Aaron Rodgers is coming off a 49-sack season in which he was hindered by a bum leg, his line was banged up for stretches, 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 just seven games (22).
Cincinnati Bengals edge rusher Carl Lawson took Rodgers down 2.5 times in Week 3 of 2017, a six-sack day for the defense. The defensive end told NFL Network's Good Morning Soccer on Monday which Rodgers is really simpler to sack than various other QBs regardless of his freedom because he's always on the lookout for the big play.
"Honestly, I think that it's a lot easier to sack Aaron Rodgers than most quarterbacks," Lawson said. "He sits there, and he pats the chunk. At the exact 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 is an easier quarterback for me to sack , since he sits there, and he probably gets eight to ten yards at the pocket. He has a great left tackle in (David Bakhtiari). He sits there, he waits, he waits, becoming that read. When he gets sacked, he does not get flustered. I only saw him get frustrated possibly one time when I did bag him, which was the next and a half sofa that they took off (negated by a penalty)…"
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Rodgers gunning for the big play was one gripe of this Packers QB the last few seasons as the group did not live up to expectations. Taking sacks is not 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 2 above the 45-sack mark. Packers fans are used to viewing QBs sacked through time, together with Brett Favre holding the all time listing of 525.
For years, the Packers were willing to trade the sacks for the big plays. When Rodgers had been divebombing defenses, the tradeoff worked great, along with the dab plays defeated the negative ones — as Lawson noted, the Bengals lost to Green Bay at 2017 despite six sacks. In a discombobulated offense, like we watched for long stretches last time, the sacks stung.
With the change from McCarthy to new trainer Matt LaFleur, Green Bay is hoping a more diverse offense will always scheme quicker options for Rodgers. How this plays out will be one of the most fascinating subplots into the 2019 NFL effort.
So if Rodgers is easier to sack, which QBs are harder to take down?
"The roughest to sack? Those young quarterbacks that offensive coordinators prefer to shield," Lawson said. "Maybe a (Mitchell) Trubisky, or somebody like this. The men that sit maybe like five (steps), receive the quick reads. The men that are like — I'm not calling them not elite or nothing like that — but the guys that sort of have more help in their crime than opposed to (men like Rodgers).
"And Tom Brady. I have not sacked him or played , I have only watched him. I watched the movie and enjoy'Oh, he is getting out that in like 1.9, 2 (seconds).'"
To recap: QBs that grip onto the ball are easier to sack. Ones that make it out quick are more difficult to take down.
Sounds about right.
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