For the better part of the last month, the good folks over at Pro Football Focus have been compiling and outlining three years worth of football data and stats for our viewing pleasure. Considering PFF charts and grades every player on every play of every game, their data consistently ranks among the best in football.
Below, we run down where the Packers rank in many of their signature stats. Links will be provided for each.
- Only eight edge rushers had more total pressures than Clay Matthews over the last three years. In 1,221 pass-rushing snaps, Matthews recorded 172 total pressures (hurries, hits and sacks). Overall, Matthews has been the 11th most efficient edge rusher—ahead of the likes of Jared Allen and Mario Williams. If the Packers can get anything more from the opposite side, you’d have to assume his pass-rushing efficiency will rise.
- Former Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins recorded the fifth most pressures (113) among interior rushers. No current Packers player ranks on the list. The hope is that 2012 rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels or free-agent pickup Anthony Hargrove will help fix that obvious need starting next season.
- Linebacker Desmond Bishop ranked second among linebackers in pass-rushing efficiency. In 209 pass-rushing snaps, Bishop provided 37 pressures and eight sacks. It will be interesting to see if defensive coordinator Dom Capers uses Bishop in a more attacking role on passing downs moving forward, as he’s obviously shown the capacity to get to the quarterback. Former Packers linebacker Nick Barnett also cracked the list, with 26 pressures in 198 snaps.
- Among defensive backs, only the Cardinals’ Adrian Wilson and Saints’ Roman Harper have blitzed more over the last three years than Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (210 blitzes). However, the surprising number here is that Woodson only produced 16 pressure plays over that large sample size. Numbers obviously can’t tell the whole story, but it’s possible that Woodson’s reputation as a top blitzer is exaggerated.
- Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had the third most yards as a result of “deep passing,” or throws that travel more than 20 yards in the air. His 3,181 yards is almost 300 behind Drew Brees for No. 1. Rodgers also had 27 touchdowns on such throws, which ranks fourth. However, Rodgers ranked just seventh in deep accuracy with 79 completions in 200 attempts. 14 drops on those passes also factor into Rodgers’ final number. In my opinion, Rodgers made big strides throwing the deep ball last season.
- Rodgers was sacked on 22.7 percent of his pressured drop backs (115 sacks in 507), which ranks as the fifth worst ratio over the last three years. Blaine Gabbert ranked as the worst at 26.1 percent. However, Rodgers threw just seven pressured interceptions, the best in football. The obvious story here? Rodgers will take a sack before he makes a dumb decision throwing the football. While you never want your quarterback getting hit, trading a turnover for a loss of yardage is one I’ll take almost every time. Rodgers was also the second most accurate quarterback against pressure, completing 66.6 percent of his passes under duress.
- No Packers running back ranked in the top 47 of the “Elusiveness” statistic, which represents a formula devised by PFF to help illustrate the backs who are hardest to get down. However, PFF disqualified both James Starks and Ryan Grant when they decided to include just backs who have carried the ball at least 25 times in each of the last three seasons. With some more digging, I found that Starks actually ranked fourth in that category last season. Starks will get the opportunity to prove that “elusiveness” in what should be a much bigger role in 2012. Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart tops both lists.
- Receiver Donald Driver had the seventh most drops among receivers during the three-year study. He finished with a staggering 22. James Jones had the second worst percentage of drops to “catchable balls,” as he let 20 of 139 hit the ground. Driver’s drop rate was seventh worst. Drops have admittedly been a problem for each and every one of the Packers’ receivers at some point over the last couple of seasons.
- Jermichael Finley’s 16 drops were the sixth most among tight ends. His drop rate of 10.9% (16 in 147 chances) was fourth worst. No other commentary is needed on these numbers.
- Bishop had the 12th best tackling efficiency among linebackers, as he missed just 14 tackles in over 300 attempts. No other Packers linebacker found his name on either the good or bad list. Overall, however, the Packers were one of the worst tackling teams in football last season.
- Woodson has missed the ninth most tackles among defensive backs with 35. However, his tackling efficiency is still much higher than Sam Shields, who has missed 15 in two seasons and now has the seventh worst efficiency among DBs. If he can’t fix that problem moving forward, he’s simply not going to be on the field.
- Matthews has the seventh most missed tackles among edge rushers over the three-year study. His final total was 15. Overall, Matthews’ tackling efficiency was 13th worst. He was a part of the problem last season.
- Jennings has run the fifth most pass routes over the last three years, totaling a whopping 1,804 since 2009. In yards per route run, however, Jordy Nelson ranks fourth best at 2.4 per. Jennings is 13th at 2.11. Both receivers are efficient at their craft.
- Finley is the fifth most efficient tight end in yards per route run. Sine ’09, Finley has gained 2.01 yards per route. I’d imagine that number is likely to rise in the next couple of years.
- John Kuhn is the seventh-worst in yards per route run among running backs. Tough to gather much from that number, however.
- Josh Sitton ranks as the third best guard in pass-blocking efficiency. Over 1,791 pass-blocking opportunities, Sitton has allowed just 45 pressures. Only Brandon Moore (NYJ) and Brian Waters (NE) have been better. As I see it, Sitton remains one of the more overlooked offensive linemen in the NFL.
- Among centers, Jeff Saturday ranks as the very best in pass-blocking efficiency. While it all came in Indianapolis, Saturday allowed just 27 pressures over 1,873 chances over the last three years. Former Packers center Scott Wells, who signed with the Rams this spring, came in sixth with 37 pressures in 1,840 chances. Saturday is 37 years old, but if recent history is any indicator, there’s not going to be any drop off in protecting Rodgers from his position.
- Kuhn ranked third among running backs in pass-blocking efficiency. Over three years and 166 pass-blocking snaps, Kuhn allowed just five total pressures. He’s overrated in a more general sense (No. 91 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 list for 2012), but he has tremendous value in this regard. Former Packers running back Brandon Jackson, now with the Cleveland Browns, topped the efficiency list. Jackson allowed just four pressures in 156 snaps, which all came with Green Bay from 2009-10. He missed all of last season with an injury.
I’ll continue to update this list as PFF adds more to their data collection.
Filed Under: Aaron Rodgers • Brandon Jackson • Charles Woodson • Cheesehead TV • Clay Matthews • Cullen Jenkins • Desmond Bishop • Donald Driver • Featured • Go Pack Go • Greg Jennings • James Starks • Jeff Saturday • Jerel Worthy • John Kuhn • Jordy Nelson • Josh Sitton • NFL • Nick Barnett • Players • Sam Shields