How Taking Pressure off Aaron Rodgers has made him – and this team – better

While comparing both the 2018 and 2019 Green Bay Packers are like comparing night and day, they have characteristics to each of them that are worth looking at, especially on the offensive side of the ball. With the defensive unit looking much, much better, that helps take the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers, who had been expected to carry the team all by himself in the past.

Last season through 10 games, Rodgers threw for 3,073 yards, 19 touchdowns, 1 interception and was sacked 25 times on his way to earning a 104.0 average passer rating and a 4-5-1 record. Through the first 10 games in 2019, Rodgers has thrown for 2,718 yards, 17 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, been sacked 22 times and has a 101.5 average passer rating, but the real difference-maker is the 8-2 record.

He has thrown for 355 fewer yards, one more interception and been sacked three fewer times this season, but his passer rating has also decreased by 2.5 points, which actually is a testament to how much better other facets of the Packers have been performing so far this year. Having to throw the ball fewer times during the game (385 total, 38.5 average per game in 2018 versus 347 and 34.7 average in 2019) is small yet important in terms of the gameplan and how the offense operates.

By feeding the ball to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams on a higher frequency of snaps, Rodgers is now able to better analyze the defense, check into a different type of play and have more faith in what is going to unravel, instead of how it normally happened last season where he had to do everything, from calling the play to making line checks to instructing wideouts what routes to run.

The new coaching staff has efficiently worked with Rodgers and his experienced pedigree to help tailor the offense and its weapons more to its strengths, rather than to what it has relied on in the past. Through jet sweeps, motion, touch passes, and screens, the Packer offense is rolling out its toys in different fashions each and every week, keeping Rodgers fresh, hungry and motivated, but most importantly, healthy.

By not having to chuck the pigskin around in upwards of 40 to 50 times a game, ARod can sit back in the pocket behind his much-improved offensive front, scan the defense and make sure that the reads he is getting are what is going to maximize the ball movement down the field. Even with Davante Adams missing a good chunk of the season so far and the rest of the receivers not picking up the slack, combined with the failed emergence of Jimmy Graham at tight end, Rodgers has looked to be more of his MVP self this year, even if his stats do not necessarily state that case.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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