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Pancakes are Served

Pancakes are Served




The Green Bay Packers have finally found something that can help their running game, and I'm not talking about the signing of former Packer Pro-Bowler Ahman Green.





No, quite accidentally (thanks to the injury to Korey Hall and the blowout of the Lions), the Packers finally put 5th round draft choice Quinn Johnson onto the field.


With a safe 26-0 lead and only the hapless Lions to hold off for 1 quarter, Coach Mike McCarthy took the opportunity to see what Quinn Johnson could do in live game action.


Inactive for the first five games as fullback #3 in the Packers fullback triumvirate, Johnson finally got to play in a regular season NFL game. Based on Johnson's  performance and the success of the running game in the fourth quarter, McCarthy may have found a serviceable power running game for the Packers.


Quinn Johnson lined up for 13 snaps in the fourth quarter of the Lions game. The last two were Aaron Rodgers kneel-downs, so lets throw those out and call it eleven snaps. Here's a quick synopsis of what Quinn Johnson did on those eleven snaps:


1. Grant runs to the right, Johnson has a backside seal block and he successfully keeps his man away from the play.


2. Straight lead blocker into the hole with Grant following. Meets the linebacker head-on and neutralizes him. LB has no chance at a tackle.


3. (See No. 2)


4. Johnson PANCAKES the linebacker. Meets him head-on, ties him up and throws him onto his back.


Cakes are Served


 5. Leads into the hole, sideswipes the linebacker out of the play then continues on and throws a cut block at another player. 

6. In a short yardage situation (third and one), Johnson ties up the linebacker, keeping him sealed to the inside. Kuhn runs behind Johnson to get the first down.


7. Johnson blasts into the hole, blocks the linebacker and pushes him back five yards down field. The linebacker tries to get away and Johnson continues to chase after him until the whistle blows.


8. Johnson PANCAKES a Lions linebacker. Johnson comes through the hole, heads for the outside linebacker, meets him head on and pulverizes him. The Lions linebacker seems to disappear into Johnson like a scene from Alien played backwards.


The Big Stack


9. Leading Ryan Grant off-tackle, a Lions linebacker takes himself out of the play in an attempt to avoid Johnson's block. That, plus TJ Lang sprinting 10 yards down field from the other side to make a block, help Ryan Grant spring loose for a 22 yard gain, his longest of the season.


10. Johnson can't find anyone to block on this play, as the Detroit defenders have obviously figured out it's better to avoid him.


11. Johnson leads Ryan Grant into the hole, standing up the linebacker with another successful block.


One big thing you should take from the descriptions above - you'll notice there is not even ONE case of a missed block or assignment. Johnson knew exactly where to be, who to block and how to do it. Johnson has come a long way from training camp, where he struggled with learning the offense, running too upright and missing or not holding blocks.


That last part is the key. Johnson is now holding blocks and not letting the defender slip away. In training camp, Johnson was trying too hard to blow up opponents with a single hit. That may have worked in college, but the NFL is a whole different story. NFL defenders can take a hit and brush it off. Johnson has learned to take the player on squarely with his his elbows extended and to keep the defender centered in front of him using his forearms. That allows him to hold the block longer and then use leverage to potentially drive him to the ground for the pancake. His blocking techniques are markedly improved. Kudos to Johnson and running backs coach Edgar Bennett for bringing about this transformation so quickly.


So now that we've seen what Quinn Johnson can bring, will we see Coach McCarthy commit the Packers to more of a power running game, utilizing Quinn Johnson and playing more to Ryan Grant's strengths? The Cleveland Browns appear to be the perfect test case and the perfect opportunity for the Packers to establish confidence in some type of running game before Brett Favre and the Vikings come to Lambeau. This is one writer who says, "Bring on the Might Quinn!".



You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and Bleacher Report.

You can also follow Jersey Al on twitter.

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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.

Mr. Bacon's picture

Ed Hochuli says this post best.

Jersey Al's picture

No foul on the play, the defender was just "overpowered"...

Manitowish Waters's picture

Nothing better than a cakes post. Good shit. Probably the post of the year actually.

Jersey Al's picture

POTY - woooowhoooo!

Asshalo's picture

The analysis is great, but it lacks comparability of another FB or other performances.
It may have been the 26 point lead of the lack of quality D lineman for Detriot. The Pancake was a rookie LB. He's got more ceiling than Kunn, but I'm interested to see how he does against a real DL. That being the case, I am glad he's playing now rather than later.

Appreciate the Alien reference-- it's the 30th anniversary this year. A lot of theaters are playing prints around this time.

Jersey Al's picture

There is only so much free time I have, A-man. I am certainly aware there are many other factors that enter into this, but, it was still fun to see our rookie FB looking like the player I was hoping he might be.

Asshalo's picture

"but it lacks comparability of another FB or other performances."

I didn't mean that could be done. We haven't seen him play a lot. Only time will tell

Stan's picture

We seemed to run better in the fourth against the Rams didn't we? without Quinn Johnson. Not saying he's not an impactful player but guys like Kuhn can't be that much worse.

Anyway, I've got that Mighty Quinn song stuck in my head........ DAMN YOU BOB DYLAN!!!!

Jersey Al's picture

Kuhn gets beat on blocks regularly. Quinn made EVERY block he had a chance to make. Just wanted you all to know that.

Stan's picture

thanks for that, didn't realise, I pay so much attention to the O-Line lately in games I rarely watch out for FBs.

Greg C.'s picture

"Anyway, I’ve got that Mighty Quinn song stuck in my head…….. DAMN YOU BOB DYLAN!!!!"

Everybody now!

Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn!

Greg C.'s picture

Awesome piece, Al. I thought Quinn did well, but I hadn't noticed that he did THAT well. Obviously he's been learning and improving since the preseason. As you say, I think his style of blocking could be an especially good fit for Ryan Grant. It's a very north-south style, and Grant does need blockers who can hold their blocks a little longer.

Jersey Al's picture

Exactly what I was thinking, Greg.

longtimefan's picture

Packers averaged 4.5 yards per carry when Johnson was in the game and only 2.5 when he wasn't.

Jersey Al's picture

As others have pointed out, there are other factors that play into it, but it's still good to see numbers like that.

PackersRS's picture

Damn you Al! If MM sees it, he's never going to put Quinn in the game!
Mr. McCarthy, UNLEASH THE MIGHTY QUINN! It's a bird... It's a plane... NO, IT'S MIGHTY QUINN. Lol.

Jersey Al's picture

The old reverse psychology trick - all right, I made this up, it's all lies, ok Mike?

PackersRS's picture

Nah, as long as he has good pad levels and fundamentals, he'll have a chance to start...

RonLC's picture

Great analysis once again, Al. I'm afraid that you've just confirmed something that has been bugging me since last year. Is MM using the right players? He seems to stick with guys who time after time fail in their job performacne. Is that his decision or TT's? If it's TT then he is not strong enough to do the job in GB. If it's his own call, well maybe it's time to reevaluate his longevity.

Jersey Al's picture

I do get the feeling that MM might get some pressure from "upstairs" to play certain guys. Greg Bedard has hinted that was the reason Grant kept going out there last year...

IronMan's picture

I like pancakes!

GPN's picture

Is there any chance we can find a mad scientist to combine our three fullbacks into one monster? It would free up roster spots.

Jersey Al's picture

There's an easier way to free up a roster spot...

GreenBay Packer Nation's picture

Insightful article as usual Al.

Jersey Al's picture

Thank you...

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