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Aaron Rodgers explains why Packers’ pass protection has been so good in 2020 

The Green Bay Packers have crafted a convincing case for the title of the NFL’s best pass-blocking offensive line to start the 2020 season.

Just check the numbers: The Packers have allowed just three sacks, Aaron Rodgers has been sacked on 2.1 percent and pressured on 21.2 percent of dropbacks, and they are third in the NFL in pass-blocking grade, per Pro Football Focus, and first in team pass block win rate, per ESPN. By any measure, this has been a dominant pass-blocking offensive line.

Why have the Packers been so good to start 2020?

Rodgers believes the early pass-blocking dominance is due to a combination of factors, starting with the play from the five starters along the offensive line but also including the different aspects of Matt LaFleur’s scheme and the overall performance of the passing game in getting receivers open and playing on time.

“It’s a lot,” Rodgers explained Wednesday. “It’s not just the consistent play from those guys, but I think what Matt’s been doing, mixing up the launch points, with the action, the movement and misdirection, has given us some different opportunities to throw from clean platforms. Obviously, we’ve had guys open early in the progressions. I haven’t held the ball a lot. It’s been dealing the ball quickly, finding the guys in rhythm and on time. When I have to move, it’s making the smart decision, extending it when I can extend it, or getting rid of the ball when I gotta get rid of the ball. Just putting all those things together, it’s been really good protection.”

Although the Packers have shuffled through starters on the right side of the line, the group as a whole has been terrific, with left tackle David Bakhtiari and center Corey Linsley both enjoying Pro Bowl-caliber seasons and Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick, Rick Wagner and Billy Turner all playing well in pass protection to start 2020.

LaFleur’s scheme has made life easier on the front. Not only are the Packers using more pre-snap motion, but designed rollouts, bootlegs and the various play-action concepts in the scheme can help keep a quarterback out of harm’s way in the pocket. When Rodgers mentions throwing from a clean platform, he’s talking about opportunities to throw without traffic in his face or at his feet.

Getting the ball out on time is another major factor. Rodgers, on average, has gotten the ball out of his hands in 2.46 seconds after the snap, per PFF. He was at 2.74 seconds last season and 2.75 seconds in 2018. The Packers offense is operating on time and not requiring Rodgers to hold the ball or extend a high percentage of plays.

Also, the Packers are avoiding third-and-long scenarios, which are usually hot spots for sacks.

Overall, Rodgers has only taken three sacks in four games, and he recently credited two of the three as pre-snap protection call breakdowns.

The Packers have also benefited from empty or mostly empty stadiums on the road, allowing the offense to use Rodgers’ famous cadence to keep pass-rushers off balance at the snap.

“Using the cadence has helped, just so teams aren’t getting jump off it,” Rodgers said. “We haven’t had to use the silent count, which has definitely helped us with teams worried about our snap count.”

The Packers protection will face its biggest test on Sunday in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have 17 sacks in five games and rank first in the NFL in pass rush win rate, per ESPN.

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