Peter Kings Monday Morning Quarterback article should be required reading for coaches everywhere every single time it comes out, and today's piece on Aaron Rodgers and his obsessive preparation is a great example of that.
In the piece, King points out that Rodgers threw 520 passes last season. Of those 520 attempts, only five were intercepted, and of those five, four of them were first deflected off one his wide receiver's hands. That is wildly impressive.
Rich Gannon, who has covered Packers games in one form or another for the past decade, gave his perspective on why the Pack seem to throw so few interceptions, and it starts in the meeting room with Mike McCarthy and his staff.
“I’ve been doing the Packers’ preseason games for 10 years, and I can tell you that when their quarterbacks throw interceptions, every one of them is gone over so thoroughly it’s like a crime scene investigation.”
The full article has great background on Rodgers and the Packers staff, coupled with some really detailed information that King has a unique knack for, but what really caught my eye from a coaching perspective is when Rodgers detailed the three tenets that they talk about in their meeting room:
- No premeditated decisions
- Don't make a blind throw
- Don't throw late over the middle
Rodgers also talked about the O-I-O technique that he's been taught when he gets outside of the pocket while detailing one of his interceptions last year.
"A lot of times, we get outside the pocket and we say, you need to O-I-O, which means you look outside, then you look inside and then you come back outside. You check to make sure no one is falling off on the guy you want to throw to, but also double check to see if there is anybody inside who is a better option to throw to. In that case, I just went outside, outside, outside, and I threw a good ball to Jarrett but it was intercepted by Conte there. I didn’t look inside.”
There's also something else interesting about McCarthy's approach to teaching his quarterbacks. Heading into this season McCarthy made an unconventional decision, at least by NFL standards, when he combined the quarterback and receivers job into one and put Alex Van Pelt in charge. Now the signal callers and receivers share a lot of the same meeting rooms, and they're able to see what the other sees as plays develop and as they game plan.