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Packers Film Study - Aaron Rodgers' 2018 Throwaways

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Packers Film Study - Aaron Rodgers' 2018 Throwaways

On Februrary 9, Pro Football Focus tweeted out an image of their 2018 Aaron Rodgers rating, along with his throwaway numbers at the bottom.

One of the bits of information that PFF tracks is quarterback throwaways. I wanted to dig a little deeper into those throwaways to see what was behind them. I had a couple decent guesses, but I wanted real answers. Since I couldn't find anyone else breaking it down, I decided to roll up my sleeves and take a crack at it.

I went through all 59 throwaways on the season and made gifs of each one of them. From there, I watched each play on repeat. I honestly have no idea how many times I watched each one of these plays, but I'd estimate I've seen each one of them 30+ times by now. My goal was to find a grouping of categories I could put these in to help make sense of everything. At the end of this project, I had 9 categories. I will be talking about each one of those categories below. Each category will feature an example of the kind of play that made it into that category, as well as the definition for plays that would fit into that category. My judgment is subjective, but I wanted to keep it as consistent as possible throughout this process.

While I would love to post every play, inserting 59 gifs seems a bit like overkill, even for me. Maybe they'll make it up on Twitter eventually.

A huge thanks goes out to PFF Packers for sending me a list of every throwaway and when they occurred in each game. Without that list, this project would have taken much longer or it wouldn't have happened at all. Let's be honest: if it was on me to track down every throwaway on the season, it never would have happened. 

Enough of my yakkin'. Let's boogie.

Pressure At Release

Definition: Rodgers is looking to hit a wide receiver in rhythm, but pressure disrupts the timing as the ball is set to come out.

Number of Throwaways: 11 (18.64%)

In this example, Rodgers drops and pumps to the left. I believe that pump is meant to move the underneath linebacker so Marquez Valdes-Scantling [83] has room behind him. And it works! Valdes-Scantling pops open in front of the safety but behind the linebacker. It's a small window, but Rodgers has Valdes-Scantling open for a brief period. 

However, just as the throw is set to come out, pressure off the edge gets to Rodgers, which doesn't allow him to make the throw. The timing was thrown off.

There's something else at play here. After Rodgers gets away from pressure, he doesn't look to Valdes-Scantling (who is actually open while crossing the field): he looks back to the left at Davante Adams [17]. Adams is running an out-and-up and Rodgers is thinking Adams may have his man beat, especially with the safety moving to follow Valdes-Scantling. Alas, Adams was not open, and by the time Rodgers moves back to the right, pressure has cropped up again and Valdes-Scantling is near the sideline.

Rodgers still could have hit Valdes-Scantling here, but going back to Adams delayed that. I don't hate it. Adams is his guy and Valdes-Scantling is a rookie. Knowing how the coverage was shifting and knowing what Adams can do, looking back to Adams instead of following Valdes-Scantling was the right move here.

Rollout Pressure

Definition: Rodgers is rolling out on naked bootleg and finds a defender has "stayed home"

Number of Throwaways: 5 (8.47%)

Pretty much every play in this category looks exactly like this. Play action to one side, bootleg to the other. At least one defender to the bootleg side doesn't run with the action, so Rodgers turns to find a very large man attempting to remove his arms from his body. Throwing the ball away is a natural defense mechanism. It's preferable to becoming one with the turf.

Quick Pressure: Remain in Pocket

Definition: Pressure forces a quicker throw than Rodgers would like, and the throw comes from the pocket.

Number of Throwaways: 4 (6.78%)

The plays in this category all differ from each other, but the result is the same. Sometimes the pressure is up the middle, sometimes it's off the edge, but they all result in Rodgers throwing the ball away from the pocket. On this play, we see that Rodgers hasn't even set up in his drop by the time pressure is in his face. No chance to flee. No chance to do much of anything other than get the ball out of his hand.

Quick Pressure: Flee Pocket

Definition: Pressure forces Rodgers to flee the pocket before routes have had a chance to set up.

