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Packers Have Two Options to Fix Their Offense

Randall Cobb

The Green Bay Packers offense is horrible. They haven’t been good in weeks on that side of the ball, but they hit depths we’ve never seen them hit on Sunday, putting up just 140 yards of total offense at Denver.

The primary issue is the Packers’ receivers cannot get open. Randall Cobb is being double-teamed and no one else can consistently beat one-on-one coverage. Tight end Richard Rodgers occasionally does, but can’t do anything after he catches the ball (as his 8.9 yards per catch average tells us) and is a liability as a blocker.

Plus, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not throw into tight coverage. Thus, he leaves a lot of throws on the field. While this is a great strategy for limiting turnovers, it doesn’t work when your receivers just aren’t creating separation.

You simply have to take some chances and make some throws.

But let’s step away from Rodgers’ mindset for a moment. It probably isn’t going to change.

That leaves the Packers with two options to fix their offense.

  1. They can go out and acquire a player or players who can get open and make plays.
  2. They can change the type of plays that they’re running.

Now, you know Ted Thompson wouldn’t dream of acquiring a player he didn’t draft or sign as an undrafted free agent, himself. So clearly we need to focus on the second option.

One option we mentioned is to make a commitment to the running game. The Packers have two capable backs in Eddie Lacy and James Starks, and a solid running game always opens up the passing game.

It’s not that simple, though. The Packers’ pass vs. run volume is typically fairly even.

The only game so far this season in which they’ve passed significantly more was against St. Louis, when they threw 32 times and ran just 17. In every other game the difference between the number of times they threw and ran has been four, five, two, four, six and seven. That last number is actually in favor of rushes.

Plus, the Packers are still going to need to throw the ball.

That means they need to start running some different passing plays. Specifically, they need to run passing plays where they’re not relying on the receiver to get open, but are relying on the play to get the receiver open.

I’m talking about pick plays, bunch and stack formations and non-traditional alignments, such as when the Packers put Randall Cobb in the backfield.

Obviously, offensive coordinator Tom Clements does employ that last option from time to time, just not nearly enough. Plus, he’s barely used any of the other options.

Instead, the Packers are still using the formations and plays they used when they had Jordy Nelson — two receivers lined up out wide and one in the slot. This spreads the field and allows Rodgers to easily go through his progressions and spot the open receiver.

The problem is, no Jordy Nelson and no one else getting open.

What we’re suggesting is a change in philosophy.

Instead of relying on Rodgers to extend plays and find the open man, these pick plays and bunch formations rely on quick throws and the receiver to make a play after he has the ball in his hands.

It solves a number of problems.

First, the receivers would actually be open. The formations dictate that defensive backs have to play off the line of scrimmage, so they don’t run into each other when the receivers’ routes cross. The other option — Cobb in the backfield — forces the defense to either commit a cornerback to covering a running back or using a linebacker to cover Randall Cobb.

Neither is desirable for a defense.

Second, Rodgers wouldn’t have to extend plays when his protection breaks down. We wouldn’t be worried about David Bakhtiari getting shoved straight backwards or Richard Rodgers totally whiffing on a block. Aaron Rodgers takes less punishment.

The downside is, not as many big plays.

But, the Packers aren’t making big plays in the passing game anyway. They have no deep threat and they have no outside threat. The play calling simply doesn’t work with their current personnel.

It needs to be changed up.

Just listen to Broncos cornerback Chris Harris talk about covering the Packers’ receivers on Sunday.

“We basically had to cover twice. That was the plan. First you cover your guy for two-and-a-half seconds. Then you don’t stop. You figure Rodgers is getting out on the edge, scrambling around looking for a receiver after he leaves the pocket. And we were able to hang in there.”

There’s the recipe for beating the Packers offense right now.

Just stay on your man because he isn’t going to get open anyway.

It’s time to change it up. What’s surprising is the Packers haven’t realized that yet.

Their receivers have been failing to get open for weeks now.

Just look at the Patriots. Lackluster receiving corps, but Tom Brady is out there tearing it up every week.

How do you think he does that? It isn’t because he has great receivers. It’s scheme and play calling.

