YAC Attack: The Breakdown

Cobb (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY)

Why are the Packers so good after the catch? Because they're so hard to tackle once they get their hands on the ball, as these great numbers demonstrate.

Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of the era.

It’s when his receivers get the ball in their hands that the real magic happens.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Green Bay ranked third in the NFL last season with missed tackles forced in the passing game. That was accomplished with Jermichael Finley missing the final 10 games — he tied for seventh among tight ends despite his lengthy absence — and the lack of a Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy adding that elusive presence out of the backfield.

The strength was in the wide receivers. Even with Randall Cobb missing 10 games with a broken leg, the Packers’ receivers led the NFL by forcing 43 missed tackles. Cincinnati and Indianapolis were a distant second with 34, according to Pro Football Focus. Jordy Nelson (12), Jarrett Boykin (12) and James Jones (10) formed the only wide receiver trio in the league to force at least 10 missed tackles. In fact, only Cincinnati and San Diego had two receivers in double digits.

“That’s one of our goals, continue to improve in the one-on-one battles, make the most of every opportunity,” receivers coach Edgar Bennett said last year. “When you look at yards after the catch, that’s a big part of it. Obviously, catching the ball is primary, you have to do that first. But then what? What are we getting on our own? That’s what we’re measured by.”

YAC is a badge of honor for the receivers. Get tackled by the first guy, and he’s sure to be badgered.

“Oh, yeah, definitely. You don’t want to be tackled by the first guy,” Nelson said. “You’ll get more grief about that than anything. You want to make sure you do your best to make the first guy miss.”

Green Bay also led the league with a combined 58 missed tackles from their receivers and tight ends. Assuming he’s not re-signed, Finley will be missed in this area. Finley forced 10 misses in 25 catches. Quarless (three in 32 catches), Brandon Bostick (two in seven catches) and Ryan Taylor (zero in six catches) combined for five missed tackles in 45 receptions.

In the backfield, Lacy tied for 33rd with five, even while finishing seventh in the NFL (all positions) in yards after the catch per catch. Green Bay got a combined nine misses from its backs in the passing game. Twenty-two individual backs forced at least that many, led by McCoy and Pierre Thomas with 22 apiece.

The chart, with numbers from ProFootballFocus.com, shows missed tackles forced by receivers, tight ends and running backs. Teams are listed in order of the combined receiver-tight end total. Running backs are taken into account in the final two columns.

Team WRsTEsTotal(RBs)(Total w/RBs)
Atlanta328404080
Cincinnati3423572077
Green Bay431558967
Chicago2523481967
Indianapolis344382967
San Diego2914432366
New Orleans712194362
Kansas City253282957
Denver2312352156
Detroit283312556
Jacksonville2113342256
Pittsburgh354391352
Minnesota289371451
Dallas246301848
Arizona244281947
Philadelphia178252146
Carolina254291645
N.Y. Giants305351045
Tennessee27734842
Seattle235281341
Miami171633639
Buffalo145191938
New England233261238
Cleveland195241337
San Francisco22931637
St. Louis168241135
Washington20727835
Baltimore185231033
Houston134171431
Oakland6282331
Tampa Bay143171229
N.Y. Jets87151126

Source: Pro Football Focus


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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