Number of Throwaways: 3 (5.08%)

This is a lot like the previous play we looked at, but Rodgers has a chance to escape here. I thought about combining these two categories, but ultimately felt that they were different enough to keep them separated. Thank you for following along with that riveting discussion.

Due to a mass of bodies collapsing the middle of the line, Rodgers is forced to flee before he has completed his dropback. He's looking for something to develop, but nothing realistic ever does. Instead of risking an interception on their own side of the field, Rodgers chucks it safely out of bounds.

Pressure is a pretty big category, but I felt there were enough different types of pressure to split them up. I also see value in looking at all pressure numbers together, which we'll get into a little later.

No One Open

Definition: Rodgers has time to throw, but no one ever gets open.

Throwaways: 21 (35.59%)

This is a perfect example of the types of plays that litter this section. Technically there is pressure on the release, but Rodgers has 5+ seconds to throw the ball before the pressure forces him to move and absolutely no one gets open. 

Rodgers Hesitation

Definition: Rodgers has a window and time, but doesn't pull the trigger and the window shuts.

Number of Throwaways: 7 (11.86%)

We've got 3 curls, breaking at the same depth. None of the routes are going into their breaks when Rodgers hits the top of his drop, but that seems like an issue larger than this post.

Anyway, he's looking at Jimmy Graham [80] in the middle when he breaks. At this time, Rodgers has a clean pocket and seems to be able to get the ball to Graham, but he hesitates. That hesitation gives the defender enough time to recover. After that, pressure breaks through and it's all over.

I'll say that this was the toughest category by far. Not only was I looking at the routes, but I was attempting to go through Rodgers' progressions with him, then say, "You, sir, missed the timing on that read." That's a nearly impossible task for me, a man sitting at a computer. 

So this was difficult, but it's also easy for me to sit here after watching the same play 30+ times to say, "The ball should have gone to this gentleman right here," while something else entirely to be on the field and seeing all these only once and in real time. 

Busted Play

Definition: A play - usually a screen - designed for one person that is derailed by either the defense or offensive execution.

Number of Throwaways: 4 (6.78%)

Rodgers looks right to try to pull the defense over before coming back to the screen on the left. The Lions linebackers read this well, leaving Rodgers to just throw the ball at the feet of the running back. With linemen releasing downfield on a screen, you can't really look for a secondary option downfield without risking an Ineligible Receiver Downfield penalty. So throwing this at the feet of the running back is the only option here.

Killing Time

Definition: A throwaway designed to run the clock.

Number of Throwaways: 2 (3.39%)

With 7 seconds left on the clock in a tie game, Rodgers didn't want to risk a potential kickoff return for a touchdown (a good thought to have, considering the state of the Packers' 2018 Special Teams play). So he drops back and flings it over the head of Adams in the end zone. There are only 2 plays in this category and they both serve one purpose: to run time off the clock.

Mason Crosby hit the game winning field goal as time expired on the next play.

Late Half Shot

Definition: With not much time left at the end of a half, Rodgers is looking for a deep shot, with a design to throw it away if it's not available.

Number of Throwaways: 2 (3.39%)

With 7 seconds left in the first half and the Packers on the edge of field goal range, Rodgers doesn't want to risk a sack. The Packers run 5 verticals down the field. If there's a bust in coverage, Rodgers would hit that for a touchdown. If you watch his head, you can see him quickly run through his progressions, left-to-right. The defense is in good position so he chucks it out of bounds. Mason Crosby made a field goal on the next play as time expired.

Those are our categories, along with an example for each. Where does that leave us at the end of all things?

And if we roll up Pressure into one category:

The Pressure category takes a slight edge over the No One Open category, with everything else trailing significantly behind. 

Let's look at a little more data, shall we? Everyone loves to talk about numbers. It's always super exciting. I know my children love it.

As I mentioned above, I attempted to assign which of these throwaways fell on the shoulders of Rodgers. As with everything else, this got a little complicated. On some plays I assigned full "blame" on Rodgers, while other plays were only assigned partial blame. I will fully admit that this is extremely subjective, but I suppose this entire exercise is subjective. Don't worry: I didn't assign blame willy-nilly. I swear this is all above-board.

