Rodgers' Improved Play Reduces Sack Numbers

NFL Fanhouse blogger J.J. Cooper timed every sack recorded in the 2010 season. The results spoke well for Aaron Rodgers' development.

An oft-repeated theme throughout the 2009 season and the off-season leading up to 2010 was the tendency of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to hold the ball too long.

It would seem Rodgers, head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements have made some excellent headway in correcting the problem, at least according to the numbers compiled by J.J. Cooper, an NFL Fanhouse blogger. Cooper took on the incredible task of timing each and every sack of the 2010 NFL season.

From Cooper:

In logging the time of each and every sack in the NFL in 2010...I chose three seconds as the demarcation line because it's a pretty fair cutoff point for where a sack can no longer be blamed on a quarterback's blockers. The median sack time in the NFL last year was 2.7 seconds, just as it was in 2009. Obviously a line should be able to hold a three-man rush back longer than a eight-man all-out blitz, but for practical purposes, three seconds is the point where a quarterback should generally know that he has to get rid of the ball.

Rodgers came in with only 10 "long" sacks and 21 "short" sacks.

The full list is below:

Quarterback Team Over 3 Seconds 3 Seconds
Or Less
Total Sacks
Joe Flacco Ravens 25 15 40
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 20 12 32
Jay Cutler Bears 19 33 52
Michael Vick Eagles 19 13 32
Jason Campbell Raiders 16 18 34
Kyle Orton Broncos 15 19 34
Mark Sanchez Jets 14 13 27
Matt Cassell Chiefs 14 12 26
Phillip Rivers Chargers 13 25 38
Sam Bradford Rams 12 23 35
Brett Favre Vikings 11 11 22
Colt McCoy Browns 11 12 23
Aaron Rodgers Packers 10 21 31
Josh Freeman Buccaneers 10 9 19
Donovan McNabb Redskins 9 28 37
Matt Hasselback Seahawks 9 20 29
Matt Schaub Texans 9 23 32
Alex Smith 49ers 8 17 25
David Garrard Jaguars 8 24 32
Derek Anderson Cardinals 8 18 26
Tom Brady Patriots 8 17 25
Kevin Kolb Eagles 7 9 16
Matt Ryan Falcons 7 16 23
Ryan Fitzpatrick Bills 7 16 23
Troy Smith 49ers 7 11 18
Vince Young Titans 7 6 13
Chad Henne Dolphins 5 23 28
Drew Brees Saints 5 21 26
Jimmy Claussen Panthers 5 29 34
Jon Kitna Cowboys 5 15 20
Shaun Hill Lions 5 12 17
Carson Palmer Bengals 4 22 26
Drew Stanton Lions 4 2 6
Joe Webb Vikings 4 4 8
Charlie Whitehurst Seahawks 3 2 5
Dennis Dixon Steelers 3 2 5
Max Hall Cardinals 3 10 13
Rex Grossman Redskins 3 6 9
Seneca Wallace Browns 3 3 6
Tim Tebow Broncos 3 3 6
Tony Romo Cowboys 3 4 7
Trent Edwards Jaguars 3 8 11
Brian Brohm Bills 2 1 3
Brodie Croyle Chiefs 2 2 4
Bruce Gradkowski Raiders 2 8 10
Charlie Batch Steelers 2 2 4
Matt Flynn Packers 2 5 7
Matt Moore Panthers 2 10 12
Todd Collins Bears 2 0 2
Tyler Thigpen Dolphins 2 8 10
Bryon Leftwich Steelers 1 1 2
David Carr Texans 1 1 2
Eli Manning Giants 1 15 16
Jake Delhomme Browns 1 5 6
John Skelton Cardinals 1 8 9
Joshua Cribbs Browns 1 0 1
Josh Johnson Buccaneers 1 0 1
Kerry Collins Titans 1 12 13
Leon Washington Seahawks 1 0 1
Matt Stafford Lions 1 3 4
Peyton Manning Colts 1 14 15
Richard Bartel Cardinals 1 1 2
Tarvaris Jackson Vikings 1 5 6
Tyler Palko Chiefs 1 1 2
Brian St. Pierre Panthers 0 3 3
Caleb Hanie Bears 0 2 2
Chase Daniels Saints 0 1 1
Jordan Palmer Bengals 0 2 2
Mark Brunell Jets 0 1 1
Rusty Smith Titans 0 1 1
Stephen McGee Cowboys 0 2 2
Todd Bouman Jaguars 0 1 1
Tony Pike Panthers 0 1 1

I think its interesting that while Rodgers has improved his tendency to hold the ball in pretty dramatic fashion, Ben Roethlisberger, another quarterback who holds the ball in search of the big play, remains near the top of a list like this.

Just another example of improvement from within. Like I always say - that phrase applies to everybody on the team, not just guys who noticeably struggled the previous season, but to star players as well.

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Comments (4)

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stinkdaddy's picture

February 26, 2011 at 05:18 pm

It's interesting but it needs to include the number of attempts and sacks per attempt. Roethlisberger, Vick, & Campbell threw the ball less than anyone else at the top of that list. You can't throw the ball and be sacked on the same play, so the number of sacks need to be added to the total attempt figure as well.

Rodgers: 475 attempts + 31 sacks = 506 attempts, 1 sack / 16 att, 1 long sack / 50.6 att

Roethlisberger: 389 + 32 = 421, 1 sack / 13 att, 1 long sack / 21 att

etc.

Sack totals don't tell a lot if we don't know how many times they threw. Bradford for instance has almost 275 more attempts than Campbell.

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PackersRS's picture

February 26, 2011 at 05:50 pm

+1
I kept thinking about it looking at the guys that were sacked the least.
Most of them are backups.

The math should've been, like you said, long sacks / pass attempts + number of sacks

But that's presentation. The work the blogger did is still incredible.

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cow42's picture

February 26, 2011 at 08:16 pm

The best part is that Cutler got sacked in less than 3 seconds 33 times.

Sieve.

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TPackers's picture

February 27, 2011 at 12:20 am

It was interesting that both the Manning Brothers were almost identical in their "sacking habits" Peyton and Eli both were only sacked once in over 3 seconds and Peyton was sacked 14 times in under 3 seconds and Eli was sacked 15 times. Weird.

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