Even with OL solidifying, Aaron Rodgers still wants ball coming out on time

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Getting back All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and starting center Josh Myers in Week 18 might have given Aaron Rodgers some extra time in the pocket to start the season finale, but the Green Bay Packers quarterback is still committed to getting the ball out on time and playing fast and decisively as a game manager.

Rodgers averaged 2.59 seconds from snap to throw in 2021, per Pro Football Focus. It represented the quickest he’s gotten the ball out of his hands over a full season since he became the starter in Green Bay, and only six other starters were quicker in 2021.

“I like the way this is going. I enjoy getting the ball out,” Rodgers said Wednesday when asked if the returning players on the offensive line could allow him to extend plays a little bit more. “This is a different system. So no, I’m not going to flip a switch and start hanging onto the football more. That’s not how I want to play. That’s not how we’ve played all year. The ball was coming out pretty good on time, and that’s how we want to keep doing it.”

Rodgers finished second in the NFL in passer rating when getting the ball out of his hands in 2.5 seconds or less, per PFF. He completed 76 percent of his passes and threw 22 of his 37 touchdown passes.

Not only was Rodgers efficient and productive when getting the ball out of his hands, but the decisive playing style greatly aided a patchwork offensive line. The Packers didn’t have Bakhtiari for the first 16 games. Myers missed 10 games with a knee injury. Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL in November and only played in eight total games in 2021. Billy Turner missed the final four games of the season.

Even without key players along the offensive line, Rodgers still threw 20 touchdown passes without an interception over the final seven games.

In past offenses, Rodgers often made spectacular plays by buying time and extending plays outside the pocket. Now 38 years old, Rodgers is playing his best football when throwing on time and operating from the pocket. Getting the ball out of his hands is engrained into the offense brought to Green Bay by Matt LaFleur, who has turned Rodgers into the game’s best distributor of the football over the last two seasons.

Rodgers joked that Bakhtiari thought he was purposefully extending plays in the first half in Detroit to test the left tackle in his return. That wasn’t the case, and Rodgers wants the ball out quick to get the ball to playmakers and protect the offensive line.

Constantly improvising is out. Playing on time is in. The swap has been one of the biggest factors in Rodgers’ re-emergence as one of the game’s best players.

List

Which Packers players set new career-bests in 2021?