In the end, I assigned blame to Rodgers for 6.75 (11.44%) of the throways, spread out over 10 plays. Given the total number of throwaways, I'd say that's not too bad. That's not too bad at all.

I also decided to look into where pressure was coming from. I got fairly simplistic with this, only giving two distinctions: Edge Pressure or Middle Pressure. I didn't get into twists or who it was against or anything like that. I can maybe get into that at some point, but I felt that was a bit too much depth to get into at this time. Let's face it: this article is long enough as it is. 

My first look is at three of the pressure categories: Pressure at Release, Quick Pressure Remain in Pocket and Quick Pressure Flee Pocket. Due to the nature of pressure in the Rollout Pressure category - namely that Rodgers is running directly into it by design - I opted to leave that category out of this.

To no one's surprise, Middle Pressure takes the cake here, accounting for the majority of pressure in those situations.

Now let's look at pressure on all plays. 

Middle Pressure once again takes the cake. Not by an overwhelming majority, but, again, some of that can be attributed to the 5 plays in the Rollout Pressure category. 

You may notice that the numbers in that second chart only equal 54 plays. That's because 5 plays tracked no pressure at all.

Here are just a couple other oddities, since I've got a bunch of data in front of me.

  • Out of the 59 plays, only 11 (18.64%) featured play action. Rollout Pressure accounts for 5 of those.
  • 45 plays (76.27%) were run out of shotgun.
  • 49 plays (83.05%) featured either a 5 or 7 step drop.
  • 36 plays (61.02%) were run from the left hash.
  • 15 plays (25.42%) featured a blitz by the defense. 7 of those plays (11.86%) ended up in one of the pressure categories.
  • 6 plays (10.17%) occurred on 3rd down with the Packers in field goal range. 5 of these were in the No One Open category. (I considered Field Goal Range to be within 53 yards, which was Crosby's longest field goal of the year)
  • Rodgers threw the ball away a total of 22 times (37.29%) in field goal range. They didn't score on 6 of those drives, with 4 of those coming in Crosby's abysmal 1/5 performance in Detroit.
  • On the drives the Packers did score, they scored in an average of 2.25 plays after the throwaway, and they scored an average of 3.94 points.
  • Rodgers had an average release time of 3.44 seconds while in field goal range, with a maximum time of 7.18 seconds and a minimum time of 0.88 seconds.
  • Outside of field goal range, Rodgers had an average release time of 3.80 seconds, with a maximum time of 9.03 seconds and a minimum time of 1.39 seconds.
  • The average release time for quarterbacks in 2018 was 2.7 seconds.

What have we learned from this?

  • 74.58% of the throwaways came as a result of either quick pressure or a result of not having anyone open.
  • When pressure was a factor, it leaned in the direction of being up the middle.
  • While some of this certainly fell on Rodgers, his culpability was less than it is made out to be. 
  • Rodgers had a tendency to release the ball a little quicker when in field goal range, but that time was still above the league average for release time.

Thanks for following along! This project was a ton of work and I still feel like I only scratched the surface. I hope you learned something from all of this. I know I certainly did. If you have any further questions on any of this, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. I have two accounts because I do not think highly of myself as a person: @DustyEvely and @All22Talk


Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack to the Future or Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or @All22Talk or email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (91) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jonathan Spader's picture

I feel like this was the best article I've read by you Dusty. It's clear that a ton of work went in to it! Thanks for an in depth analysis on something that was bugging all of Packer Nation. Helps fill in the dead time. Keep up the great work.

On a side note I'd love a follow up article on how you thought Graham, MVS, ESB, Kumero, Cobb, and Allison all performed in 2018. We all know Adams killed it.

Go Pack Go!

The TKstinator's picture

“Enough of my yakkin’. Let’s boogie!”

Spinal Tap references will ALWAYS get an ENORMOUS thumbs up from me, Dusty.

