24

August

Packers vs. Seahawks: Film Study Observations (Preseason 2010)

In this next installment of Film Study, I select a few plays from the Packers – Seahawks preseason game that show something interesting upon review that might have been missed on first watch.

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers are committed to doing whatever possible to keep QB1 un-sacked and upright. In just his limited preseason action, Rodgers has already shown the ability to more quickly recognized his checkdowns and not hold onto the ball too long. McCarthy, for his part, seems committed to giving the offensive line more pass protection help when needed, something I felt was lacking last season.

On Aaron Rodgers’ first play, 56 yard completion to Greg Jennings, Donald Lee was used in pass protection, and seemingly left to Rodgers to decide how. As you watch the play, you’ll see Rodgers look at Lee, who is lined up on the left side. He then glances to the right and sees the Seahawks have overloaded that side. He looks back at Lee, and most likely calls a protection change. Lee goes into motion and lines up on the right side, where he can help in the protection.

It works beautifully, as the Packers now have four players to Seattle’s three, the play action gets Seattle moving left, and Rodgers has plenty of time to roll right and complete the pass.

Bryan Bulaga, who was a film study subject last week for kicking out to pickup a blitzing DB on the edge, again showed some great awareness for a rookie, this time on the sack allowed by Allen Barbre. Although he ultimately wasn’t able to get back in time to help Barbre, it was for the right reasons. It’s hard to see this from the angle this video was taken from. On the NFL Network feed, which I have on DVR, but can’t transfer to my computer (arghh!), you can see exactly what Bulaga is looking at.

As the play starts, Bulaga’s primary responsibility is the linebacker in front of him. Bulaga keeps his eye on him until he sees that he’s going to drop back in coverage. With no one to block, Bulaga next looks over to Barbre. At that moment, Barbre is squared with the rusher, and appears to have it under control. So Bulaga then looks to his right to help inside, but there’s nothing for him to do there. He looks back at Barbre, but Barbre in a flash has inexplicably let a rookie 7th round draft pick blow by him like he’s the second coming of LT. Too late for Bulaga to get there, but again, he did all the right things.

Multiple tight end formations: When the Packers drafted Andrew Quarless, I envisioned a future (not this year) goal line offense with two, big, pass-catching tight ends for Aaron Rodgers to throw to. I hadn’t really considered what we saw the other night on the John Kuhn TD pass (of course, I’m not the offensive genius, Mike McCarthy is).

What I didn’t notice until re-watching the game, was that the Packers has three tight ends in on that play. As they come to the line of scrimmage, Quarless is lined up tight on the right side, and Donald Lee is tight on the left side. Kuhn and Grant are in the I formation, and Jermichael Finley lines up behind Quarless, then goes into motion and lines up on the left side behind and outside of Lee.

The Seattle defense starts to favor that side, and must be thinking two things; either the Packers are running the ball that way, or they will try to hit Finley on a curl or a corner route. Imagine their surprise when the Packers go the opposite way and throw a pass to the apparent blocking back.

Now, in this case, all three tight ends were a decoy. But I’m sure McCarthy has a lot of other ideas on how to exploit his wealth of tight ends. With Spencer Havner being so valuable on special teams, I am more than ever convinced that barring a trade, the Packers will keep four tight ends on their 53-man roster.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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24 Responses to “Packers vs. Seahawks: Film Study Observations (Preseason 2010)”

  1. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    Great stuff Al as usual.The offense is unstoppable and will put up ridiculous numbers.
    I hope your film study of the Colts game will be extra deep in scutiny of our defense.This is where we are hurting.If the scheme is vanilla we may be in serious trouble in that area.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Well, it’s been hard to evaluate anything on the defense because of injuries and guys being held out. Against Indy, Matthews and Hawk will still be out, but Woodson will be back. I think I’ll focus on the DL that game…

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  2. PackersRS says:

    Great stuff Al. It really is your pet peeve, the OL play, isn’t it?

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Well, when I was (much) younger, LT and TE were my positions. Not that makes me an expert, but I do understand what’s going on down there.

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  3. Ron LC says:

    I knew you were in the trenchs Al. Had to be.

    I’m beginning to size up the Oline for the year being rated at Good for the starters. Backups will be better than any team TT/MM has fielded yet. Which means they’ll have 2, maybe 3 decent fill-ins. Atfer that it’s all inexperience and incompetence (See: Barbre and Statue).

    I still see weaknesses, but it’s is a better unit than at anytime TT was there.

