Edgar Bennett is Mike McCarthy’s greatest coaching asset


Edgar Bennett has become one of the Green Bay Packers‘ greatest coaching assets and the reason why this team’s passing game continues to fly high season after season.

Bennett, who spent several years as the team’s running backs coach before taking over as the team’s receivers coach, is one who doesn’t search out the glory, but goes about his business without much credit for what he has brought to this franchise … much like how he carried himself as a player back in the 1990s.

It wasn’t so long ago that the talk about wide receivers in Green Bay – despite the fact that they have had Hall of Fame-caliber quarterbacks – were the drops that seemed to occur at all the wrong times.

Not so much anymore.

Green Bay Packers receivers coach Edgar Bennett during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports photograph

In a recent mailbag answer to a question, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky included this nugget:

"According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Packers’ drop percentage is on pace to be the lowest that it has been in coach Mike McCarthy’s nine seasons."

That’s pretty remarkable – a statistic that could be attributed directly to the fact that the Packers have one of the most sure-handed receiving corps in years, but should probably be attributed to the coaching philosophy of Edgar Bennett.

In 2014, Packers receivers have dropped only 3.5 percent of the passes thrown their way. And considering the lasers that Aaron Rodgers throws, that’s a statistic that will carry this team a long way.

Compare that to 2012, Bennett’s second year as wide receivers coach when the team had a drop rate of 6.8 percent – tied for second-worst in the NFL.

But even more significantly, take a look at the drop rates between 2009-12, as compiled by Pro Football Focus

During that time span, it was James Jones and Donald Driver who were the team’s worst offenders.

Out of 139 catchable passes, Jones dropped 20 between 2009-12; Driver dropped 22 passes of the 179 catchable passes thrown his way.

In 2012, the team’s worst offender was Jermichael Finley, who dropped six balls in 89 targets – and who can forget that playoff game at Lambeau against the New York Giants when Finley had the butterfingers?

In 2013, it was Bennett whose attention to detail helped turn things around.

Here is how he explained it in an article during early 2013:

"“It’s always about what you emphasize, and that’s looking the ball in so we don’t have that occasional, take your eye off the ball worrying about where you’re going to advance the ball to. I think it’s just more about focus and being fundamentally sound as far as looking the ball in.”"

This year, the drops have been few and far between.

Randall Cobb leads the team with five drops in 90 targets and Jordy Nelson has three in 112 targets. Fourth wide receiver Jarrett Boykin has two drops, as does backup running back James Starks, while rookie Davante Adams has just one drop in more than 50 targets.

Incidentally, Eddie Lacy has zero drops in 39 targets.

Add in a drop by Andrew Quarless and one by Julius Peppers in the end zone at New Orleans and you’re looking at 15 drops in 2014.

However, three of those drops – ricochets off receivers’ hands – have been intercepted.

In the end, any way you slice it, the Packers have been steady and committed to fundamentals when catching the football – a pretty important fact when you look at the Packers’ offensive strategy and the importance of catching the football.

No doubt their success in hanging onto the football is a huge reason they sit at 9-3 at this point in the season.

It’s also pretty clear that Edgar Bennett’s coaching influence has had a huge impact … and the reason he’s become one of, if not the greatest coaching asset on Mike McCarthy’s staff.