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Cheesehead TV Matchup: Week 7 Offense

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Cheesehead TV Matchup: Week 7 Offense

  • Keep It Simple, Stupid (Especially In Pass Protection)

Look, no one is under any illusions about this weekends game against the Browns. Or at least they shouldn't be. If The Packers lose, everyone should be fired. OK, maybe not, but you can bet the doom merchants that populate the comment sections of the Journal Sentinel and the Press Gazette will be calling for heads to role, and for once, they may have a point. There is no reason, whatsoever, that the Packers should lose this game. They are better in every area, from the front office to the coaching staff to the players, all except one - Browns returner Josh Cribbs. The Packers don't have anything resembling the dynamic athletic presence Cribbs' brings to the field.

Luckily for the Packers, the Browns are not only bad, but they are at less than full strength in their badness. With all the injuries, the sickness, etc - this will be the second week in a row the team is facing UFL-level talent. But even with the talent disparity, this game could easily become season-defining for the Packers. All it takes is one wandering-of-focus by one of the offensive linemen and Rodgers and the Packers season could be over.

In the video below you can see Grant go in motion. Note how he makes like he's going to go lineup wide outside but then comes back in. This is new this year for the Pack and I think it's one of those great wrinkles that McCarthy comes up with from time to time that I just love. The motion is designed to make the defense tip its hand without having to send the back out to the perimeter. You get to look at the coverage but still get to keep the back in to block. Brilliant.

All of which would be fantastic if Clifton wasn't completely screwing up on the backside.

When the linebacker comes up into the gap, Clifton has to recongnize it and once the ball is snapped he HAS to take him. There's no question. In pass protection everyone from linemen to tight ends and backs are taught to work from the inside out. You can see the defensive line shift down and that Colledge (for once) and Wells do the right thing and block inside and down. Clifton, for reasons that only he can explain, never even looks inside, taking the defensive end and letting the linebacker come through untouched. Yes, if Clifton takes the linebacker, the end has a free rush, but that player becomes Rodgers responsibility. It's clear the slot receiver (I think it's funny how you can tell the safety wants no part in having to cover him, pleading with his defensive mates before the snap...) would have been there on the Out if Rodgers had had more than a second to throw the ball.

Now, some of that is coaching (Mr. Campen) and some of that is just Clifton messing up (Nine year veteran? Really?) but it drives home that there's a lot going on with the potential to go wrong when it comes to pass protection. The simpler McCarthy keeps it, the better.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jrarick's picture

Brilliant analysis as always. Thanks Aaron.

Bad Knees's picture

Clifton took the DE because he is too slow to move to the inside for the linebacker. If Clifton tries to block the linebacker then Rogers gets sacked by the linebacker and the DE.

cow42's picture

this is the best site ever.

Todd From Minnesota's picture

I agree cow42. Where can you find something that makes you laugh out loud with out paying. Oh yes I forgot just watch the Green Bay Packers on T.V. That's funny also.

ZeroTolerance's picture

Fargo is real close to Minnesota.

Pack Fan In Enemy Territory's picture

It seems to me that Toad From Minnesota has found his calling in life. Spend all of his time trolling CheeseheadTV pissing all over the Packers & their fans. Stay Classy, Toad!

Boothie's picture

Please don't insult the Toads!

PACKERS's picture

Good analysis. I'd probably die if the Packers lose this game. Don't talk about Rodgers like that though. You're making me nervous.

PackersThad's picture

Not only did Clifton choose the wrong guy to block...the guy that he chooses to block goes right by him! Also, there is a third guy coming through the RT side. Rodgers was doomed from the start. I really believe that this team will play much better with Lang in the lineup.

Ron La Canne's picture

The only question should be by how much? This shold be a scrimage. TJ will be starting. Clifton and Spitz are Doubtful. Let's hope Spitz' back isn't a Harrell problem.

NickGBP's picture

Had Grant stayed on that side he wouldve been able to block the dude. Maybe Clifton assumed he was behind him to pick up the inside guy. Maybe? Probably not.

I also remember thinking the idea of moving Grant in the backfield was clever. Until Rodgers got pounded of course.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Much like last week, this is one of those games that the GBP have ZERO business losing. There is no viable excuse for a loss. If Cribbs gets loose and takes 2 to the house, we should still cover the spread, I'm confident we will.

