Grading Pro Football Focus on Aaron Rodgers

After reviewing the tape, Andy Herman gives his grade of PFF's analysis.

As you've certainly heard by now, there was a bit of controversy surrounding a certain MVP quarterback and how he was graded by renowned football rating website Pro Football Focus.

After a 24/35, 333 yard, five touchdown, zero interception performance against a well respected Kansas City defense, Rodgers was graded as having a -0.8 rating for the week. This put him as the 19th best quarterback this week, lower than players such as Blake Bortles, Ryan Mallett, Nick Foles and Luke McCown.

Needless to say this raised more than a few eyebrows.

What I want to do today is give Pro Football Focus an unbiased grade on their rating of Aaron Rodgers and allow you an opportunity to do the same. I'll be posting the major plays that were worth downgrading and those that were worthy of a ratings increase. When all is said and done you can provide your own analysis and post your own ratings in the comments below.

Before we can give an accurate grade to PFF, we need an accurate understanding of what PFF tries to accomplish. They grade individual plays and matchups because that's what they can see on tape without knowing the play call. Trying to grade audibles, read progressions or even individual assignments on a given play is near impossible without knowing the play call itself. Therefore, PFF is left trying to grade each play individually as best they can. 

It's also worth noting that this was PFF's first round of grading before seeing the All-22 tape and was posted in under 12 hours of the game ending. PFF is known for going back and editing grades once they are able to spend more time reviewing the score, the All-22 tape and auditing their own grades.

Before moving forward I also highly recommend reading more about how PFF grades:

https://www.profootballfocus.com/about/how-we-grade/

And their explanation as to why Rodgers was given a -0.8 overall grade:

https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2015/09/29/why-aaron-rodgers-earne...

Now that we have a bit of background we can go ahead and breakdown the tape. To me there were eight plays that ultimately altered Aaron Rodgers overall grade the most. Outside of these eight plays, my grade on Aaron Rodgers was +1.5, spanning 38 gradeable pass plays (even those that were called back via penalty). The vast majority of these plays were short, open passes in which Rodgers was mostly accurate throughout the day. That said, let's take a look at the plays that shaped Rodgers' grade:

Play 1:

Grade: +1.0

Play 2:

Grade: -1.5

Play 3:

Grade: +0.5

Play 4:

Grade: +1.0

Play 5:

Grade: -2.0

Play 6:

Grade +0.5

Play 7:

Grade +1.5

Play 8:

Grade: -0.5

Final Grade: +2.0

At the end of the day, my grade was 2.8 points better than what Pro Football Focus graded Rodgers as. I tried to be as consistent as possible with PFF's rating scale and only used the game tape that they had available at the time of their grade. After reviewing all 46 gradeable plays I can see why PFF didn't have a huge rating on Rodgers. The gameplan called for an intermediate passing game with an abundance of short passes. The result was a plethora of easy, short to intermediate passes, to open receivers. There simply weren't a ton of throws that Rodgers had to make that were over the top impressive. Add to the fact that he had what could have been two key turnover plays and the grade starts being at least semi-defendable. That being said, after watching each throw and grading every passing play individually, I cannot defend giving Rodgers any type of negative grade. I respect PFF for sticking to their grade and defending it, but in this situation their negative grade simply doesn't hold up. While I don't find the grade eggregious, I have a feeling they will change it to a positive grade as the week goes on. In the meantime I'd give PFF a solid C- on their evaluation of Rodgers on this particular day.

For my entire play by play breakdown and grades please feel free to see the google doc below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MYu3MRlM5PGUIFV28Cwmj3mLbNNNqyzwd91d...

Update: PFF has reviewed their grade and updated the score from -0.8 to +0.7.

Editor's Note: This was a special to CheeseheadTV from Andrew Herman, who is a currently a featured writer for TitletownSoundOff.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @sconniesports. Thanks for reading and let us know if you liked this post. We hope to have more like it in the future.

__________________________

Andy is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and is an Editor for Packer Report. You can find him on WFRV's Green Bay Nation and every Friday on the Friday Film Room on WDUZ . Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder - follow him on Twitter @AndyHermanNFL!

0 points

Comments (15)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PaulRosik's picture

October 01, 2015 at 01:23 pm

According to PFF three of Rodgers TD passes were net zero grade plays because the pass led the receiver away from the end zone and required the receiver to advance the reception into the end zone. But the design of the play was intended to lead the receiver back to allow his blocking to get him into the end zone. It seems to show a real lack of understanding of the intention of the play to score these as net 0 throws.

