A Detailed Breakdown of the 2014 Packers in the Red Zone

The Packers did struggle last season in the red zone and even though their basic touchdown percentage in the red zone was in the top half of the league, they were not as good as that number would lead you to believe.

This piece is divided into two segments. It is fairly long and I understand most people don't want to read all of this. The first half of the piece is a summary of the Packers in the red zone, the second half of the piece is an addition to the first, but is very heavily reliant on tables and is more so various stats from within the red zone than anything else. With that, lets get started.

There isn't a lot to complain about with the Packers' offense, but that doesn't stop people from doing it, and it doesn't mean there aren't things that need to be better.

Despite being one of the top three offenses in the NFL over the last four years, there certainly have been things that needed fixing on offense for Green Bay. Whether it being forgetting to run the ball for long stretches of plays in 2011, using John Kuhn as the power running back and the go-to short-yardage player for years, not having a competent backup for Rodgers when he went down in 2013, or most recently, the red zone performance.

By touchdown percentage, the Packers had the 11th best red zone offense in the NFL last year, which makes you wonder how fans of the 19 teams below them in that stat feel. On its surface this feels very much like a "first world problem." Being  the 11th best team in the NFL at pretty much anything has you in a good position to succeed--unless you're the 11th ranked quarterback, because there's 29 or so top 10 quarterbacks in the league. 

Part of the problem comes from being spoiled, the Packers in 2010 through 2012 were very, very good in the red zone.

Top 5 Red Zone Performance by TD Percentage 2010-2012
Rank Team RZ TD Percentage
1 New England 64.9%
2 Green Bay 64.8%
3 Detroit 64.3%
4 New Orleans 59.0%
5 Tennessee 56.9%

In the three year span of 2010 through 2012 there were three teams all scoring touchdowns in 64 percent of their red zone trips: the Patriots, the Packers, and the Lions--by far and away the top three teams in the league.

The Packers being essentially the most efficient team at scoring when getting inside the opponent's 20-yard line for a three year span sets the bar and expectations high, it makes mediocrity feel awful and that's what the Packers were as a whole last year in the red zone, mediocre. In fact, they've been that way for the last two years.

Combining 2013 and 2014 the Packers rank 14th in the NFL in touchdown percentage when in the red zone at 53.8 percent, an 11 percent drop over the previous three years. Part of that is due to Aaron Rodgers missing eight games in 2013, but he has still played in 75 percent of their regular season games over the last two seasons. Aaron Rodgers being injured doesn't explain the poor performance in the red zone in 2014 though, at least not entirely. 

To start, I went back and looked at each drive. A majority of red zone statistics are for drives that simply enter the red zone and context isn't taken into account. For instance, twice last year the Packers ended games by take a knee in the red zone. There were also a couple drives that started outside the 20-yard line and finished by entering the red zone but not picking up a first down, I don't think those should be included in red zone data when looking at a team's ability to score touchdowns in the red zone. The numbers from here forward are for drives where there was a first down inside the opponents 20-yard line and the game did not end on that series.

The Packers scored touchdowns on 38 of their 62 red zone drives last season, meaning they scored touchdowns on 61 percent of their red zone drives. If you include field goals, the Packers scored on 57 of their 62 trips into the red zone--a 92 percent success rate.

There was an apparent play calling philosophy change in the middle of the season last year for the Packers that could help explain this drop in red zone efficiency compared to the 2010 through 2012 seasons. 

Over the course of the entire game, not just in the red zone, the Packers started to feed Lacy the ball more and more after the bye week last season. His carries went up 25 percent and his receiving targets over doubled from 2.0 targets per game to 4.3 targets per game from week 8 onward. 

With the expanded workload came a more improved Lacy. His yards per carry jumped from 3.86 to 5.25, his 20+ yard carries went from one in the first 8 games to six 20+ yard carries from week 10 on. His receiving yards per game also tripled from 12.7 yards per game to 35.1 and all four receiving touchdowns in his career came in the last ten games of last season.

However, could Lacy's expanded role have hurt the Packers in the red zone? After all, while the numbers for Lacy went way up, in a smaller, more confined area like inside the red zone, the Packers pass game can't stretch the field and open it up for the run game as easily. The Packers offensive line are far from road graders and the jumbo packages are not so jumbo.

Red Zone Success Before and After Week 7
  First Seven Weeks Week 8 through Playoffs
TD Success Rate 78.3% 53.8%
Percent Pass Plays 67.1% 57.1%
Pass TD Percent 70.5% 66.7%

Like with Lacy's overall season numbers, there is a clear divide in the red zone where the Packers decided they needed to run the ball more.

The first seven weeks of the season the Packers scored touchdowns on a phenomenal 78 percent of their red zone trips. Including scoring touchdowns in all their red zone trips for four of the seven games. 

During that seven week span the Packers passed on 67 percent of their red zone plays and scored 71 percent of their red zone touchdowns through the air. 

Starting in week eight until the end of the season, the Packers pass percentage in the red zone dropped from 67 percent down to 57 percent and they saw their touchdown success rate drop from wonderful 78 percent to a dreadful 54 percent. Despite the drop in pass rate, the majority of their touchdowns still came through the air, with 67 percent (14 of 21) of their red zone touchdowns in that span coming via the pass. Two of the seven rushing touchdowns were from Rodgers himself, which is hard to attribute to the run game. 