    Bulaga is a diamond, the more I see of him the more I like him.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Ron, Glad to see you with some positive comments about the OL. I think Bulaga is the real deal. This week will be the real test for him, but so far, he has really impressed me. There is no doubt I would start him somewhere this season.

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  4. Chad Toporski fhornplayer83 says:

    Another great read, Al.

    After seeing the TD to Kuhn on Saturday, then watching it again in replays, I really started to appreciate the beauty of the design. I’m glad you were able to provide some more insight, as well. That set of personnel in goal line formations will open up a lot of possibilities. Do you think there’s a chance of them throwing Crabtree into the mix with his blocking skills?

    And Bulaga’s awareness and consistency continues to give me good feelings about the future of the O-line. After studying him, do you think it would be a hard transition for Bulaga to shift to LT if he plays for a year or two at LG? My mind tells me it would be a smooth transition with his skill set.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      The tight end situation in Green Bay is fairly amazing. Most teams have one good tight end at best. Crabtree is in the mix. They may try to stash him on the PS, or trade Lee and keep Crabtree as the blocking tight end.

      Bulaga has looked good at guard and at tackle, although he hasn’t played against 1s as a LT, so we’ll have to reserve judgment on that. But I don’t see him having any problem moving back to LT if he plays G this year.

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  5. dgtalmn says:

    Thanks again Al for a great read. I to think it is difficult to really know what the Packers defense will do with all of the players in and out.

    Saw some good and bad plays. Never did see the Martin punch, any news on that?

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      I saw one replay where he appeared to grab the guy’s dreadlocks and then game him a few rabbit punches in the stomach. Wasn’t completely in the frame, so you couldn’t tell if he was using a fist, open hand or even his forearm.

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  6. The Delivery Guy says:

    Hey watch the 12 yd TD run by Jackson, in particular watch Quinn Johnson… he shoves back a backside pursuer, chips a guy at the corner then gets out into the second level and cuts a safety coming across… the kid kept his running back clean… loved it.

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  7. Pack4life says:

    I saw the same thing on the Babre sack,Bulaga is a man. At some poing QJ has to stay on the squad. Considering MM loves to use Kuhn as a goaline weapon ,we need to keep QJ as a thumper. The Pack needs a ball control element to help the defense

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Korey Hall has been quiet this preseason. packers taking a long hard look at Kuhn. It’s looking like Kuhn and Johnson stay.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ron LC says:

        I’m betting Kuhn, Johnson and Hall stay. They need Hall’s ST skills more than an RB with little or no ST skills. Everyone they keep after the immediate backups should have ST skills first and their position skills second.

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  8. Manny Jackson says:

    Great analysis Al. Looking forward to more of your articles during the season. I’m hoping the “vanilla” schemes Capers has used thus far is part of the reason for the poor defensive showing thus far, but you’d still hope for the D to be able to stop the pass better than they have.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      vanilla schemes and missing quite a few starters – I’m not pretending to have a feel for what this defense will be…

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  9. Manny Jackson says:

    Also, I appreciate your focus on the line play on both sides of the ball. The game is ultimately won or lost in the trenches. Most fans focus on the skill players, but the guys in the trenches are the ones that really dictate the outcome. Bulaga seems to be a great addition. Let’s hope Neal can bring it on the other side of the ball…its getting thin over there with Jolly gone and Harrell looking like a bust. So many people focus on the LB play, but we really need a better push out of our DL to impact the pass defense.

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  10. [...] Jersey Al with film study of the week 2 preseason game. [...]

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  11. aussiepacker says:

    When i seen the sack all i seen was the number 75, So i rewound it twice to see if bulaga gave up the sack but when i seen barbre was at LT i was not surprised it was his fault, and was impressed with Bulaga’s effort. On a side note if Brett Goode is our long snapper and takes up a roster spot why can’t he be in our Oline rotation? is there a reason?

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      I imagine he’s not good enough. That’s one of my pet peeves, having a dedicated long snapper. Maybe I’m oversimplifying, but couldn’t one of the backup linemen be coached up to do it?

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  12. aaronqb says:

    I have the game on my DVR and I watched the Barbre sack several times. I also thought the sack was on Bulaga at first, but noticed all of the same stuff you did.

    I actually was hoping that the coaches would have Bulaga compete against Tauscher than with Colledgee because I believe it is easier to transition from RT to LT easier than it is to transition from LG to LT (think Michael Oher). What do you think?

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      f a guy has played left tackle and that’s their future position, I’d prefer to keep him on the left side at guard, over moving him to right tackle.

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