In each of the past three games, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense have done something they have only done once since Week 5: thrown a touchdown pass to a tight end. Donald Lee accounts for two of those touchdowns, and we just saw Tom Crabtree score his first NFL touchdown in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
All of the touchdown passes came from near the goal line, and both of the scoring tight ends had fewer than 10 total yards of production in each game.
After the final regulation game against the Chicago Bears, frequent commenter “Ron LC” made an interesting note about Mike McCarthy’s use of the tight end this season. He wrote: “Lee’s TD last week has identified an area where MM seems to have given up. The TE as a key player in getting the 1st down and controlling the ball.”
In response to this, I decided to do some research to see if it was an accurate assessment. What I found was interesting, but not totally surprising.
The following chart and graphs present the data I uncovered (click on the chart for full resolution):
TARG% = TE Targets / Total Pass Attempts
YDS% = TE Yards / Total Pass Yards
TD% = TE Touchdowns / Total Passing Touchdowns
First Down TE% = TE First Downs / Passing First Downs
LOSING FINLEY HURT PRODUCTION . . .Read more...(1408 words + 4 images, estimated 5:38 mins reading time)
Having now lost five games this season (all by four points or fewer), the Green Bay Packers now find themselves in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
How did it come to this for the Packers? Of course we all know about the injuries, but that’s not an excuse. Plenty of playoff-bound teams, like the Patriots for example, have their share of players on IR.
When you lose close games, you can often target a few key plays or decisions throughout the season that highlight why you are in the position you are in.
1. James Jones’ fumble against the Bears Even though the Packers were racking up a record number of penalty yards and finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot, Aaron Rodgers appeared poised to lead a fourth-quarter comeback victory against a hated division rival.
Rodgers should have slid, no doubt. But his ill-advised decision does not mean he’s selfish and does not make him more concussion prone than any other player. Read more...(711 words + 1 image, estimated 2:51 mins reading time)
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. Read more...(742 words + 3 images, estimated 2:58 mins reading time)
Just about any Packers fan knows (and laments about) how Green Bay kept 3 fullbacks on the 2009 roster. Could tight end be the position for roster overcrowding in 2010? As I mentioned on Cheesehead Radio last week, I think there’s a decent chance. Let me expand on that thought…
In 2009, the Packers selected Quinn Johnson in the 5th round of the NFL draft. Johnson had a hot and cold college career, but was unquestionably looked at as a physical specimen with athletic ability and raw talent that will require some time to develop.
In 2010, the Packers selected Andrew Quarless in the 5th round of the NFL draft. Quarless had a hot and cold college career, but was unquestionably looked at as an immature kid with athletic ability and raw talent that will require some time to develop.
In 2009, the Packers did not want to lose Quinn Johnson, by taking a chance on putting him on the practice squad. Certainly, a team like Carolina, who signed Tyrell Sutton and then later had to use him at fullback, would have taken Johnson in a heartbeat. If Johnson can learn to use his skills wisely and improve his pass blocking, the Packers will be very pleased with this pick in a few years. Read more...(734 words + 3 images, estimated 2:56 mins reading time)