Aaron Rodgers has completed 66.2% of his throws since 2009. That number becomes even more impressive when you consider how many passes his receivers have dropped. James Jones and Donald Driver rank in the bottom seven of the 61 wide receivers who had at least 125 catchable balls thrown their way over the past three years. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones has dropped 20 of 139 (14.39%) catchable balls and Driver 22 of 179 (12.29%). If you add in all the passes Jermichael Finley let slip through his fingers in 2011, I’m not sure which is more impressive – Rodgers’ still gaudy completion percentage or the self-control he showed by never criticizing his receivers.
Nobody should be surprised that Jones is on this dubious list. Despite being blessed with extremely soft hands, he’s been dropping passes since the day he arrived in Green Bay. But he’s also made a ton of big plays in the past three seasons. The former San Jose State star gained 14.6 yards every time he caught the ball and scored 17 TDs on only 120 receptions. His TD/catch ratio of 14.22% is better than those of Houston’s Andre Johnson (8.61%), Atlanta’s Roddy White (9.73%) and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (10.12%). That doesn’t mean Jones is in their class as a receiver, but it does show how valuable he is to the offense and why his occasional bout with the dropsies can be overlooked.
It’s hard to put as positive a spin on Driver’s 22 drops – five of which came in limited snaps last season. That’s because, unlike Jones, he’s made very few big plays during that time. Driver has averaged only 13.1 yards on his 158 catches. That makes the 37-year-old purely a possession receiver at this point in his career, and possession receivers simply can’t drop the ball 12.29% of the time. So why did general manager Ted Thompson decide to bring him back? Besides being a terrific leader, Driver still has a nose for the end zone. His TD/catch ratio since 2009 is 10.13% – which places him well behind Jones but above the league average for receivers with at least 120 receptions.