Dusty Evely's picture

Ha! Glad at least one person caught that. I tend to use it more than I should, but it's rare that people pick up on that. One of the all-time greats, man.

Rebecca.S's picture

pressure up the middle was turned up to 11.

Dusty Evely's picture


The TKstinator's picture

The next podcast should be recorded in “doubly”.

Dusty Evely's picture

Thanks dude! I put a ton of work into it, so I'm happy you dug it so much. I know I was certainly happy with the end product.

I could probably get into that at some point. My short thoughts?
Graham - I'm higher on him than most. I like what they did with him from a scheme perspective. His numbers suffered for it, but I think they did a good job with it. That being said, 2019 should be his last in Green Bay.

Cobb - I love Cobb so it's hard for me to break myself of that bias. I think he generally did good things when he was in (the Graham/Cobb route combo stuff was great). Had a case of the dropsies late, so that was unfortunate. I think he can still be an effective piece in the offense with his skill set, but you can't really count on him to be healthy.

MVS - Tremendous. I love him. Had his ups-and-downs, but that's to be expected out of a rookie. I think 2019 is going to be a big year for him.

EQ - About the same as MVS. I don't expect him to be the kind of player MVS could be, but he should be a nice, solid receiver in this offense. I'm excited to see him next year.

Kumerow - I'm not really a big fan. He seems...fine? Good speed, good hands and I like the physicality he brings. But he doesn't seem like anything too special to me.

Allison - He surprised me this year. I'm never going to be super-high on him, but he has Rodgers' trust and seemed to see things really well in terms of how the defense was playing him, so that was awesome.

Bearmeat's picture

Thanks! This is awesome stuff. Soooo... maybe the issue is that the OL/WR depth chart (and RG generally) just were poor personnel-wise and MM's scheme really was that stagnant/out-dated?

On one hand, I was thinking that perhaps a mid-tier FA at RG and a day 2 OT prospect might be enough to shore up the OL. I was personally hoping for a a cheap slot WR in FA and that was it... and this perhaps changes that.

On the other hand, MLF's offensive system may take care of both the release times/pressure problems and getting not-special WRs open quickly. Something that MM's offense was never designed to do...

Coldworld's picture

I think it would’ve fair to say that we were missing veteran savvy on broken plays or where no one was open. What stood out for me, other than the key take on responsibility, is the number of “no one open” plays. One would expect some of these, but it ties with my in season perception that one could basically guess what the Packers were going to do in certain field positions and out of certain personnel in terms of route.

Other than experience, I don’t take too much out of this from the receivers. What I do take is persuasive confirmation that our line needs to be improved at RG and in terms of depth quality and that if it is, there is a much better chance that Rodgers will be his old self, especially if we can create more uncertainty resulting in more missed coverages.

Really interesting article. It leaves me feeling better about Rodgers’ state of mind and about the departure of MM (something I was only a last minute convert to admittedly).

Dzehren's picture

I was thinking the same thing.

jannes bjornson's picture

Thank you for all of this detailed presentation. Hopefully, this will Quiet some of the naysaying "experts" and their incessant Rodgers bashing on the tossaways. He's not Favre forcing the issue with a chance for a pick. The risk -reward assessments by Rodgers are straight up stellar. Get this guy some impact players around him on offense.

freddisch's picture

Great work and article. Strengthening OL and young receivers refining their routes and timing should help

The TKstinator's picture

Sun’s out?

Lare's picture

Improve the offensive scheme, line, WR's, TE's and RBs. You've invested a ton of money in your QB, give him some support & weapons!

The TKstinator's picture

Up with everything?

albert999's picture

Unreal article!
The Packers front office and all offensive coaches including LF should have to read this today. Rodgers also needs to read this with all offensive players.

Madfan's picture


Thank for doing this. Truly awesome work.

I'm going to read it three or four more times to absorb more of the many comments you made.

Dusty Evely's picture

Thanks man.

Handsback's picture

Excellent work Dusty. Another publication had Rodgers with the longest time to throw before pressure at 2.74 seconds. Entering that data into these throwaways....makes me think the Packers didn't do enough route development and/or the shorter/dump-off passes.

