with Ron LC on this one, add a “So Far” to all of the above, but I do have faith. The secondary has been racked with injuries and the loss of Collins, and losing Jenkins hurt worse than many of us expected. But by the end of the year there are no “rookies”, and some of these guys should be much better barring more injuries. It would be nice however if we could get some straight answers on Neal, or at least he “Same” answer from both sides of the fence. “He’s on schedule to be back after the bye” vs. “he may not play this year” are a sizable distance apart. And where the hell is So’oto?

    • Ron LC

      GB is blessed with a grat QB. However, I watched a geame yesterday that pitted a great qb against a very good D. D won handily. That was Pitt vs. NE. Don’t underplay the value of defense on the road to the SB.

      Neal and Clifton were held out of practice again today (pads). MM was testy when asked about Neal’s avaiabilty and said, “That’s not a topic I’ll deal with today.” Maybe more on Wednesday.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I think that one thing that was overlooked was that its not entirely certain that Jenkins wanted to play in Green Bay either. For one, he was upset for at least the back half of the season for not being a focus of attention in terms of contract negotiations and he obviously would be making more money as a DT in a 4-3 scheme than in a 3-4 scheme. Of course, the Packers were coming off a SB victory and you figure that that has to account for something, but the fact remains I don’t think many defensive linemen dream about playing in a 3-4 defense, where all the glory is taken away from them. I’m not going to postulate on Jenkin’s production had he stayed in GB, but you have to realize that So’oto is an UDRFA and was hurt for a couple weeks, they aren’t going to play him unless a ton of injuries happen in front of him, the risk of him blowing an assignment probably outweighs the chance that he blows up an offensive play.

  • Mr. Bacon

    Aaron, despite his progression, is far from surprising. He has a chip on his shoulder, and decided to become like Brady, Manning and Brees. Torturing himself to improve every single flaw to win a Superbowl. He has a desire to become great, and make his teammates better than they are. He devotes his time to greatness and its showing.

    As far as the defense, its not so much the Secondary but rather the unit as a whole. The Secondary is very dependent on the pass rush, always.

    Covering a person for more than 3 seconds is downright hard as the more time goes by until the QB goes down, the less in advantage the defense has. Applying pressure to the QB will make the Secondary much better, and right now the defensive line is not able to provide that giant push.

    So in term of what is bigger, neither, but the lack of quarterback pressure.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I whole heartedly agree with the fact that defensive linemen and linebackers are just as responsible for pass defense as secondary players are, but for this article I didn’t want to complicate matters more by trying to factor in pressures or sacks so I kept it simply with passing yardage, and at the end of the day, the secondary still has to show up. There have been plenty of times where the line has collapsed the pocket and the QB has still managed to get the ball out, so you can’t blame it all on the pass rush either.

      • Mr. Bacon

        Deffo.

        Although the secondary still has to show up, its probably the component of the defense that is reliant mostly on the front end of unit since they are mostly suppose to be away from where the main action is for most of the play.

        However I think there is nothing to worry yet. Since its pretty much given we’ll be in the playoffs with 2 more wins, Capers should begin to draft up game plans to how to suppress this weakness until they heat up or find a way to bypass this flaw.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          I should really point out that I’m not all that worried and I’ve never said that I was worried, but obviously I understand that’s how the last two articles came out. At least from my perspective, suspect defense can always be bailed out by stellar offense and the Packers do indeed have a stellar offense.

  • Ron LC

    KC’s D beats SD’s O. Well KC’s D and Rivers’ incompetence would be more accurate. Rivers doen’t seem to handle pressure well, so let’s breakout that aggressive D we’ve been hiding all year.

    Oh, and Mathews has a groin pull and will be questionalbe for next week.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Frankly I don’t know what to make of the Chargers any more; I know they’ve been wildly inconsistent since I started following football in ernest, and frankly I’m not sure if the Chargers are really that bad or they’re just acting that poorly