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Rob’s Rough and Ready Postseason Rules

After two years of watching from the outside, Packers fans can appreciate how special it is to become a playoff team again. I think I recently heard that over half the players on the Packers’ roster have never played in an NFL playoff game, so I have some advice to offer them – and the veterans too.

No Sliding

This is the time for each player to give his all – it’s not the time to be worried about injuries. Every time a quarterback goes into a slide to avoid contact, I figure that to be a loss of about three yards. I’d make an exception only if multiple tacklers are homing in from different directions – and it’s not yet in a critical stage of the game.

Stay Inbounds

Several Green Bay players of late have gotten the ball and immediately raced toward the sidelines. This often costs the team from three to five yards of field position, and by staying inbounds there’s always the chance of avoiding or breaking a tackle and getting a much longer run. This rule of course does not apply when time needs to be preserved near the end of the half or the game.

Guys who have gotten into the habit of heading straight out of bounds include Jimmy Graham and Davante Adams. Graham, at 265 pounds, should be mowing down defensive backs and stretching that 6’7” frame forward. Davante has such electrifying moves that the last thing he should be thinking of is pinning himself against the white stripe.

Save Those Timeouts

For much of the year, Green Bay has chosen to use up timeouts rather than incur a delay-of-game penalties. They’ve had all season to get their plays underway more rapidly, but only in the last few games have they made some progress. If it comes to it, unless it’s a third or fourth down and short, I’d often rather take a 5-yard penalty than use up a precious timeout.

Keep Your Cool

Being penalized after a play has ended is absolutely forbidden. Though emotions are heightened during the playoffs, you don’t want to be the one tagged with an unnecessary roughness penalty at some key stage of the game. And by all means, don’t be caught retaliating for some cheap shot or sucker punch that the referees don’t see.

The Packers have done a good job of reducing their penalty yardage as the season has gone on. I see they ended the year averaging 48.4 yards of penalties per game – that ranks fifth-lowest in the league. In 2018, Green Bay’s ranking was nineteenth. Our most likely opponent, New Orleans, ranks 27th in this category.

Special Teams: Be Ready

Special team members beware: you must expect to see a fake punt or fake field goal during the playoffs – as teams pull out all the stops at this time of year. I’m particularly concerned about a fake punt, as there are about a dozen ways to pull these off. The preferred method used to be a pass by the punter, but now I’m seeing a lot of snaps to a speedy blocker lined up in the backfield. Don’t tell anyone, but safety Ibraheim Campbell is the likely go-to guy if the Packers decide to fake a punt.

Blockers on the punt and field goal plays must also be extra vigilant, as rushers will be going all out on every play to make a block. Even a blocked extra point could turn out to be the difference in a playoff game.

Carry Out Your Fakes

In this era of play-action and run-pass options, fully carrying out these fakes is critical. If Rodgers hands the ball off, he needs to continue the play as if he still has the ball – he’s okay, but not great at doing this. When the ball is faked to a runner, the runner needs to continue to run at full bore and use his arms to mask whether he has the ball or not.

Imposing Your Will

Following the latest defeat of the Vikings, guard Brian Bulaga indicated that in the third quarter the Pack had begun imposing their will on the Vikes. I think he meant in large part that the relentless blocking for all those Aaron Jones runs (25 in all) wore the Vikings defense down – mentally and physically. Add in Jamaal Williams’ efforts, and the Packers RBs mauled Minnesota for 187 rushing yards in 29 attempts – an average of 6.45 yards per carry. The Packers should have a goal of grinding out at least 150 yards on the ground in each postseason game.

The last time I could find a Packers running back with more carries than Jones had in that Monday Night game was October 27, 2013, when Eddie Lacy had 29 carries against the Vikings. That too was an impressive win, by a 44 to 31 score.

There’s no better way to impose one’s will on an opponent than by a relentless and effective ground game – and the Packers have the personnel to carry out such a plan this postseason.

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones celebrates a TD

Dec 8, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”

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14 Comments

  1. Mike January 5, 2020

    It’s also nice to have a punt-kickoff return man that gets positive yards!

  2. Kato January 5, 2020

    I think Rodgers is pretty good at carrying out play action fakes actually. I think the biggest thing that can help them is to play smart football. You brought up post snap penalties, but pre snap penalties should be a focus as well. No need for false start or illegal procedure penalties to set the offense back. On defense, offsides penalties are unacceptable, I was always taught to go on the ball.
    *****
    This team may not be as talented as some other playoff teams, but if they play smart football, don’t turn the ball over, andbl don’t play too conservative, they have a shot against any team

  3. Kato January 5, 2020

    I don’t know about you guys, but watching this game, the Packers feeling they didn’t need Taysom Hill is utterly ridiculous. The guy can play football. You can never have enough football players.

    1. Mitch Anthony January 5, 2020

      You beat me to it.

      Taysom Hill: Be Ready

      If indeed the Saints are the opponent coming to town be ready for absolutely anything from this guy. In a minor way he may want to prove something to Green Bay but that aside, he is the Swiss Army knife of football players. Run, throw, block, special teams, you name it and he can do it well.

      Now if the Pack would have kept him he would have been schooled by the QB whisperer in all the interesting and creative ways one can grip a clipboard on the sidelines. As it is, the Saints have been a bit more creative with this former Packer.

      1. Kato January 5, 2020

        Catch as well. You can never have enough football players/athletes. I really don’t understand why Green Bay thought he was expendable.

  4. Mitch Anthony January 5, 2020

    Well, such is not the case. It will be Minnesota. The odds of beating a team three times in one season? We’ll see. We know each other well.

  5. Mitch Anthony January 5, 2020

    Wait no, forget it. I was messed up. Minnesota goes to San Fran.

  6. PF4L January 5, 2020

    Why wait…i’ll call it now, The Packers and 9ers in the NFCCG.
    *
    I think the Packers can squeak by Seattle at home.
    *

  7. Skinny January 5, 2020

    Brees is such a fucking fraud. The fact hes considered one of the greatest of all time is a joke. In any other era hes just a guy. He just happened to play his entire career in the passing golden years of the NFL. He takes no shit about his playoff exits. He takes no shit about his age. Lets not even talk about his BS rah rah speeches that the networks love to record to make it seem like hes this great leader of men. The truth is hes just a short, balding man with a noodle arm that’s hid behind great offenses. Rodgers will piss on Brees at the HOF. Its not even close in comparison. Rodgers is a thousand times the better qb.

    1. Kato January 5, 2020

      You are insane

  8. Kato January 5, 2020

    I like our chances against Seattle. Only a couple guys make me nervous. DK Metcalf, Jadaveon Clowney, and of course Russell Wilson. I think the Packers front seven has a huge advantage over Seattle’s offensive line, they we were beat like a rented mule today, particularly in the middle. It will come down to maintaining rush lanes and not letting Wilson escape for big plays with his legs. I think there are opportunities to run the ball on that defense as well. Metcalf will likely be covered by Kevin King, and that makes me very nervous.

    1. R. Duke January 6, 2020

      Pack offense had to score TDs not field goals. Open it up and feed Jones, Adams and Lazard until the seachicks over-commit. The key is getting something from Graham and MVS. Is Tonyan or Sternberger the wildcard??

      1. MMSUCKS January 7, 2020

        Perhaps Marcedes Lewis is the wild card.