PeteK's picture

Herculean task completed. Thought that most of the season. Where were the slant routes and other quick hitters which were always a staple of our two minute offense which served to soften up the defense.

Dusty Evely's picture

From what I saw, they ran more slant/flat than any other route combo. The problem is that they only had a few variations and when defenses sat on that, the Packers didn't have the ability to make them pay. That should get better with the young receivers having a year under their belt.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I agree with Doug and so does Brett Favre

Doug Niemczynski's picture

They should be counted as interceptions for every 4 you throw out-of-bounds , so that's 15 interceptions Aaron NOT your actually you have 16 interceptions 15 +1 =16 !!

NMPF's picture

LMAO!!! Snowflake math at its finest

The TKstinator's picture

How many throwaways equal one Schrute Buck??

Bure9620's picture

60 percent of the time it works every time

The TKstinator's picture

Sex Panther!!

dobber's picture

My IQ just dropped 10 points reading this.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

So, 160 more to go.

Coach JV's picture

Awesome work!!!!

I think this article shows how Raih couldn't coach the WRs up on getting open, shedding coverage, or running precise routes.

It also shows the staleness of MM's scheme and TT's failure to stock the OL with quality players.

I think LaF's system will scheme guys open, rather than depending on the ability to run such precise and timed routes. AR might be able to dink and dunk all over the fireld in a new scheme...

We will see :-)

ILPackerBacker's picture

The best article ever on this site. Outstanding job and a real slap in the face of the John Snow imitators who like to pretend they know a bit more than everyone else.

The issue was not Rodgers.
There were issues with coaching, protection (due to a greatly over estimated OL) and WRs who were not good enough.

albert999's picture

Couldn’t agree more my friend

albert999's picture

Rodgers also holds some responsibility though for sure that you don’t seem to bring up

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Jon Snow has so far muddled through pretty well (but then, I've got a bit of a thing for Daenerys - as opposed to Emilia Clarke).

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

double post.

nostradanus's picture

Well done!

It shows how bad McCarthy was at scheming guys open.

Let’s hope LaFluer is Better

Go Pack!

The TKstinator's picture

That is all...

sam1's picture

It seems Rodgers throw away threw away McCarthys job!

Old School's picture

Throwing the ball away is much better than an interception or a sack. I think it's a sign of a good QB.

The 21 "nobody open" is interesting. For a lot of the season we played with receivers who were new to the team. After Cobb and Allison for hurt, it was mostly Adams and the newbies.

And still, only about once per game was nobody open.

ILPackerBacker's picture

Remember that the 'only once per game was nobody open' is not tracking the game play by play

it is tracking only a sub set of the throw away passes

there were plenty of non throw away passes where nobody was open
those plays would be sacks and some "50 50" passes whether completed or not completed

Old School's picture

I get your point......On several pass plays each game, nobody was open, and Rodgers either threw it away, or got sacked, or ran with it. It wasn't just 21. Add in the 43 runs, add in several of the sacks. It's more like on 10% of the pass plays nobody is open.

That actually makes more sense to me now. It would be unrealistic to assume that a bunch of rookies were never being covered.

IMO, this is another argument for resigning Cobb. I don't see how any of the other WR candidates in free agency come close to him in experience with Rodgers. Why bring in more newbies this year?

We have over $30 million..... $8 million on Cobb, $4 million on an OG, $5 million on a safety.....and we still have plenty of FA money left. Plus potentially 8 picks in the Top 112.

zoellner25's picture

45 plays (76.27%) were run out of shotgun.
49 plays (83.05%) featured either a 5 or 7 step drop

So MM had him doing many 5 step drops in shotgun? Wtf. That’s old school. Brady and McDaniels don’t do that

The TKstinator's picture

All they do is win SB’s.

Dzehren's picture

Great article Dusty! Any information on how many of the 59 were on 3rd down? Thanks

Dzehren's picture

Found it- 6 plays were on third down

Dusty Evely's picture

I've got 13 of the 59 as being on 3rd down, with 6 of those 3rd down plays taking place in field goal range.