It’s time for the Packers to take a page from that book.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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30 Comments

  1. Big Gay Clay November 2, 2015

    Well Vernon Davis has just been acquired by the Broncos for two 6ths and a 7th. Wish we had a GM that has was aggressive. We could have made a trade like that, our 6th and 7th rounders don’t even make the team. This is our best shot to win a SB, the NFC is weak this year and I have a feeling TT is just going to wait until next year to draft a TE in the 5th round or draft another receiver in the 6th. Can someone explain to me why we are sitting 12mil under the cap? Does it roll over to next season?

  2. Big Gay Clay November 2, 2015

    Sorry the Broncos got Davis for a 6th round pick in 2015 and a 6th round pick in 2016. How do we not make a trade like that? It’s too damn frustrating.

  3. MMTTDCSUCK November 2, 2015

    TT is a dolt, an overrated GM. A frugal GM as well. MM plays favorites, always has. Micah Hyde is an excellent example of that. Hayward as well. So Janis has two great plays last week, and gets NOTHING this week? Clements is worse than MM as far as play calling. I actually thought that was impossible . . . I was wrong. DC? WTF? over 1000 motherfucking yards in two games? Even DC’s that are considered lousy DO NOT DO THIS! Take the rose colored glasses off folks. While the game is still great to watch regardless, watching coaching ineptness is frustrating. Absolutely NO ADJUSTMENTS from either side of the ball in the second half! Not calling time outs in the first half when they should have? Rodgers looking confused, then calling timeouts just before the clock runs out in the second half? WTF? MM has created a cluster fuck that is trending towards real bad . . . 77 yards passing? no run game? and when they do run good, they stop running it! Three weeks in a row of absolutely subpar performances! We were lucky to get wins versus the Rams and Chargers! We should be 4 and 3, not 6 and 1! Thank our lucky stars for that . . .

    1. Andy November 3, 2015

      yeah that is my feeling exactly, this site rejoiced when MM had the playcalling taken off him, but the reality is he was pretty decent, and never fell into a slump like we are in at the moment. about 60% of our offencive production is tied to the hard count and getting free plays. That shit is not going to fly against top quality defences or teams on the road.

      What happened sunday is the 22nd ranked passing offence went up against the first ranked, and it showed.

    2. icebowl November 3, 2015

      Good call MMTT…..
      They way I see it – Peyton and his boys were fed nonstop video highlights of Chargers-Packers game played before the Bye. They studied Phil Rivers dissecting the secondary and built off that. Had SD had a half way decent/healthy D we’d have been reading all the rants two weeks ago. Instead of criticizing people for calling it a disappointing win…

      GB coaching had the same resources (videos) available to them to make corrections over the two weeks leading up to the Disaster in Denver….

      Doesn’t look like they did anything about it….

      Cam Newton’s gotta be drooling in anticipation of working against the Swiss Cheese secondary as are Kuechly and Allen going after #12 as he looks for open targets….

  4. ferris November 2, 2015

    I think Davis is a washed up malcontent. We should have traded for him. Everyone says we…who’s we? There is the team and there is you. GB had Vernon Davis, he was named Jermichael Finley and they won a ring without him.
    This is not a Superbowl team now though, but neither were the Pats last year after the first 4 games, people thought Tommy was done. This is a good thing getting an ass kicking. They have to change things up now.

    1. Kreg November 2, 2015

      I agree. We don’t need his cancerous azz on our team. He pouts for games on end. Fakes injuries cuz he is mad his QB can’t get him the ball more. No Thanks!! We need an Ed West type. Lunch pail kinda guy.

      1. Richard November 2, 2015

        At this point, they could probably consider giving the actual Ed West a call to discuss a comeback

      2. icebowl November 3, 2015

        Anyone call Mark Chmura ?

  5. Ivomitonvikingfans November 2, 2015

    Is there really no one open? Ever? I think Rodgers has it in his head that if he can’t get them with his snap count he will just instantly turn it into a broken backyard play. I am beginning to wonder If he even considers his progressions. As far as the run game. Who’s to say runs aren’t being called only to have them checked out of. I just worry this is another year of their window wasted. Hope they aren’t to stubborn to do some serious self evaluation.

    1. jtmax November 2, 2015

      I saw guys open. Rodgers was not accurate and did not see the field too well. Peyton was very accurate on the other hand so they had role reversal last night.
      Examples: He overthrew wide open Cobb down field. He missed critical throw to R Rodgers on crossing route by 5 yards in front. He threw a screen pass to Lacy on the ground. He was way off all night. He’s in slump right now.

