PFF’s Top 101 of 2014: No. 2, Aaron Rodgers

Clearly the league's best QB in 2014, Aaron Rodgers claims the second spot on the PFF 101.

| 2 years ago

PFF’s Top 101 of 2014: No. 2, Aaron Rodgers

2015-101-top10-rodgersIf the PFF Top 101 took position value into consideration, there’s little doubt that Aaron Rodgers would top the list, so it’s only another epic performance that is keeping him from the top spot. But Rodgers’ play in 2014 still deserves special mention as the NFL MVP separated himself from the other top quarterbacks in the league, and he maintained that distance for most of the season.

Rodgers graded positively in all but two games, including four impressive efforts that saw him post at least a +5.0 grade. His Week 15 struggles against the Buffalo Bills proved to be an aberration, as it was his only game “in the red” the entire season.

When it comes to skillset, there’s not a better-rounded quarterback in the league. Rodgers has the arm strength and accuracy to shred defenses at all levels of the field. When the pocket breaks down, he’s extremely athletic on the move, either as a runner or a passer, and his ability to make plays outside of the pocket often slows opposing pass rushes out of fear for his big-play ability.

Perhaps the most underrated part of Rodgers’ game is the work he does pre-snap, and it’s almost unfair when paired with his physical attributes. You can often see him manipulating the snap count, getting into favorable running plays, and forcing the defense to declare their intentions earlier than they’d like. When you add it all up, you get a total package from a quarterback standpoint as Rodgers is capable of winning games with his arms, legs, and brain.

Best Games: Week 11 vs. Philadelphia (+7.2), Week 13 vs. New England (+5.0)

It wasn’t easy to narrow down Rodgers’ best game, but from a grading standpoint, his Week 11 effort against the Philadelphia Eagles was the best. The Eagles came out playing press man coverage, and Rodgers made them play with pinpoint downfield throws. Even the passes that weren’t completed were well-placed, either drawing a pass interference penalty or falling incomplete largely due to his receivers’ inability to beat cornerbacks down the field.

As for the game against the Patriots, it was a yet another example of Rodgers’ ability to make big-time throws to carry the Packers to victory. Just as he did in the Eagles game, Rodgers took advantage of single coverage whether leading Devante Adams on a double move or working through his progressions to find Richard Rodgers with a pretty touchdown pass on a deep crossing route. Even when the eventual Super Bowl champs had good coverage, Rodgers found a way to beat them in one of the year’s better regular season games.

Key Stats

rodgers ranks

No matter which way you slice the numbers, Rodgers finds himself among the best in the league. His +38.7 pass grade led the NFL while his +5.1 grade as a runner ranked third. He was by far the best quarterback in the league in a clean pocket while ranking eighth when under pressure. He was also the best when teams sent a traditional rush and he came in at fourth against the blitz. Short passes, deep passes, doesn’t matter – Rodgers was the league’s best quarterback.

Among the things that make Rodgers special is his ability to make pinpoint, downfield throws while rarely putting the ball in harm’s way. He led the league in big time throw (BTT) to turnover-worthy play (TWP) ratio, always a great indicator of the league’s best signal-callers. Every week we see Rodgers thread the needle down the field, often times while on the run, making throws only a handful of quarterbacks can make. When paired with his outstanding decision-making, you get a special player.


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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Jason Williams

    I pulled TD % and INT % and did the math on the spread for all current quarterbacks and Rodgers is blowing the rest of the league away – it’s not even close.

    Rodgers, Brady, Manning, Romo, Rivers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Luck

    then there’s a pretty good size gap and then Andy Dalton leads off the rest. Curiously, my favorite whipping boy Russell Wilson is not in the data – not sure why.

    • B_Marcus

      Because iirc, Wilson doesn’t have enough attempts to meet their baseline?

      • Jason Williams

        yah but cam newton is in there – I guess cam throws more?

        • phil

          Id say Carolina is more of a balanced offense and Seattle is more of a Power run team

          • Jason Williams


            but regardless Aaron Rodgers is AWESOME.

        • bobrulz

          Cam Newton has been in the league 1 more season. He’s thrown 1,923 passes compared to 1,252 for Wilson.

  • Mr. Duval

    Linder had a (+16.6) PFF grade over the year AND he made PFF’s 2014 Pro Bowl roster as a reserve, right next to Josh Sitton. Somehow Sitton was ranked 35th and Linder isn’t even a Top 101 player…

    Anyone at PFF willing to explain the logic here?

    • Kevin

      Sitton was ranked 4th overall and 1st among LG’s that played for at least 75% of the season. Linder was 10th overalland 6th among RG’s.

      The other 9 guards ahead of him gave up a total of 10 sacks while Linder gave up 5 by himself(also gave up 2 hits and 8 hurries. Sitton gave up 0 sacks, 4 hits, and 6 hurries. Sitton and Linder’s run grade was fairly similar.

      I don’t think comparing him to Sitton, who truly is one of the few elite guards in the league, is the best bet. I guess the question is, how many guards made the top 101. I’m assuming 9 guards didn’t make it and thats how many graded above him.

  • Malachi

    i wish i could throw a football like him, even for just one day ;(

    • Kevin

      I would be driving to the closest NFL team to tryout and would be signing a contract with massive guarantees that day.

      They would be really disappointed the next time I stepped onto a field, but for that 1 day, they would have the best QB in the NFL.

      • Malachi