GBP 4 LIFE

PackerFan4Life's picture

Aaron found an interesting tidbit thought you all would want to see looks like we targeted a RB aggressively but came up with green
http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/33448758/ns/sports-player_news/

JerseyAl's picture

Aaron, I have to disagree with you on this one. They can't block right, as there is no RB or TE help on the left to pick up the DE that would come in untouched if Clifton takes the LB. I think Clifton takes who he has to take. It's Colledge and Wells, that need to block LEFT to pick up the blitzing LB and the DT. Wells, instead blocks right, where he is unnecessarily double-teaming a guy with Sitton, while the LB comes in untouched. I think this is Well's call and his screw-up. And Colledge needs to speak up (if he didn't) and point out to Wells there are three players for him and Clifton to block.

wgbeethree's picture

It looks to me like on the play in question the reciever in the left slot has A LOT of blame on this play. I think he definitely missed the hot read. It looks to me like immediately at the snap rodgers is looking for the quick slant over the middle where the linebacker is blitzing from. If thats the hot read (which both common sense and the visual clues would suggest) and it's run its an easy touchdown. As bad as the oline has been there are a lot of little things contributing to all the sacks and this is one of the many sacks this season that makes the line look bad but may not be their "fault". I may be wrong on this and there's no way for us fans to really know but I'd put this sack almost entirely on the missed hot read. Does anyone else see this (at least on this particular play) or am i just overanalysing?

JerseyAl's picture

WG - very nice observation. We can't know if he has been coached to do it or not, but definitely, if he changes the route to a quick slant, it could be 6 points. Of course, the LB could be faking a blitz and then drop into the slant area and mess that plan up. We can't know what the receiver's read is or even if he's supposed to be reading a LB blitz on that play, but it was still a good observation.

packeraaron's picture

"there is no RB or TE help on the left to pick up the DE that would come in untouched if Clifton takes the LB."
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Exactly why I wrote he becomes Rodgers' responsibility. Any unaccounted outside rusher is the quarterbacks responsibility - it becomes his responsibility to get the ball out of his hand before the rusher gets to him.

JerseyAl's picture

Of course, but is that the way you want the play to go down? Do you want to willingly allow someone in on the QB if you don't have to? No, you would much prefer that everyone is blocked. If Wells and Colledge slide left, then it's 3 one-on-ones, instead of two on-on-ones and a one-on-none. Of course, the OL still have to execute their blocks, which is another matter all together.

packeraaron's picture

Wells and Colledge side left only if the protection call is made early and the defense doesn't adjust. In this case, the protection gets set and then the defense adjusts. Its incumbent on Clifton to execute the protection called, not to do "what would be best". In this case that means leaving the end for Rodgers to deal with.

JerseyAl's picture

Well, if you are going to use the argument that once the protection is set, it's set (which I don't agree with), then that means Clifton stays with the defensive end. Look at the defensive alignment when the OL gets "set". There is only one player for Clifton to block: Clifton's man is the DE. There is no LB there at that time. Only later does the LB come up to show blitz. So the LB was never Clifton's responsibility. Unless you want to say the Clifton should have switched his responsibility to the LB, but then that's another discussion.

Of course there are multiple philosophies and ways to handle such a situation, but mine is always "make sure every rusher is accounted for".

Gotta run now - good discussion!

packeraaron's picture

The protection isn't set until Grant gets into place - and yes, once the linebacker moves up into the gap, knowing that Colledge is going to block down, Clifton HAS to get the backer. The DE is for Aaron to worry about.
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Obviously, we'll agree to disagree. I'll try to see if Bedard or Pelissero can get this in front of Campen. Would be interesting to see if either of us are even in the vicinity of correct. ;)

Jersey Al's picture

That would be interesting, indeed. Haha!

latelier's picture

In pass protection everyone from linemen to tight ends and backs are taught to work from the inside out.

Really? Do that to Jared Allen and Rodgers goes down hard. This isn't true when dealing with left tackle.

packeraaron's picture

latelier - The only time a DE would be unaccounted for would be on a play like the one above. You see it all the time, esp in the pros. That's why you always heard Madden saying "I don't understand what kind of protection call you have where you let the defensive end go" - because this type of protection was developed in conjunction with the West Coast Offense after Madden was coaching.
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Look, I'm not saying I agree this is the best way to go about things, and in most cases I agree with JeresyAl that the best thing is to get a hat on a hat - but that is not how things are done on a lot of NFL teams.

PackerFan4Life's picture

Aaron not sure if you saw me put this up but found it interesting, sorry for the double post

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/33448758/ns/sports-player_news/

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