Monday, July 25, 2011

Aaron Rodgers: Ability on his feet

I find this diatribe quite telling, to single Aaron Rodgers out for playmaking on his feet. This elevates him above Manning and Brady, one author believes:
What Brady and Manning have on Rodgers is they’ve performed great and won big over long careers. Rodgers still faces the test of time.

But Rodgers has something neither Brady nor Manning ever have had, and that’s the ability to make plays with his feet. In the last two seasons, Rodgers has rushed for 672 yards, which is second in the league over that time, behind only Michael Vick (771 yards in seven fewer games). At ages and 26 and 27, Manning rushed for only 174 yards and Brady only 91.

Running can be a double-edged sword, because it also leaves a quarterback vulnerable to big hits, and the greatest threat to the Packers the next couple of seasons is the two concussions Rodgers suffered last year. Brady and Manning, while lacking playmaking ability outside the pocket, are masters at sliding in the pocket to avoid rushers and quickly getting the ball out when they can’t avoid, as their sacks numbers show. Manning has been sacked an average of only 17.8 times a season in his 13 years as an NFL starter and never has missed a game. Brady has averaged 27.1 sacks in his nine seasons as a starter.
If you actually watch Aaron Rodgers on the run, it's timed- it's almost premeditated. He finds a hole on his way to the endzone and somehow floats into it. Rarely do you see him rushed. Rarely is it anything more than a few feet in the RedZone, ball in a one-handed palm grasp, and held over the goal line for 6 points.

It will be this effort, not the frantic scrambles of his predecessor, that I think the coaches will include in their playwriting. Sure, the ill-fate of a Michael Vick rushing high and tackled to season-ending injury is a possibility.

But with the smarts like Manning and the cool like Brady, I think Rodgers will best them all.

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