Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Where Did All Of Aaron Rodgers's Weapons Go?

Over the past few seasons, QB Aaron Rodgers has been pretty consistent about spreading the ball around. Last season, WR Jordy Nelson led the team with 126 targets (22% of all pass attempts) with WR James Jones second at 16%. It's a little harder to rank TE and the other WR position because Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley each missed 10 games, but WR Jarrett Boykin was targeted on 14% of pass attempts and Finley and TE Andrew Quarless combined were targeted 15%.

I'd expect the top two receivers (Nelson and Cobb) to be targeted on 20-25% of pass attempts, the number three wide receiver at 15-20%, and the number one tight end at about 15%. But that's not at all what's happened so far this season.

Coming into this season, Boykin was expected to be the number three WR and he's only been targeted three times in two games (one reception). The starting TE, Richard Rodgers, hasn't been targeted a single time. Instead, 30 of 75 pass attempts (40%) have been thrown to Nelson. That might not seem like such a bad idea, targeting their best receiver 40% of the time (Cobb's at 20%), but Aaron Rodgers's yards per game are at 242.5 in 2014 (down from 268.8 in 2013) and RB Eddie Lacy's per game yardage is half of what he had in 2013. The offense hasn't been as effective when they can only count on Nelson for yards and Cobb for touchdown receptions.

I don't know why Boykin or Richard Rodgers have been invisible in the first two games, but rookie WR Davante Adams did emerge against the Jets with 5 receptions on 7 targets. Adams played little against the Seahawks in Week 1 (no targets) but if he kept up his Week 2 usage over the course of the entire season, he would receive about 20% of all pass attempt. That's the usage I was expecting from their number three receiver. Maybe Boykin is better suited as the number four receiver and Adams will move ahead of him shortly.

Whatever happens, the Packers have to find away to get more receivers involved in the offense.

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