Friday, January 2, 2009

Favre Throws Picks, Rodgers Takes the Sack

That's one interpretation of the year-end statistical review written up by Bob McGinn this morning.  For numbers nerds there are lots and lots of interesting tid bits.  Here are some of them and some possible conclusions:

Favre Throws Picks, Rodgers Takes the Sack

McGinn writes:

Opponents blitzed (rushed five or more) on two of Rodgers' 13 interceptions (15.4%), a major drop-off from last season when 52.9% [8 of 15] of Favre's picks came against blitzes.

On the other hand:

Aaron Rodgers was charged with 9½ sacks, whereas Favre was responsible for just three in 2007, 2½ in '06, three in '05 and 3½ in '04. He did have 10½ in '03 and 10 in '02.

It's impossible to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison because we don't know how many of the sacks came on blitzes.  But we do know that there was likely pressure on the blitzes resulting in INTs and we definitely know that there was pressure on each play resulting in a sack (unless the QB just fell down/fumbled).  Nevertheless, it appears to be the case that when pressured, Rodgers is more likely to take the sack and Favre was more likely to throw an errant pass.  Not really earth shattering.

It's Time For A New Left Tackle.

Chad Clifton has been a solid to good player (occassionally very good) for the Packers for a long time, but it's time to move on.

Clifton, with 25, led the line in "pressures" allowed. A "pressure" is defined as a sack, knockdown or hurry allowed. The 25 also is a career high for Clifton.

Clifton was also tied for the second most penalized player on the offense.  I have no idea if the Packers can move Clifton around on the line.  Maybe try him out at right tackle if Tauscher doesn't return.  I just don' t know.  But I don't think Clifton was good enough this year and I doubt he is going to be better next year.

I know a lot of fans are going to want the Packers to draft defense with that number nine pick, but I think they will be better served in the long run drafting a franchise left tackle. This is just my gut talking.

The Packers Missed Jenkins More than Fans Realize.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that the Packers missed Jenkins mainly because it reduced the depth along the line.  Statistically, however, Jenkins seemed to be on the verge of having one of the best seasons for Packer defensive linemen in recent seasons:

Jenkins had 19 "pressures" (defined as the total of sacks, knockdowns and hurries) before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury in the second half of the fourth game. At that rate, he was on pace for 76, which would have broken Kampman's record of 58½ last season. The Journal Sentinel has recorded this statistic since 1998.

The good news is that Jenkins should be back next season and I would expect he should come back strong.  He is recovering from a pec injury and thankfully not a knee injury.  So even without any offseason moves, the Packers will get a boost on their defensive line.  They still need more bodies, but I'm not completely convinced that the defensive line is in as dire shape as fans currently think.

Odds and Ends

  • Bush is terrible.  He can't tackle and he draws more flags in fewer snaps than almost anyone else on the team.
  • "Excluding five clock-stopping spikes, Rodgers threw away 19 passes. Favre, who didn't throw away a single pass in 2007."
  • Poppinga led the team in tackles for a loss.

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