The NFL has gone high-tech. New for the 2015 season, every player has a tracker embedded in his shoulder pads that collects data like velocity, distance traveled and proximity to opposing players. Zebra Technologies is the company behind the tech, and the insights they provide are letting fans see the game in a whole new light.
Week 9 produced more impressive data, and many of the players behind the numbers were STACK athletes. Let’s take a look at who popped off the spreadsheet and tell you about the workouts behind their performance.
All data courtesy of NFL.com.
1. Andy Dalton: Lightning-Fast Lead Blocker
Andy Dalton’s had a stellar season so far. He’s on pace for 4,452 passing yards and 36 touchdowns. He had another magnificent game in Week 9, dissecting the Cleveland Browns for 234 passing yards and three touchdowns. But although he drubbed the Browns through the air, he recorded his most impressive next-gen stat on a running play—and he did it as a blocker!
Early in the fourth quarter, Dalton served as the lead blocker on a designed reverse to Mohamed Sanu. Having your QB be your lead blocker might not sound like a great idea, but Dalton looked surprisingly spry as he led Sanu into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown run.
On the play, Dalton reached a top foot speed of 19.06 mph, faster than any Browns defender.
Dalton builds his athleticism with exercises like the Explosive Mini-Hurdle Drill.
RELATED: Andy Dalton Explosive Mini-Hurdle Drill
2. Good Luck Guarding Brandin Cooks
The New Orleans Saints currently rank first in the league in total offense, racking up 421.7 yards per game. Brandin Cooks has a lot to do with that, having already hauled in 45 receptions for 603 yards and four touchdowns.
Cooks’s game is built around precise route-running and blazing speed, making him a nightmare for defenders.
His biggest play in Week 9 came when he burned Perrish Cox for a 38-yard touchdown.
Cooks hit a top foot speed of 21.40 mph, faster than any other ball carrier in Week 9. Back in Week 1, Cooks led the league in yards traveled from scrimmage. That’s what makes him so dynamic—he’s fast, he’s quick and he’s all over the field.
Cooks’s mixture of explosiveness and endurance is a result of his work ethic. Check out one his favorite exercises to build upper-body strength and power.
3. Carolina is Swarming Opposing Quarterbacks
Off to an incredible start, the Carolina Panthers kept their undefeated season intact with a 37-29 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 9.
Cam Newton deserves a ton of credit, but Carolina’s defense has been stepping up as well. They got after Aaron Rodgers and never let him get comfortable. Entering Week 9, Rodgers was averaging 11.87 yards per drop back. Against the Panthers, he averaged 13.86 yards per drop back. Translation? He was feeling the heat and never got to settle into a rhythm inside the pocket.
The Panthers D finished with five sacks and harassed Rogers into completing just 52 percent of his passes (well below his season average of 64.7). The Panthers defense contains a handful of beastly STACK athletes—like Luke Kuechly, Jared Allen and Kony Ealy.
RELATED: Luke Kuechly Talks Training