From now until the start of camp on July 26, we'll give you one juicy nugget per day to whet your appetite for the return of football. We'd give you more but the CBA forbids two-a-days. Sorry.
Pressure? What pressure?
The NFL is about the passing game. On offense, it's about throwing the ball and exploiting mismatches. On defense, it's about getting to the quarterback before he can exploit those mismatches.
That's where Aaron Rodgers is in a league of his own.
ProFootballFocus.com recently conducted a study of how quarterbacks handled pressure over the last three years. Rodgers ranked second in sacks (115) and fifth in sack percentage (22.7). That kind of pressure is supposed to rattle a quarterback to his core. Not Rodgers, though. Over the last three seasons, he's faced pressure on 507 dropbacks. Yet he threw just seven interceptions — a league-best 1.4 percent interception rate. His 66.8 percent accuracy rate — a hypothetical completion percentage with dropped passes, throwaways and hit-while-throwing plays taken out of the equation — ranked second.
Here's the kicker and lends some insight into Rodgers. From 2008 through 2010, Rodgers threw 15 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions while pressured. In 2010, even as the Packers won the championship, Rodgers threw four touchdowns but six picks. In the Super Bowl, he completed 4-of-12 when pressured by the attacking Steelers.
Rodgers is famously silent on what he focuses on during his offseasons but he must have spent time throwing under duress. Last season en route to winning the MVP, Rodgers threw four touchdowns and no interceptions while pressured. He was one of three quarterbacks to not throw a pick. That's huge. Throwing away the football isn't glamorous and taking sacks will put a quarterback on the wrong end of the highlight reel. However, throwaways and sacks are better than turnovers, which are what wins and loses most games.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.