Watching Aaron Rodgers play quarterback is the most satisfying experience that the NFL currently has to offer, so we’re gonna go ahead and keep throwing confetti on him on a regular basis. We’ve been over his arm strength and ridiculous accuracy, but last night’s performance was all about that other thing he does better than any quarterback in the league: moving in and out of the pocket.
Here are two representative plays:
The best thing about both of these clips is the accompanying crowd noise. Everyone in that stadium is completely captivated by even the slightest bit of movement from Rodgers. They react to him scurrying out of the pocket like they’ve just seen a magic trick.
“Magic trick” isn’t really the right way to describe those plays, though, because that descriptor suggests a level of effort and trickery that doesn’t quite fit with what Rodgers is doing. He’s not directly fooling anyone; he’s instantaneously adapting to the environment around him in a way that makes it seem like he can see three seconds into the future.
Even though the first play up there ends in an incompletion, I like it even better than the second one, because Rodgers never once stops looking downfield. He feels both blitzers rush past him; he feels Tamba Hali circling back around on his left side; and he serenely escapes into the one area that was still safe without ever taking his eyes off his receivers. This is what it looks like when a quarterback has completely mastered his position.