GREEN BAY - It might seem elementary, the longer the quarterback, in the Packers case, Aaron Rodgers holds the football the more chances the defense has to get to him.
You don't need a stopwatch to know Aaron Rodgers has a quick trigger. According to Pro Football Focus, in the Packers 2 wins, Aaron Rodgers has gotten rid of the ball 2.5 seconds or less on 51 of 76 attempts or basically 2/3 of the time. So why is 2.5 the magic number?
Packers’ offensive coordinator Tom Clements explained, "Because in about 2.6 the line gets there. It's difficult when you try to hold the ball to stay in manageable downs and distance situations. We like to get the ball out quick but we'll also take our shots down field."
Getting rid of the ball quickly is nothing new as Rodgers pointed out it's even a point of emphasis. "If you've seen our practice Mike has put the siren out there at 2.5 seconds they start to go off a little bit so you have 2.5 seconds to get the ball of before those sirens start to go off. It’s like you’ve got lasers in your eyes," Rodgers joked
Coach Mike McCarthy said that the opposing defense has a lot to say with when the team uses quick hitters but it also requires feel from play caller and quarterback.
"It's important to be in tune with that time clock and be able to extend plays, when to extend plays, the reaction to the perimeter and the offensive line when the play is extended," McCarthy said.
Randall Cobb said amongst the receivers it’s a matter of personal preference whether quick hitters or the deep ball are better. "Some guys like going deep some guys like catching the ball quickly and makings something happen with it. Me personally, the faster I get the ball in my hands the more I feel like I can do with it," Cobb said.
The skill position players aren’t the only ones affected by the philosophy. The Packers saw their sack totals climb each of the past three seasons, topping out with 51 in 2012. Through four games the Packers have given up 11 sacks, even with two inexperienced tackles.
The linemen say they don’t worry about how quick the ball’s coming out. They’re more concerned with dominating whoever’s in front of them.
“We're not just hoping and praying that he gets the ball out before our guy beats us,” center Evan Dietrich-Smith said. “We're making sure we do our job in the protection game so if he has to scramble or make something happen with his feet he's not so under duress that he can't get out of the pocket. It's just a nice thing that he's had favorable reads and is able to get the ball out of his hand."
Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari added, “I don't really think about, alright it's been 2.3 the ball better be out right now. I'm going to block my guy as long as I can. Sometimes it's 4 seconds sometimes it's 1.5 seconds. I'm just hoping the times it's 1.5 seconds is when Aaron's got his quick ball out."
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