Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 3 at Seachickens

I’m not going to detail the “innacurate reception” as I’m sure that’s been done to death and frankly I’m tired of seeing it, so I’m going to be analyzing another play that popped out to me.  Overall, there’s nothing special going on on either side of the ball, the Seahawks are playing a vanilla formation and the Packers counter with a vanilla formation.  No crazy pre-snap motions, no crazy hand-offs or reverses, no psycho package or amoeba defenses or exotic blitz packages.  So what’s so surprising?  AJ Hawk makes the play.

The situation: It’s still the 1st quarter with the score still tied at 0 a piece.  The Seattle Seahawks have been playing a very conservative game plan by establishing a solid running game with running back Marshawn Lynch and trying to keep quarterback in 3rd and short passing situations.  Unfortunately, the Packers defense is also well aware of the Seahawks game plan and has done a remarkably good job holding Lynch in place.  This play occurs on 2nd and 8, after Lynch rushes for a 2-yard gain.

The formation: The Seahawks line up in a 1-3-1 set (1WR-3TE-1RB) with WR Golden Tate (I believe) out wide left (he’s outside the screen cap), Tight ends Zach Miller, Ben Obomanu and Anthony McCoy are lined up inline of the right tackle with RB Lynch aligned about 5 yards behind the center.  The Packers respond with their nickel package with NT BJ Raji (90) and DE Jerel Worthy (99) being the only two down linemen, the standard 4 linebackers of OLB Clay Matthews (52), ILB AJ Hawk (50), ILB DJ Smith (51) and OLB Erik Walden (93) with the secondary being composed of CB Sam Shields (37, also outside the screen cap), CB Tramon Williams (38), CB Charles Woodson (21, playing the nickel cornerback position), SS Jeron McMillian (22) and FS Morgan Burnett (43).

Pre-snap: The Seahawks motion TE Miller (86) to inline to the left tackle, and is followed by CB Woodson.

Snap: Wilson and Lynch perform perhaps the poorest play action pass ever seen in the NFL (seriously, Lynch doesn’t even bother to come up to Wilson and immediately runs a flare route, leaving Wilson “handing off” the ball with no one within 2 yards of him).  I’ve labeled the defensive assignments by color: red arrows indicate pass rush, blue arrows indicate man coverage and green arrows indicate zone coverage.



2012 NFL Regular Season Week 3: Packers – Seahawks Preview

Clay Matthews

Will this be a familiar scene for the Packers once again on Monday night?

The Green Bay Packers are back on track.

After the opening day letdown against the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers rebounded nicely last Thursday against the archrival Chicago Bears with an impressive 23-10 victory.  The Packers sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler seven times and intercepted him four times.  Clay Matthews continued his resurgence with 3.5 sacks, although he arguably could have had more.

Monday night, after a quasi-bye week with having 11 days between games, the Packers play their first road game of the 2012 regular season and make a trip out west to face the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

Last week, the Seahawks handily defeated the Dallas Cowboys 27-7.  Marshawn Lynch ran for 129 yards (with 100 yards coming in the second half) and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was much better than he was in Week 1 finishing 15-20 for 151 yards and one touchdown.  More importantly, Wilson did not turn the ball over.

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s opponent

Scouting the Seahawks

When the 2012 regular season schedule was released, many members of Packer Nation had this game circled as a big one.  It was expected that former Packers backup Matt Flynn, who signed with Seattle in the offseason, would get to face off against mentor Aaron Rodgers in a classic student/teacher battle.

Unfortunately, Wilson wanted nothing of it.  The rookie out of (ironically) Wisconsin beat Flynn out in training camp and the quarterback duel Packer fans wanted to see suddenly went up in smoke.

This isn’t to take anything away from Wilson, however.  Despite his 5’11” stature, Wilson is a mobile quarterback and as he displayed last week is very efficient with the ball and he is not making the stupid mistakes other rookie quarterbacks usually make in their first few games.

