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Aaron Rodgers Excels Despite Defensive Pressure

We get a detailed look at how Rodgers compares to other NFL quarterbacks when faced with pressure from different areas of the offensive line.

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Andy Lyons

If you aren't a premium user at Pro Football Focus you are truly missing out. Pro Football Focus is one of the best sites for a number of different rankings and statistical analysis. They break down every play by every player on every team throughout the course of the season and rank them to see who is the best at their positions and what teams excel at the different aspects of football. We certainly use their stats regularly, and while it's not an exact science, PFF's grades are highly valuable for comparison.

Today I came across a very interesting break down of the quarterbacks in the league. Pro Football Focus examined how each NFL quarterback fared against pressure coming from all places: their blindsides (LT or RT), left guard, center, right guard, unblocked pressure, and no pressure at all. I was under the impression that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers couldn't be more impressive thus far in his career — that was, until I looked at this particular break down.

It's no secret that Rodgers gets sacked a lot. In fact, Rodgers has been sacked 211 times since becoming the Packers' starting quarterback in 2008, by far the most of any quarterback in that time frame. Rodgers' stats, however, haven't suffered at the hands of his poor offensive line play.

According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers was the best quarterback in the NFL when facing pressure from both the right tackle (Bryan Bulaga and Don Barclay) and left tackle (Marshall Newhouse) in 2012.

When facing pressure from the left side, Pro Football Focus gave Rodgers a +15.7 rating, which was 0.7 higher than New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who had the second highest grade. When facing pressure from his blindside, Rodgers complied a quarterback rating of 83.8 with four touchdowns and just one interception.

However, when Rodgers was facing pressure from the right side his performance was even better. He was given a grade of +23.8 and threw seven touchdowns and just three interceptions with pressure coming right in his face — a 97.7 quarterback rating.

Rodgers was also the highest rated quarterback by PFF when facing "any pressure." Rodgers managed a 78.1 quarterback rating and PFF grade of + 29 — 19 more points than Russell Wilson's + 10, which was second best in the NFL.

Rodgers also ranked second best, behind Drew Brees, in the NFL when facing no pressure at all. When facing no pressure, Rodgers had a quarterback rating of 113.6 (the highest in the NFL) and has thrown 157 touchdowns to just 36 interceptions since the 2008 season facing no pressure. Rodgers also finished in the top 10 in each of the following categories: pressure from the left guard, pressure from the right guard and pressure from the center in 2013.

These are just a few more reasons why Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's best quarterback.

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