Old School's picture

You made kind of a generous assumption on the field goal range. At 40 yards or under, Crosby is 14 out of 15. Over 40, his percentage drops to 16 out of 22.

My contention is that rather than attempt FGs over 40 yards, we'd be ahead to adopt a "4 down mentality" and either get the first down and push on to the endzone than settle for the field goal attempt. Each attempt at that range is only worth 2.1 points, and if you miss, the other team automatically gains 7 yards before they take possession.

If you run a play, even if it fails, they don't get the 7 yards. If you're successful....which you should be better than 50% of the've got a fresh set of downs in the redzone and a chance to score 7....or 8.

On those 22 FGs we did not kick, we'd have converted maybe 12 of them. And about half of them would have ended up as TDs, so six....times 7 equals 42 points, plus the six shorter FGs....that's 60 points, compared to the 48 we lose by not kicking those long FGs.

AND it shortens the game and keeps our defense off the field, resulting in fewer possessions for our opponent.

Dzehren's picture

This is the best article I’ve read about the Packers 2018 offense year to date.

Bert's picture

Great work Dusty! Thanks! Here's a problem with the Packers WRs. Outside of Cobb and Adams they have a bunch of 5th, 6th RD guys and UDFAs. On one hand we complain about the WR talent level and then on the other hand would raise holy hell if Gute "wasted" a first or second round pick on a WR rather than an edge rusher, safety or OL. It's no coincidence that Cobb, Adams, Jennings and Nelson were all second RD picks.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Treadwell was a 1st round pick Thielen was an UDFA. Aaron Jones with a 5th round pick. I thought MVS and ESB showed a lot of potential in 2018. If the right WR fell to the Packers I wouldn't be upset. The reason people think it will more than likely be defense is because that's the strength of he draft this year. Pass rushers and TEs. Weak QB, safety, and WR. I hope the Packers grab a slot WR in FA.

dobber's picture

More weapons for ARod: don't care if they're pass-catching RBs, athletic TEs, or shifty WRs.

Jonathan Spader's picture

The weapon is useless if Rodgers doesn't fire it Dobber. Have to find reliable weapons Rodgers trusts.

dobber's picture

'tis true!

Old School's picture

How about if they're running backs who can make it so he doesn't have to pass as much?

Jonathan Spader's picture

How about if they are running backs with reliable hands who are good in space so Rodgers doesn't have to pass so far?

Lare's picture

How about an offensive scheme and an offensive line that allows all of the above to happen?

Jonathan Spader's picture

For the offensive scheme we replaced MM with MLF we'll see how that goes. For the OL it takes time for draft picks to start in the NFL typically. I'm hoping Taykor and McCray can be serviceable at LG and RG. Hoping we have good health from BB at RT while we develop a replacement. Otherwise we need a big jump from Spriggs.

Since '61's picture

Excellent work Dusty. I tried to point out during the season that our rookie WRs and Graham were not good enough and that our OL was giving up too much pressure up the middle. However, Rodgers received most of the blame for the poor results of the Packers offense.

Your article validates that in most cases Rodgers made a good decision by throwing th ball away rather than risking an interception. This is good judgement by Rodgers versus the recklessness of his predecessor. Keep up the good work Dusty. Thanks, Since ‘61

albert999's picture

As you can see you have hit it out of the park in this article.
The best ever on this site and you should be hired as a scout / offensive assistant to the quarterbacks coach
i’m not kidding
Someone get this article to the Packers office/team

Jersey Al's picture

pure awesomeness...

MarkinMadison's picture

I know it would take too much work, but I wonder where that "no one is open" stat would place the Packers as a team v. the rest of the NFL. It seems WAY too high, but everything is about context.

Dusty Evely's picture

Man, I'd LOVE to dive into that, as that's something I definitely wondered about as I was doing this. If I were to guess, I'd think the rate would be about the same, but the actual number of throwaways would be lower.

