Packers Receivers Making Aaron Rodgers Look Bad

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Finley Drops a PassEveryone needs to head over to ProFootballFocus.com right now and check out one of their latest articles, “Signature Stats Snapshot: Accuracy Percentage.” Once you’re there, scroll down to find the table listing the Top 10 most accurate passers so far this season. Check the number two spot, and gasp in amazement as your read the name of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

For those of you too lazy to check out the article, PFF determines a quarterback’s accuracy percentage using the following formula:

PFF Acc. % = (Completions + Drops) / (Attempts – Throw Aways – Spikes – Batted Passes – Hit As Thrown)

Basically, they add the drops as completed passes, then remove attempts for throw aways, spikes, batted passes, and passes where the quarterback is hit while throwing. What this essentially does is tell us how many of the passes are “catchable.” Here is Aaron Rodgers’ stat line:

# Name Team Drop backs Att. Comp Drops TA BP SP HAT Acc. %
2 Aaron Rodgers GB 223 189 130 17 4 1 1 1 80.8

We’ve all been critical lately of Aaron Rodgers and his performance in comparison to last year, and his accuracy has been part of that criticism. For some reason, we don’t remember him making the kind of throws we are used to him making. The missed pass along the sideline to Jordy Nelson this past weekend was one such example.

However, I think this data helps to support the claim that he hasn’t really regressed in this area. To make matters even clearer, check out Rodgers’ stats from 2011:

# Name Team Drop backs Att. Comp Drops TA BP SP HAT Acc. %
1  Aaron Rodgers GB 581 502 343 40 17 5 2 3 80.6

The biggest problem I think we are currently seeing with the passing game is the number of drops by receivers. And, quite frankly, I think it’s adding to the overall idea that Rodgers isn’t playing as well as in the past.

To take this even further, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning are currently tied for third with regard to how many of their passes have been dropped (17). The only quarterbacks ahead of them in this category are Brandon Weeden (22) and Drew Brees (20).

The biggest culprits are Jordy Nelson (17.86% drop rate, 5 drops) and Jermichael Finley (18.52% drop rate, 5 drops), though Tom Crabtree and Greg Jennings are the only ones without any dropped passes.

While there is still some ample criticism of Rodgers for his decision-making and the amount of sacks he’s responsible for, I don’t think we can really add accuracy to his list of problems right now.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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  • steve cheez

    Part of what I see with the accuracy is not so much that the pass isn’t caught, but it is thrown where the receiver has to stop or go to the ground to catch it, rather than getting it in stride and adding on the YAC.

  • Tarynfor12

    I agree,accuracy isn’t a problem for Rodgers.

    Never felt his accuracy was off,more along how he was viewing the openings and I jumped on the WRs aren’t getting open.

    The openings may not be as pretty as last year and Rodgers playing it closer to the vest equals…frustration.

    So either the WRs need to get more seperation or Rodgers will need to regage his trigger to compensate until the openings get larger.

    However,drops in this forced smaller windows doesn’t make adjustments easier.

  • Greg

    I think Rodgers’ struggles have been overblown and the receivers have had something to do with that. However I also think we have to be sure we’re not comparing apples and oranges here. This % statistic does not account for distance at all. Rodgers’ yards-per-attempt have plummeted from last year, and Green Bay is near the bottom of the league in long passes. If he’s throwing more short passes, it’s not surprising that accuracy % would go up since those passes are easier to complete. Essentially, his accuracy ability could be worse this year, yet his % could stay the same if he is throwing shorter and easier passes to compensate. PFF Acc. %, completion %, and other similar stats do not tell the full story of accuracy since not all passes are equally difficult. These percentages must be combined with distances to get the full picture. Not all throws are equal. At what distance are you accurate at?

    I also think Rodgers’ struggles mostly result from the following:
    A) facing what could possibly be the 3 best defenses in the league (SF, CHI, SEA) and a Colts team that had 2 weeks to prepare
    B) running a predictable offense since the running game is the worst it’s been in recent memory. everyone knows they are going to pass

    • Chad Toporski

      I think you make a good point, but though Rodgers has thrown less deep passes, he’s still been accurate. Here’s PFF’s Deep Passing stats on Rodgers for this season:

      Att: 13
      Comp: 5
      Drops: 3
      Att %: 6.9
      Acc %: 61.5 (T-1st with Alex Smith)

      Here are the Deep Passing stats from 2011:

      Att: 61
      Comp: 32
      Drops: 5
      Att %: 12.2
      Acc %: 60.7 (1st)

      So, he’s reduced his deep throw attempts by almost half, but the accuracy is still there… at least according to the statistics.