Wilson’s targets include Golden Tate and Sidney Rice.  Rice gave the Packers fits when he played for the Vikings with Brett Favre at quarterback, but the receiver has had trouble staying healthy ever since.  He is expected to play in this game.  Tate is a speedster and could also provide trouble for the Packers’ young secondary.



Packers to Let Ryan Grant Test Free Agency

The Packers will let RB Ryan Grant test the free agent waters but still have interest in retaining the 29-year-old.

The Green Bay Packers appear content in letting Ryan Grant enter free agency without a new contract.

But that doesn’t mean the team won’t have an interest in bringing back the veteran running back once the market is set, says Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Packers have told RB Ryan Grant that they are interested in bringing him back, but they aren’t expected to make an offer before free agency starts, and Grant will explore other options starting March 13.

Alan Herman, who represents Grant, told Silverstein that the door is still wide open for Grant to return to Green Bay.

He will hit free agency. But they gave us an indication they would like to have him back. I have to sit down with Ryan in the next few days and see what he wants to do. I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I’m sure he’s open to that (returning). On the other hand, being a free agent is enticing.

There may not be a huge market for a 29-year-old running back who doesn’t have an elite trait.

However, both the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks have history with Grant at the coaching or front-office level and could desire a backup running back for their respective starters.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Grant’s offensive coordinator for his entire career in Green Bay and knows everything the veteran back could bring in a secondary role. Miami appears set at running back with 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush and youngster Daniel Thomas, however.

Seahawks GM John Schneider was a part of the Packers front office that sent a future sixth-round pick to the New York Giants for Grant back in 2007. Seattle just inked Marshawn Lynch to a multi-year deal but might have a need for a veteran backup.

Overall, it seems unlikely that any team would be willing to offer Grant a big contract and starting potential. When Grant gets to free agency and finds out that truth, returning to Green Bay might be his best situation.

As Silverstein states, Grant’s desire to play in a Super Bowl could also “affect his decision.” The Packers likely represent one of the top options for Grant to get to a Super Bowl.

Injuries kept Grant out of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.



Packers – Redskins Preview: 2010 NFL Week 5: Does Capitol Collision spell Trouble for Green Bay?

It’s hard to believe the Packers are a 3-1 team.

It’s especially hard to believe with all the gloom and doom talk amongst fans after was has been a pretty bad week for the team in the injury and public relations fronts.

First, the Packers missed out on getting Marshawn Lynch as the Bills traded the running back to the Seahawks for a fourth round pick next year and a conditional pick in 2012, an offer Packers General Manager Ted Thompson could easily have matched or beaten.

Then Brett Favre finally got his wish and got Randy Moss to throw to in Minnesota. This blockbuster move triggered all sorts of “the sky is falling” talk amongst Packer fans. Moss torched the Packers often during his first stint with the Vikings and now with the Packers being weak at safety, the same fears have appeared again.

Finally, linebacker Nick Barnett will reportedly miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury and coach Mike McCarthy said Brandon Chillar and Mark Tauscher will also likely will miss Sunday’s game in Washington, DC.

Happy days in Dairyland, eh?

After barely getting by the Detroit Lions at home 28-26, the Packers limp (again, not a word you’d usually associate with a 3-1 team) into Washington DC to face the Washington Redskins who are coming off a 17-12 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Breaking down the Redskins

Once again the Packers go up against Mike Shanahan, who had the team’s number in Super Bowl XXXII, a loss that former GM Ron Wolf called the most bitter loss to swallow of his entire Packers career.

That said, this is obviously not the same team nor is Shanahan the same coach. Shanahan has been humbled after surprisingly being fired from Denver almost two years ago and instead of sticking with the 4-3 defense he had in Denver, Shanahan has moved to a 3-4 in Washington with the unit being led by former Saints head coach Jim Haslett.

On offense, the big star is obviously starting quarterback Donovan McNabb. Disregarding his age, McNabb is still an elusive quarterback and can still make all the throws whether they be on the run or from inside the pocket. Despite a lackluster game in Philadelphia, McNabb has brought an immediate spark to the Washington offense that was lacking under former coach Jim Zorn.