Aaron Rodgers is coming off a 49-sack season in which he had been hindered by a bum leg, his line was trashed for stretching, and the crime as a whole was out of whack before and after canning Mike McCarthy.
In 2017, Rodgers was on speed for 50-plus sacks despite playing in just seven games (22).
Cincinnati Bengals edge rusher Carl Lawson took Rodgers down 2.5 times in Week 3 of 2017, a six-sack afternoon for the defense. The defensive end told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Monday which Rodgers is actually simpler to sack than various other QBs despite his freedom because he’s always on the lookout for the big play.
“Frankly, I think that it’s easier to sack Aaron Rodgers than many quarterbacks,” Lawson explained. “He sits there, and he pats the chunk. At precisely the same time, sacking him don’t mean nothing if you don’t do it for four quarters. You know, he came back against us.
“I mean, he’s an easier quarterback for me to sack personally, since he sits there, and he probably gets eight to 10 yards in the pocket. He’s got a great left tackle in (David Bakhtiari). He sits there he waits, becoming that read. When he gets ignored, he does not get flustered. I just saw him becoming frustrated possibly one time when I did sack him, which had been the third and a half sofa that they removed (negated by a penalty)…”
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Rodgers gunning for the big play was one criticism of this Packers QB the past couple of seasons as the group didn’t live up to expectations. Accepting sacks isn’t just a new thing for Rodgers, that has 412 sacks in 14 seasons. Counting only his 11 seasons as a rookie, Rodgers was sacked 403 times (36.6 per season), including two seasons of 50-plus sacks and two above the 45-sack markers. Packers fans are used to viewing QBs sacked through the years, with Brett Favre holding the all time record of 525.
For years, the Packers were willing to exchange the sacks for the big plays. When Rodgers was divebombing guards, the tradeoff worked great, and the dab plays overcame the negative ones as Lawson mentioned, the Bengals lost to Green Bay in 2017 despite six sacks. In a discombobulated offense, like we watched for long stretches last season, the sacks stung.
With the shift from McCarthy to new coach Matt LaFleur, Green Bay is expecting a more diverse crime will consistently scheme faster options for Rodgers. How this plays out will probably be one of the most fascinating subplots into the 2019 NFL campaign.
So if Rodgers is easier to sack, which QBs are harder to shoot down?
“The roughest to sack? Those young quarterbacks that offensive coordinators like to shield,” Lawson explained. “Perhaps a (Mitchell) Trubisky, or someone like this. The men that sit maybe like five (steps), get the quick reads. The guys who are like — I’m not calling them not elite or nothing like this — but the guys that sort of have more aid in their offense compared to (guys like Rodgers).
“And Tom Brady. I haven’t sacked him played , I have only watched him. I watched the movie and enjoy’Oh, he is getting out that like 1.9, 2 (seconds).'”
To recap: QBs that hold onto the ball are easier to sack. Ones that get it out quick are more difficult to take down.
Sounds about correct.
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