  6. rebelgb November 2, 2015

    No way San Fran trades VD to NFC. Deal only went through because it was AFC. Yeah yeah I know SF isnt going anywhere but what does it matter? Well if your a SF fan or in the organization with over 8 games to go you arent thinking that way.

  7. 1265Lombardiave November 2, 2015

    Joe Philbin is an offensive minded free agent… Get him again and dump Clements.

  8. packattackinmpls November 2, 2015

    Packers will not make the play offs this..Everyone can makes excuses, but this team is going south fast..Smoke and mirrors….

  9. Pack attack November 2, 2015

    Thinking it was a good thing getting bitch slapped. Feel like they have a game like this every year and typically figure it out. Also, it’s one game, to an afc opponent.

    1. icebowl November 3, 2015

      Good point

  10. jtmax November 2, 2015

    Clements probably has a ways to go to reach Josh McDaniels level. Rodgers was probably woozy from getting head head slammed so many times that he can’t see open receivers. Patriots has an uncoverable receiver named Gronkowski. Packers don’t. Clements need to just step up and learn how to be better prepared. It astounds me that there was nothing special done to try to neutralize the Broncos pass rush which is #1 in NFL.

  11. Mhmmyup November 2, 2015

    Article hit the nail on the head! For the last few weeks I have seen the defense eaten up by exactly the quick pass plays like it mentions…especially across the middle. Pack needs to take a page out of their opponents book and do what’s working for a change. We are used to having the better athletes on the perimeter but either because of lack of experience or injury that just has not been the case this year

  12. bob November 2, 2015

    great article man. I share your sentiments

  13. Snarff November 3, 2015

    Maybe McCarthy should get involved in the play calling again ?

  14. V November 3, 2015

    Here we go again, Ted Thompson’s personnel gaffes rear their ugly head. Every smart Packers fan knows that without Aaron playing his A game, this is the reality of the roster ‘ol grey skull has left us. Pathetic. Place me as your GM, hell any fan, and you’d field a better roster with a greater sense of urgency (see Denver and Vernon Davis).

    What an embarrassment. No leadership at all, no accountability. Aaron has one bad game and you see what real talent, or lack thereof, we’ve accumulated. Good thing the O Line and Clay are so good at singing and dancing in shitty movie sequels. Yeah!!!

    Conversely, look at the leadership on Carolina (next week’s opponent). Kuechly, Cam, Olsen just to name a few. I want a nasty, intimidating defense to go with my All Pro QB…not a bunch of pre madonnas. Let’s hope they prove me wrong and start showing some mental toughness and fight or this season will end like the last several– in bitter disappointment.

    1. Lynn Fuckin' Dickey November 3, 2015

      I agree you with 100% but i am laughing at pre-madonnas. Prima Donna, first woman.

    2. Big Gay Clay November 3, 2015

      I agree as well, thats not a good thing when your team is known for picking up UDFA. This roster is looking pretty pathetic, our receivers are all the same size (except for Jordy). Our corners are all small, we have no one in our secondary that can shut down a big number 1 receiver. Look at wgat Demaryius Thomas and Keenan Allen has done the last couple of games. Oh yeah and Maclin also got a 150+ with their first touchdown to a wr in 20 something games. Outside of CMIII, Rodgers, Jordy this roster is a joke

  15. DJ November 3, 2015

    Vernon Davis isnt the answer and RRodgers isnt to blame. Wholesale changes to the scheme & play calling isnt going to work either…its too late. We can tinker a little but a total revamp at this stage would be irresponsible. Must win divisional games aint the time to start experimenting. Either we find a deep threat to replace Jordy or we fade…its that simple. And with TT hording the checkbook…we’re gonna need a miracle.

    1. The Money Mike November 3, 2015

      To quote Ed Harris from The Rock, “We bluffed, they called it. The mission’s over.”

      1. icebowl November 3, 2015

        Right on !

    2. MMTTDCSUCK November 3, 2015

      Amen!

  16. Deepsky November 3, 2015

    The pick plays, rub plays, slants, dump offs, crossing patterns….the Packers did none of this in the Broncos game. The only explanation is that they were planning on doing more of this kind of stuff for the much more important Panthers game.

    1. icebowl November 3, 2015

      The Old lose one to win one strategy ….
      Looks like they used the same plan against Chargers two weeks ago and were lucky to win that…

    2. The Money Mike November 4, 2015

      Yeah if that’s what you think they did, let me know when Elvis gets here