Green Bay Packers: How Much Does Aaron Rodgers Benefit from the "YAC Attack"?

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IJuly 3, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Jordy Nelson #87, Greg Jennings #85 and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after an 8 yard touchdown pass to Jennings against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Any NFL quarterback will tell you that he benefits greatly when his receivers are athletic enough to earn yards after the catch. Put Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers firmly in that group.

With the help of Cold, Hard Football Facts contributor Luis DeLoureiro, I ran the numbers on the league's top receivers in average yards after the catch (AYAC), a stat we came up with to quantify just how efficient a receiver is after the catch.

The numbers were eye-opening, but there's one interesting piece of information that jumps off the page. Three Green Bay Packers wide receivers ranked among the top 25 receivers in AYAC.

Only two other teams—the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers—had two receivers on that list.

Many would expect to see Greg Jennings on the list, but most would probably be surprised that he was third among Green Bay's AYAC elite. Jennings came in at 13th, while James Jones and Jordy Nelson came in at seventh and eighth, respectively.

The numbers, quite simply, are outstanding: Jones, who earned 13.6 yards per reception, averaged 6.08 AYAC; Nelson earned 12.9 yards per catch and registered 5.89 AYAC; Jennings tipped the scales with a whopping 16.6 yards per catch and 5.74 AYAC.

In numbers to be revealed next week, Green Bay's offense generated 48.96 percent of its total receiving yards through YAC, two percent more than the league average. Green Bay's pass catchers ranked No. 8 in the league with 6.06 AYAC. That's 0.65 YAC more than the league average.

None of this is to imply that Rodgers is overrated—it shows quite the contrary. The fact that he understands how his offense best functions, and is able to get the most out of it is a testament to his quarterbacking fundamentals. He knows how to find the open guy, trusts them to get the extra yards and usually it works out well. They ranked sixth in the league in passing first downs.

Those fundamentals also helped Rodgers rank second in the league in yards per pass attempt with 8.3, while also ranking seventh in passing yards with 3,922.

But Rodgers can do more than just complete the dump-offs and quick slants. At 12.6 yards per completion, not even half of his yards consist of YAC. Green Bay's receivers are monsters after the catch, but the vertical passing game is also in their repertoire.

That's what makes them one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL

All in all, Rodgers is a talented quarterback running an efficient but effective offense with talented receivers. This offense is explosive in more ways than one.