    • Tarynfor12

      “everyone knows they are going to pass”

      When over the last 4 years has this been a secret?

      • Greg

        it’s never been a secret. that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make things more difficult for the offense or rodgers. you can’t expect him to overcome that every year.

        • Tarynfor12

          I don’t expect him to overcome our identity…I want them to continue with it and their not….trying to install a bigger run game then the weapons you have to do so is trying to overcome/change/cover up your identity and it’s killing us.

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    • Greg

      thanks for the stats Chad. I wasn’t sure where to find those

  • Jeff

    Drops are a big problem for this team.It seems to happen most often on third down (hello Finley).Nelson has had more than he should, which is a killer since he’s basically their number one wide out this year with Jennings injury bug.The lack of a solid running game is really catching up as well.Benson’s loss only makes this worse.2-4 is an awfully big hole to dig out of.Maybe impossible.

  • Ron LC

    Statistics can tell virtually any story you wnat to tell. In footbal the ONLY statistic that counts is winning. To paraphrase good old Vince, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

    Individual stats can be great discussion points but they don’t solve the problems of our current group of heros.

    As the QB and leader of the team I see AR needing to lead the rest to levels of performance they have yet to achieve. Individually his performance is good, as a leader he is an under-performer. He’ll never be a rah-rah type so his leadership could go unnoticed. It’s up to the coaches to deal with the obvious performance issues NOW. Jennings is out again. So Jordy, James et. al needs to show they can break free from coverage and hold on to the damn ball.

    On defense, Capers get that over-complicated deep, soft zone out of the game plan. Man coverage and a brutal atttack on Schabb is called for.

    • Ken Kozak

      Great article! The facts you brought out support what I have thought all along, that Rodgers is NOT the problem. The problem is obvious, the offensive line is offensive! Rodgers is not the problem, and now with the loss of Benson, he IS the answer.

  • Mojo

    Could have sworn I posted this same revelation yesterday. ARods problem has been holding the ball too long, calling too many passes in the pass/run option and not throwing to open spots when a receiver is heading toward that spot with single coverage. There has been no problem with his accuracy or arm strength, which are still among the tops in the league.

    • Chad Toporski

      Great minds, Mojo…

  • Lou

    The problems are a combination of Rodgers not being as accurate (high throws to Driver – Jones should have been TD’s, missing Nelson wide open last week, we didn’t see that last year. The offensive line based on McCarthy’s pass only approach and Rodgers holding the ball puts them at a noticeable disadvantage. The drops, Finley as always but now Nelson and Driver. No wonder there is no consistency in the offense. All are to blame as well as it appears the loss of Philbin.

    • Chad Toporski

      I don’t know… Perhaps we just forget the bad throws from last year since they were having so much success otherwise. Off the top of my head, Rodgers’ missed throw to a wide open Jennings in the playoffs springs to mind.

      • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

        I think that’s it, Chad. It seems that while Rodgers isn’t missing any more than most, he is missing when it really matters: on plays that would have gone for scores. The miss to Jennings in ’09 playoffs at Arizona in OT. Missed Nelson last week. Both would have changed games from an L to a W. Now in last week’s case, they had all game to overcome that missed TD. Still, in Aaron I believe and I expect him to play better and get rid of the ball quicker from here on out.

        • Chad Toporski

          True, but also consider the drops by Finley and Nelson in the Packers final drive of the first half against the Colts. The Nelson drop was especially egregious, since it would have been a clear first down and a big chunk of yardage.

  • Barutan Seijin

    Why do people have so much trouble accepting that Rodgers isn’t perfect? The guy himself says he has missed on throws he should have made. Who are we to argue?

    • Chad Toporski

      There are definitely people who are unwilling to accept less than perfect from Rodgers, but my point was that a perceived change from last season might not be an accurate assessment. Is he making mistakes? Sure, but his accuracy hasn’t really plummeted.

  • http://ALLGREENBAYPACKERS.COM RON

    THE REASON RODGERS HAS LESS LONG PASSES BECAUSE OF PRESSURE ALREADY SACKED 21 TIMES.

  • big O

    I’m doing this the day after the texas game so if no one see’s it Oh well, but FINLEY is still dropping almost every pass!!WOW!!

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