Also the overall score being a negative number leaves the impression that Rodgers did more wrong than right in that game. And that's just f#$ked up. If they feel the need to score down the QB for a pass the receiver had to make a great catch on so be it, but the scoring system needs to be tweaked to reflect reality and the reality is that any pass that is completed is a positive thing. If they want to make a distinction between perfect passes and ok passes the receiver just happened to catch - fine, but if its caught - that's a good thing anytime.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nicholas's picture

October 01, 2015 at 01:25 pm

Nice article

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Duginske's picture

October 01, 2015 at 01:33 pm

Good article. Made more sense than the one this morning. Looks like PFF has upped their grade to .7 last I checked. This makes sense based on your analysis.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nicholas's picture

October 01, 2015 at 03:00 pm

The one thing i dont get about the pff metric is why they use plays that are cancelled by penalty in their overall grade. Rodgers fumbles, play is blown dead. So why use that if the down is replayed. Otherwise i think pff does a great job of breaking down a game and telling a story stats cannot explain

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

October 01, 2015 at 06:17 pm

Did the penalty cause the fumble? Cobb gets open, TD. Unless he drops it , but Rodgers still gets a plus. I need an advil.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
marpag1's picture

October 01, 2015 at 04:06 pm

"PFF's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 24-28)

Who knew Shakespeare was a football fan?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Chad Toporski's picture

October 01, 2015 at 04:08 pm

+0.5 for single-handedly avoiding a safety and getting a 1st Down in the process, yet -2.0 for throwing an *almost* INT???

That is what boggles my mind about this grading system.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
AndyHerman's picture

October 01, 2015 at 04:23 pm

I think the ultimate point is that any grading system is subjective. You may have graded the 1st down play as +1.5 and the almost INT as a -0.5 or maybe "almosts" don't count and it's a neutral grade. I'm sure if Rodgers were to switch teams tomorrow, his new team would likely grade him much different on a play by play basis than the Packers did, and I'm sure Rodgers probably disagrees with some of the grades the Packers give him... I'm hoping the videos allow you to sort of put grades on it yourself and see if PFF was either way off or if they were maybe closer than some people thought... Thanks for the comment, Chad!!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jh9's picture

October 01, 2015 at 04:27 pm

Any grading system that doesn't include the thought process of an NFL quarterback is bogus.

I understand that the mental component is difficult if not impossible to quantify. However, that mental component is what separates the great quarterbacks from the good "throwers."

The mental ability of an NFL quarterback to process so much information in so little time and make the right decision cannot be ignored. The ability to do that is as important or more so than having a strong accurate arm. And, personally, that mental component is what attracts me as a NFL fan. It's not just a game of big, fast, and strong guys playing big, fast, and strong.

I understand that any company that has a business model based on quantifying NFL play would feel like they must include the quarterback. However, if they can't find a way to include the mental component in their analysis, then to me whatever grade they give to a quarterback is essentially worthless.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

October 01, 2015 at 06:14 pm

If they included the mental component, guys like Brady, P. Manning, Rodgers would start the game with a high + rating.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 01, 2015 at 09:12 pm

Reading the link to PFF grading system, I can't tell why Favre's INT is worth -2.0 vs. being worth -1.5 as an awful throw that is or should have been intercepted. I have no idea what a good short throw is (+.5). I certainly would not have given Eli Manning a +2.0 on his throw to Mario Manningham. The throw was short and only completed because the defender fell/slipped. No idea what a +1.0 or +1.5 pass completion looks like.

I disagree on the author's grades for play 2 and 6 (but given my first paragraph, this is strictly a seat of the pants grade that reasonable people can disagree about).

Play 2: This is a pocket awareness grade. QB is about to throw and therefore is holding the ball with one hand. QB doesn't know he is about to be sacked (poor awareness since he knew or should have known that the DT hadn't been blocked), and thus didn't tuck/secure the ball. -1.5? Maybe any fumble by a QB is worth at least -1.5? This is the only grade that imo takes into account pocket awareness and its a negative despite Rodgers' superlative pocket awareness and movement skills during this game.

Play 6: Nice escape = a positive. Moving to his left, throwing a little across his body and throwing it in the middle of the field (dangerous pass that only the great ones can throw) short of the DB with #29 in or near the throwing lane, perfectly hitting the WR in stride allowing the WR to gain big YAC, all done with the LOS being inside the 5 means it is a big completion (gets GB out of the hole) and it equals a +1.5 from me.

It appears that PFF only grades in increments of 0.5. I would suggest a small positive of perhaps .25 for making an easy pass well - I would call that a positive for executing. Those 3 TD passes were all well thrown If the QB doesn't hit the WR in rhythm and in stride the WR probably can't score.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

October 02, 2015 at 03:41 am

One question only - superb Carson Palmer performance against defendless SF or bellow average performance of Aaron against KC, one of the best defenses in the league? Ask that PFF people and they will be speechless...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
the real russ letlow's picture

October 02, 2015 at 10:06 am

victories and championships, the bottom line. I don't want the highest rated PFF QB on my team, I want the guy who wins. I'll take a 300, 5 & 0, and a win every week the whole way to the Super Bowl.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
lucky953's picture

October 02, 2015 at 09:08 pm

A lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If "analysis" violates common sense, it contributes nothing.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Otto's picture

October 03, 2015 at 12:42 am

PFF needs to have their keyboards taken away. Give them their inhalers and send them outside to play.

Analysis beyond your ability to understand the game.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.