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What The Offense Will Be Working On

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What The Offense Will Be Working On

I'll try to do this toward the beginning of every week, but it will greatly depend on the time I can finagle at the day job, so give me a break if I miss a week. I will still be doing Cheesehead TV Matchup every Friday.

Heading into the game with the Bears on Sunday night, be sure to watch for the counter pitch. (That's the name I've given it) It's one of my favorite's in McCarthy's playbook and pretty unique when it comes to NFL offenses. I can't recall another team that runs it quite this way.

In the video below you can see how the action of the offensive line, along with the initial steps by the backs, cause Williams and Urlacher to take what coaches call 'false steps' - it's not a lot, but its enough for the lead fullback (Korey Hall in this instance, one of two fullbacks on this play) and the pulling left guard (Colledge, the only member of the offensive line not invloved in selling the pitch action to the left) to hook the defensive end and weakside linebacker. Unfortuantley, the end of the play shows something that was all too familiar last season - Ryan Grant unable to make the last guy miss. Hopefully, Grant's 'explosiveness' returning is more than coach speak...

Everyone remembers how the Packers ran all over the Bears at Lambeau last year, a result of the Bears being scared to death of the Packers passing attack. Lovie Smith's team came out in a classic Cover 2 shell from the get go and didn't really come out of it until Grant had already rolled up close to 60 yards on 5 carries. Going into Sunday night,  the Bears secondary is hurting - badly. Look for the Bears to try and protect their corners by opening in the same Cover 2 shell. If the Packers can take advantage, the Bears will be forced to bring down a safety, which will result in this:

Notice how the offensive line sells the strong side action again. This is something McCarthy seems to have a great knack at calling, setting up defenses and getting them flowing, using their 'keys' against them. In the first video, the linebackers all key on Grant and his first few steps, sending them flowing to the strong side, when the play is designed back to the weakside. Same thing with the play-action pass. The defensive front flows away from where McCarthy wants to put the ball.

The Packers will need to be patient with this Bears team. The addition of Rod Marinelli is no joking matter. For all his deficiencies as a head coach, and there were many, he is a fantastic defensive line coach and could make a great difference in the quality of the Bears play up front on defense. If the Packers can't take advantage of the Bears keeping their safeties back, it could end up being a long night at Lambeau...

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

Good stuff Aaron.

packeraaron's picture

Thanks - pretty rudimentary but hopefully I will improve as the year goes on. Just like the team ;)

Ryeguy812's picture

Looking at that 2nd video, that play looks like the run-pass option that Rodgers has become good at exploiting. Look how far up the field those O-linemen are when Rodgers releases the ball. They were run blocking.

packeraaron's picture

Ryeguy - actually, I think it's supposed to be a screen to the right (you can tell by watching Spitz. He takes a beat before running upfield, something the O-line is drilled on so they aren't illegally downfield) - Rodgers just sees the safety come down and takes the backside option. I just liked the camera angle and the fact that it showed the safety charging hard and getting exploited.

PackersRS's picture

I missed those insigthful film analysis you make so well... Thanks God relevant football is inches away and all the preseason gossip is (almost) over. Not to be critic, but the differencial, Forte, if you will, of this site is the film analysis. And when it's about how good the Packers are it's even better ;)

Asshalo's picture

Great analysis on the secondary. They were playing off the WRS all game. With Charles Tilman just coming off surgury and the rest of their depth hurting, we need to take advantage. Their line has been giving Marinelli praise all off-season, but I'm not sure it's enough to put this D-line back to where it was. They just don't seem to have a serious pass rushing threat. Maybe they won't need to if the whole d-line steps up their play. The healthy of Tommy Harris will also play a big factor in this defenses success.

I don't know if you're going to Defense and Special teams later, but that will also play a big part. Despite the drop-off on their defense, their special teams has remained a force to be reckon with.

Packnic's picture

seeing an offensive line work like that can give a man goosebumps. I know he only got 7 yards or so, but I love seeing an offensive line when its on point. pulling and what not... when it works its beautiful.

Shootz's picture

How do you make these videos? They're great. I would really like the NFL videos to be able to skip play to play so you can watch it four or five times, key in on some guys and watch what they're doing and how they're playing. Great stuff.

Oppy's picture

A few things that catch my eye in the counter-pitch clip:
___
I find it really interesting that on the backside of the play, Clifton ignores the RDE (leaving him for Kuhn to cut) and B-lines straight for the MLB while Colledge is pulling to the right (Ala power blocking scheme), but playside, you have Tauscher, Spitz and Wells all running textbook zone blocking, particularly with Spitz and Tauscher doubling the LDT before Tauscher releases and looks to the second level for a body to block (So happens to be Urlacher gets the double whammy on this play from BOTH Tackles!). Tauscher also ignores the LDE, leaving him to get picked up by pulling Colledge. It's interesting to see this sort of hybrid power/zone play.
___________
Korey Hall absolutely destroys the strong side linebacker with that cut block. Phenomenal! Drivers' run blocking is excellent as well.

Great play. Thanks for posting it!

j4a1's picture

That backside cut is so important to the zone blocking. Not every Rb has the knack to hit that backside at just the right instant. Grant certainly has that knack, just like Terrell Davis did.

I saw Brandon Jackson do this at Nebraska time after time. I think in a year or two he will be hard to keep off the field.

Great stuff.

Ruppert's picture

The Bears' only shot, in my opinion, is to completely stuff our run game. If we can run effectively on first down, you'll see play action sucking those safeties up, as Aaron displayed in clip 1. The Bears just aren't good enough to cover out guys without safety help, and frankly they may not be good enough even with it. ______________________________________________________________________ I will be watching Barbre all game long to see how well he does that back-side, 2nd level cut block mentioned by Oppy. Tauscher, at times, had a little trouble getting that guy on the ground. If Barbre can turn out to be an upgrade in that aspect, it will help the run game immensely.

packeraaron's picture

Oppy - insane nit to pick here - Hall cuts the weakside backer, who ends up as the playside back. Briggs is lined up strong at the beginning of the play.

Oppy's picture

Foiled again!
Nitpick away! Lord knows I do.

:)

FITZCORE1252's picture

Awesome stuff Aaron. I also have kids and a day job... don't know where you find the time, but KEEP IT UP!

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