14

December

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 14 vs. Detroit Lions

If they did that thing they do ESPN where they track how many yards that you actually run, and the speed…I hope they wouldn’t put the speed up on there but maybe the distance that I ran; had to be close to 50 yards, that’s a long sprint, I haven’t been doing a lot of those lately. – Aaron Rodgers, Tuesday’s with Aaron 2012/11/12

Challenge accepted! But first the hobbjective analysis.

The Situation: The Packers are trailing the Lions 14 to 10 with 12 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  The Packers offense has been a little off, while Rodgers and company have managed to move the ball fairly well against the Lions, they haven’t had many opportunities, several 3 and outs, a fumble and some clock-killing drives from the Lions means that the offense hasn’t had much of a chance of getting settled.

The Formation: The Packers come out in a 3-1-1 formation (3WR-1TE-1RB) with WR James Jones (89) split out wide left followed by WR Randall Cobb (18) in the left slot.  WR Greg Jennings (85) is split out wide right while TE Jermicheal Finley (88) is about a yard outside of the offensive line to the right tackle. Finally, QB Aaron Rodgers (12) is in the shotgun with FB John Kuhn (30) to the right of him.  The offensive line is composed of LT Marshall Newhouse (74), LG Evan Dietrich-Smith (62), C Jeff Saturday (63), RG Josh Sitton (71) and RT Don Barclay (67).  In response the Lions come out with a 4-3 cover-2 defense that everyone has been playing against the Packers offense.  Take a notice of how far back the Lions safeties are set, a good 20 yards away from the line of scrimmage.  In this case, it looks like the mike linebacker is going to rush through A gap instead of dropping into coverage.

The Snap: Things don’t go smoothly for the Packers.  Needing only 4 yards for a 1st down, QB Rodgers first read is probably TE Finley who is running a flat pattern (1), but either trips or gets caught up with the defender which causes the play to fall apart.  Both DEs manage to get great penetration into the backfield and at this point, Rodgers is getting ready to take a hit.  Take note of what the secondary is doing, no one has left their man and the safeties are still covering their halves.

19

October

Getting In Rhythm With The Packers Offense

In this week’s edition of “Tuesday’s with Aaron” with Jason Wilde (a must listen if you are a Packers fan), Aaron Rodgers tried to describe what is a “rhythm offense”:

“I don’t know… I think a rhythm offense is an offense that operates best in favorable down and distances and making consistent plays and not having negative yardage plays, whether its a negative run, sack, penalty…and making the plays that keep you on the field”

Rodgers is always insightful during his interviews so his response took me a little by surprise; I’m not entirely sure Aaron Rodgers knows what really is a rhythm offense because no one really knows what a rhythm offense is.  Teams either are in a rhythm or they aren’t; some teams (typically with great quarterbacks) tend to be in rhythm more often than teams that don’t have great quarterbacks, but conversely having a great quarterback doesn’t necessarily mean the offense will be in rhythm.  As far as I can tell, it just happens.

If you’ve watched any Packers games at all this year, it should be pretty apparent that the Packers weren’t in a rhythm in beginning of the season and maybe have “righted the ship” with a 6 touchdown demolition of the Houston Texans last week.  To me this seemed a little odd since the Packers managed to start off hot during the 2011 season, and that was without the benefit of having an offseason due to the CBA lockout; so if anything the 2012 Packers should have been even more ready than the 2011 Packers.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, two other great quarterbacks known for their use of up-tempo, no-huddle, “rhythm offenses” had very similar results as Aaron Rodgers in terms of struggling early in the season and playing much better down the stretch (if you can even be “down the stretch” in week 6).  Below is a table looking at the individual passing statistics of Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during the 2012 season.  I’ve split the averages for games 1 to 3 and then games 4 to 6 (the Saints have only played 5 games since they had a bye last week):

 

Aaron Rodgers     COMP ATT % COMP YARDS TD INT QBR Y/A AY/A
1 SFO L 22-30 30.00 44.00 68.20% 303.00 2.00 1.00 93.30 6.89 6.77