MarkinMadison's picture

Meaning you think maybe #12 is less likely to throw to a covered receiver? That makes sense, giving his perennially low INT rate.

Jonathan Spader's picture

He threw back shoulder throws to Nelson frequently. He still throws to Adams when Adams is covered. It comes down to trusting the receiver and everything that goes with that. Good hands, being where you're supposed to be, etc.

Oppy's picture

In my opinion, an opinion I believe is justified by tape of other QBs across the league, a major issue is what Rodgers considers an open and "targetable" WR is much narrower than what most NFL starting QBs consider as such.

I can absolutely attest to the fact that a significant difference between the Aaron Rodgers of the last 3-5 years vs. the Aaron Rodgers of a decade ago is that the windows Rodgers used to deem "throwable" have become increasingly tighter (exception: throws to Nelson or Adams).

I would very much like to see the "nobody open" throw aways in their entirety. I personally recall viewing many missed windows where the ball should come out at the top of the three step drop (which often requires throwing before the WR makes his break) only to roll out right and throw it away after WRs are randomly scrambling about for nearly 5 seconds. That, IMO, is not a clear cut case of "WRs aren't open", but rather, there is an element of "QB did not deliver the ball on time as offense dictates" involved.

I know I wont be popular for that sentiment. While I appreciate the contribution and dedication it takes to comb through the plays (it is an amazing feat), I have seen far too much of Rodgers' not throwing to "covered" wr's, where other NFL starting QBs seem to have little hesitation throwing to similarly "covered" WRs. I have a hard time believing so many of those throw aways are solely the result of "nobody open". Part of the pro game is putting the ball into tight windows and allowing the WRs to make a play on the ball.

Dusty Evely's picture

I can assure you that "throwing to WRs in the rhythm of the offense" was taken into account. Anything that fit into what you're talking about went into the Hesitation category.
As I mentioned in the post, I may put all the throwaways up on Twitter at some point, but it's a decent amount of work to do that, so it's not likely to be anytime soon. You're free to check my work at that point, but the scenario you have brought up was absolutely accounted for.

bodei1newbie1's picture

thanks man you really put it right about a-rod and the line i guess gusty has his work cut out trying to find good guards on both side and one other thing when hundley was there and aaron got hurt he workout with his one receiver adams .My question to you is this why didn't aaron take his young receivers and workout with them after regular practices to get the timing down ?

and again thanks for the article

Jonathan Spader's picture

Rodgers did work with the young receivers but MM runs a fairly complex offense. If you look at the laminated playset in MM's hands it was a massive dbl sided sheet. The playbook needed to be simplified for the rookie receivers. It wasn't because we had Adams, Cobb, and Allison along with Graham.

Once Cobb and Allison went down the playbook needed to be simplified and it wasn't. Once Rodgers went down MM needed to tailor the offense to Hundley and it didn't happen in 2017. That's what ultimately led to MM's firing. He could run an explosive offense when everything clicked and everyone was healthy. Same as Capers on the defensive side of the ball. What can you do when Gunter is your #1 CB and you have Perry and an aging CM3 as your EDGE guys?

Lare's picture

"What can you do when Gunter is your #1 CB and you have Perry and an aging CM3 as your EDGE guys?"

Pray for more running plays?

Lphill's picture

Rodgers numbers last season were down for Aaron Rodgers but many NFL Quarterbacks never have numbers that good at all in a season.

RCPackerFan's picture

This is really well done!

This gives us some really good perspective of what really was going on in those throw away plays.

What I learned is that essentially 75% of his throw aways came as a result of quick pressure.
What I'm curious about now is how many of his 'off target' throws that weren't deemed throwaways but were incomplete were in direct result of the quick pressure.

Quite honestly, this really changes my view of needs. I think OL help just went higher on my list of needs.

RG HAS to be one of the top priority's. I also think RT needs to be addressed. I still keep Bulaga until they find a better replacement. But they have to improve the depth behind him.

dobber's picture

I wonder how much of this gets cured by a commitment to run the football and an OL that can make it happen?

