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Rodgers Review, Part 1: Internal Clock

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Rodgers Review, Part 1: Internal Clock

After re-watching every snap from all 16 starts of Aaron Rodgers' inaugural season as the full time starter of the Green Bay Packers, there are three key areas that obviously need improvement in Aaron's game if he is to take the next step. The first? Something every young quarterback struggles with to some extent - the internal clock.

Every dropback in the NFL can be broken down by how many steps the quarterback takes. You've no doubt heard many a color commentator on television talk about the 3, 5 and 7 step drop. (What they sometimes forget to mention is the fact that the receivers' patterns are timed to the number of steps the quarterback takes) Rodgers did quite well on his 3 and 7 step drops, but his internal clock on the 5 step drops definitely  needs speeding up. Another consistent problem can be seen in this clip (at the 1:10 mark) where you can see Rodgers, in what is supposed to be a 3 step drop from the shotgun (Rodgers takes 4 steps and throws in an extra stutter step for good measure) make the right read - but fail to trust it. He clearly sees both Jordy Nelson, his main read, and Deshawn Wynn, his outlet receiver, break wide open on the cross and in the flat respectively. But after pumping Wynn's way, he pulls the ball down and ends up fumbling on the attempted scramble.

Now, this is nothing new. It's a young quarterback thinking way too much. And he does a good job of learning his lesson the following week on a similar play (at the 2:10 mark). But the problem definitely did not disappear over the course of the year. Rodgers must learn to trust McCarthy's system, the drops and the receivers' breaks, and get the ball out on time. It's no secret that a good portion of the 34 sacks given up by the Packers last season were a direct result of Rodgers' indecision at times in getting the ball out. This was one of the reasons Favre was so successful in McCarthy's system. His ability to hit his dropback and get the ball out in rhythm was astonishing. Of course, 16 years in the league helped in that department.

No one expects a Favre-like release from Rodgers this season. But he must cut in half the number of sacks given up due to his holding on to the ball too long. It is just another step on his road to becoming a great quarterback. Next up, Part 2: Improving In the 2 Minute Drill

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (9) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ron La Canne's picture

Very good analysis Aaron. If Rodgers can impove in this area by 50% there is no telling just how good he will be. There is always the possibility that he is who he is and improvement may not happen.

With this obvious flaw, he led the team's offense to a good year. His own statistics were amongst the best in the league. I choose to believe he will respond and his future will be a good one.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Nice post.

retiredgrampa's picture

excellent study. I fully expect that Rodgers WILL make that next move. The rest of the NFL is hoping that he doesn't.

Dale Z's picture

Rodgers had a great internal clock, always seemed to know when the time was up and to tuck it and run.

I look forward to some "making reads" analysis. This was a popular one, that Rodgers focused on the first guy too much, yet in his first touchdown TD pass as a starter, it was his 4th read.

The kid's good. End of analysis!

PackerAaron's picture

Dale - funny enough, he tucked it and ran far too early, far too often. He admitted a big weakness when he told Madden he only reads half the field. He reads one half and then takes off. Not good. He needs to stick with his progressions. There is a Hall of Fame QB that did the same thing his first few years as a starter, guy named Steve Young. He turned out ok. Look, I agree Rodgers is the real deal, but to pretend his game doesn't need improvement is awfully naive.

Rainman's picture

I don't Expect huge improvement from Rodgers this year. Most pro players in any sport, in the position to control the play, tend not to have a large improvement the second year. They try to force what worked for them the first year instead of expanding and varying their play. Whether it is QB or Pitchers or Goal scorers in Hockey, the defence scouts and adjusts. It is year 3 where they usually become what they will be. They Vary of they Fail.

It is why the sophomore Jinx is so prevalent. See also offensive coordinators (Jason Garrett)

I hope that if He struggles this year, especially early, the fans don't push too hard.

I would have been great if we would have got him some personnel to take some of the pressure off him.

ctpack's picture

he only needed three yards for the first .take the three.he could have had it with either reciever

ctpack's picture

the ball tends to sail on him sometimes too.He did'nt play too much in college .he needs to put in more time

jeremiah's picture

besides not hitting the open check down route multiple times last season, my biggest knock on rodgers is that he just plain MISSED the throws to the RB on short dump offs way too much. nearly every time it happened was when AR was rolling to his left. he seemed to have trouble either slowing down enough to turnhis shoulders and make an accurate throw, or just plain have trouble throwing it short (sort of like a pitcher does sometimes throwin the ball to first on a short groundr). the ball often ended up floating right over the recievers head, and i can't believe more of them didn't end up going the other way for 6.

that was my one big knockon rodgers. and other han missing a few other throws that would have turned into TDs i was pretty happy with his play.everyone misses a throw sometimes.

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