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Shake Up The PreSnap Read/Count

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Shake Up The PreSnap Read/Count

There's a very good reason the Packers struggled in the passing game yesterday and it had little to do with the offensive line for a change.

As good as Rodgers was in the pre-snap phase of the game last Monday night against the Ravens, he was equally bad yesterday against the Bears. Time and again, the Bears would set themselves, showing Rodgers the look they WANTED him to see and then changed things up at the last second. No where was this more evident than on the play where Briggs came screaming in untouched around the right corner, causing Rodgers to throw short and incomplete.

It was just an excellent game plan by Lovie Smith and the Bears defensive staff and it's something I expect to see a bit more of during the rest of the season. One way McCarthy and Rodgers can combat this sort of thing is to stop taking the playclock down every snap. I realize they use it to try and get the defense to tip their hand, with the Packers using motion to see if the defense shows man or zone, but they would be wise to throw in a silent quick-count every once in awhile, just to be sure the defense doesn't get too comfortable. Because yesterday, the Bears were in sync with the Packers tempo, which is never good for the offense. Rodgers needs to vary the tempo and keep them guessing.

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Satori's picture

The Packers do a LOT of self scouting, so I would hope that they see this trend as well as the Bears did

GB does so much with formations, packages and alignments that it creates a real problem for defenses to match up, and keeps them guessing.

Going no- huddle or snapping quickly adds one more weapon to the arsenal for the stretch run and would mess with DC's even more

Good call Aaron

Ron LC's picture

It seems to me that running the play clock down all the time gives the defense an edge on pressure. They can check the play clock, count down mentally and start their rush a tad earlier than the snap an have an advantage over the O lineman. This is especially true for LB's.
that was a problem I saw on a few occasions yesterday.
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Hadn't thought about that, good observation Aaron.

packsmack's picture

I don't know, against most defenses, the play-clock draining works wonders. Especially against 3-4 defenses that rely on blitzes. Favre did it to us, and Rodgers did it against the Cowboys, Niners, and Ravens. But against teams like the Bears who run a 4-3 and get pressure with their 4 man rush, it's a lot tougher to get an advantage, since you basically tip YOUR hand by giving the 4-3 more time to check their assignments.

That's why the Bears gave us fits, and that's why the Vikings gave us nightmares when it came to protection. Those teams got pressure with their d-lines, and could shy away from blitzes and use delayed blitzes more-so than other teams.

I think against the Steelers this week, the drain of the play-clock will once again be a powerful weapon. But if we play the Vikes or Saints in the playoffs? Yeah, you have to change it up.

Ruppert's picture

Great observation, Aaron. I wonder if McCarthy tries to drain the play clock more when we're ahead. I don't know for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he does.

packsmack's picture

Oh, and did anyone else hear at one point on their second TD drive, Cutler was calling out the blitzes at the line? I heard him correctly yell out "cross dogs" twice, and there was another time he correctly called the number of a DB that was blitzing, I think it was Woodson, and they stoned the blitz immediately and hit a quick gainer. The crazy part was, I couldn't see ANYTHING that would have tipped him off, they were just lined up normally. So was it just lucky guesses? Or did they see something subtle to tip them off on the overhead photos on the sideline or during halftime? I don't know, it bothered me a bit, but then the blitz on the Collins pick was perfect, so I stopped worrying. It just seemed odd to me, like for a 2 drive span, it seemed as though Cutler had figured us out. Then he lost it.

PACKERS.'s picture

Exactly. They need to get plays off faster to keep the defense unbalanced. This might be a bad example, but if Flynn had been able to get off the snap on the fake field goal, then the Pack might actually have gotten a decent play out of it than only letting the Bears spend a timeout.

Oppy's picture

Agreed.

PACKERS.'s picture

Btw for anyone who thinks Cutler complains touch... Follow the above link and click on the link in the first post that says "complains too much." Pretty funny picture.

PackersThad's picture

I heard someone yell out "cross dogs" a couple of times too. Is the blitz getting that predictable??

PackersRS's picture

Totally agree, Aaron. Actually, I was thinking about it in the last games.

Early in the season, the snap count was allways 7 seconds left, or something. Then the Cowboys game, we started using a long snap count, down to 3-1 seconds, to use more the playclock. Which I thought was an awesome adjustement. Then I started thinking (yeah, burn me): Favre uses that long snap count too, but every once in a while, he gets the defense unprepared with a quick count and burns them.
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That, Rodgers, or MM, could've learned from Judas... He is pretty good at clock management and snap count. Well, after 70 years in the NFL, you got to learn a thing or two...

PiedmontPackerFan's picture

I agree with you, Aaron. I think Brett became a master of varying the snap count. This may have been a key contributor to our success in 2007, with effectively the same offensive line.

With maturity, Rodgers will at least equal Brett.

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