RCPackerFan's picture

A new scheme definitely could improve this too.

But RG was a gapping hole all year long. They have to fix that leaking mess.

I do like McCray as a 6th OL type of player. I don't think he is a starter though. Though some of that maybe due to injuries he was dealing with? I don't know.

PeteK's picture

Supposedly, Lafleur loves to run the ball and then use playaction, which I love. McCray is a solid backup.

dobber's picture

Guys like McCray are valuable pieces when crafting active game day rosters. The only reason for him to go is if you shore up the position and find a BETTER McCray.

Old School's picture

He's only a backup until he's a starter. How do you feel about him lining up against Khalil Mack in the opener? Or maybe Spriggs?

If LaFleur is serious about running the ball (and remember, in his initial presser as coach, McCarthy clearly said "We're going to be a running team". I recall that clearly.) then we're going to see an offensive tackle taken with a premium pick. Maybe a TE who can block so we can run double TE stuff.

TXCHEESE's picture

My thoughts exactly. The real threat of the run solves a ton of the pressure issues, but I do think an upgrade on the right side of the line is needed for that. I think last year, they just didn't feel they had the horses to commit to the running game.

Gort's picture

Welcome to the "Gort" side of the draft needs.
I have often said that the 2019 draft is all about big uglies!

Jonathan Spader's picture

So instead of Gute Times we should say Gort times?

Gort's picture

Works for me!

edp1959's picture

Excellent work, lot's of detail!!!

Johnblood27's picture

very informative article, thanks dusty.

would be nice to see a similar analysis of all the throws AR made downfield into coverage or just "away" when there was a receiver open undetneath.

sub stats like side of the field and moving in the same direction would certainly shed some more light on AR's overall performance.

it seems like "official" throw away plays are a fairly small number and that there are a lot of hidden throw aways yet to be dissected.

PeteK's picture

Good point Blood, AR did not take what the D gave him on a number of occasions.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Based off of this article it sounds like Rodgers didn't take what the defense gave him based off of trust. He was dealing with knee issues which might have affected his throwing motion. He had 2 new WRs and a new TE. Cobb was almost never available. I wish he had used Williams and Jones more in the passing game. Is that on Rodgers or MM though?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

GB was middle of the pack in throwing to RBs. Did so 98 times, and ranked 19th in the NFL (102 targets of RBs is the median, so close).

Want a fun stat? Among TEs, Graham had the 6th most targets. No way he deserved that many. He was force-fed. His raw stats are misleading.

Fo' Drizzle's picture

One thing it looks like is there are 2-3 deep routes with only one safety/short route the majority of the time. It appears the way the NFL route concepts are going it's 2-3 shorter routes w/ 1-2 deep routes. I buy into the outdated route concept theory, obviously.

This was also interesting bit "We've got 3 curls, breaking at the same depth. None of the routes are going into their breaks when Rodgers hits the top of his drop, but that seems like an issue larger than this post."

I look forward to a real offensive overhaul, not just a "scrubbing" of the playbook. Even if it takes a little bit to get accustomed to.

I'm curious how often throw aways were done when there was a receiver within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage (excluding screens) and how that compares to the league average.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"We've got 3 curls...none going into their breaks when AR hits the top of his drop"

That was off of play action and a seven-step drop. Hmmm....

White92's picture

Tremendous job!

Rossonero's picture

This. Is. Awesome!!

Thanks so much for the detailed analysis.

Watching the clips makes me feel like I'm in the film room at 1265 Lombardi....I'd imagine that Matt LaFleur has had a session like this with Rodgers about the throw-aways - what went well last season, what did not go well, etc. etc.

packerbackerjim's picture

One terrific article, right up there with the best of Andrew. It reveals the need for much better guard play and instruction with the young receivers on how to come back to the WB when the play breaks down. Both of these are quite fixable this offseason.

Rebecca.S's picture

Thank you Dusty! This was really interesting, and changes how I look at the season, and how I think about Rodgers' performance. Stronger middle of the o line and scheming more quick opening routes anyone?

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