Interestingly enough, the average field position on pass plays in the red zone was the 10.3 yard line and the average field position on run plays in the red zone was the 10.9 yard line, a difference of only 0.6 yards.

Field Position on Run and Pass Plays
  Overall First 7 Weeks Week 8 Onward
Field Position Pass 10.3 10.2 10.4
Field Position Run 10.9 12.4 9.8

Breaking up the field position between run and pass and looking at it from week 7 and before and week 8 and after the run and pass games start to differentiate. The pass game stays remarkably consistent with only a 0.2 yard difference from where they passed on average on red zone plays. The run game however saw the average run play be 2.6 yards closer to the goal line after week 7. One would think that this would lead to a higher rushing touchdown percentage, but it did not.

The Packers scored touchdowns on all their red zone trips in only 2 of their last 11 games, a far cry from the 4 in their first 7 games.

The uptick in Lacy's usage coincided with the uptick in red zone rushing. Unlike the overall production for Lacy with more touches, the red zone efficiency suffered greatly with more plays from the running game.

Putting the ball in Rodgers' hands and just occasionally sprinkling in the run, may end up being the best practice going forward. At the very least, I personally would like to see them spread the defense out and not try to bring in the jumbo packages when they are running, even at the goal line. That's just my opinion though, not necessarily correct.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alright, you've made it to the second half, the tables are set, lets eat! This part of the piece is more so just splits of the Packers' numbers in the red zone.

Red Zone Run and Pass Plays by Quarter
Quarter Run Pass Run Percent Pass Percent
1 30 34 46.9% 53.1%
2 16 35 31.4% 68.6%
3 17 18 48.6% 51.4%
4 14 19 42.4% 57.6%

The Packers saw a relatively consistent run to pass balance in quarters one, two, and four with only a six percent variation between the three quarters with a slight lean to more passing than run. Oddly enough there is a huge jump in the second quarter that sees a 37 percent difference between run and pass with a heavy emphasis on the pass. I believe this is from trying to score quickly before the half ends. In the second half of games, the Packers saw a significant drop in red zone plays and that is largely because they didn't need to push the issue, most of the contests were over by the time the third quarter started. With 63 percent of their red zone plays coming in the first half, that would tend to agree with why they didn't need to push the issue in the second half. Making sure to get one last score in the first half would typically require mostly passing in a two-minute drill.

Red Zone Run and Pass Plays by Down
Down Run Pass Run Percent Pass Percent
1 48 36 57.1% 42.9%
2 39 39 50.0% 50.0%
3 7 29 19.4% 80.6%
4 1 2 33.3% 66.7%

The play calling by down is no surprise. As a possession goes from first down to third down, the Packers become more and more dependent on the pass. While that is not surprising, each down provides something interesting.

I would expect first down to be the most run-heavy down, I wasn't expecting to see more run plays than pass plays called on first down in the red zone, especially since the average run play in the red zone comes on the 10-yard line. It seems almost that they tokenly run the ball on first down in the red zone because that's what you're supposed to do in the red zone. In a way, it makes sense. You want to try and get the ball closer to the end zone and you don't have all the passing room you do on other areas of the field. The fear is that the team will end up with two incompletions and it will be 3rd and 10 on the 10-yard line, which is incredibly tough to convert.

The second down numbers are interesting as well because the run percentage comes down to an even 50/50 split with the pass percentage. The Packers ran the ball just as much as the passed the ball on second down.

On third down the Packers pretty much went all-out and passed the entire time. Of the seven run plays on third down in the red zone, five came on 3rd and 5 or closer and two were on the 1-yard line. The other two of the seven were on 3rd and 10 and 3rd and 12, pretty much just throwing the towel in to get a little closer on the field goal attempt. The Packers threw the ball six times on 3rd and 1 in the red zone last season and scored touchdowns on five of them. The only failure was a 3rd and 1 pass to Jordy in the week 17 matchup with Detroit.

On fourth down, the Packers almost never went for it. They attempted to go for it four times on fourth down last season and drew one penalty, threw it twice, and ran it once. The three plays that were a run or pass, they only converted one of them and that was Brandon Bostick's only red zone target of the season and it went for a score against Chicago. None of the four attempts on fourth down came with the Packers trailing in the game and all three of the run/pass plays were on the one-yard line. 

 

Run Plays By Down and Area of Field
Yard Line 1st Down 2nd Down 3rd Down 4th Down
0-5 50.0% 52.4% 33.3% 33.3%
6-10 45.0% 33.3% 12.5% 0.0%
11-15 68.8% 50.0% 0.0% 0.0%
16-20 63.2% 25.0% 28.6% 0.0%

 

Pass Plays By Down and Area of Field
Yard Line 1st Down 2nd Down 3rd Down 4th Down
0-5 50.0% 47.6% 66.7% 66.7%
6-10 55.0% 66.7% 87.5% 0.0%
11-15 31.3% 50.0% 100% 0.0%
16-20 36.8% 75.0% 71.4% 0.0%

The tables above show that on first down the Packers were significantly more likely to run the ball between the 10 and 20-yard lines than they were inside the 10-yard line. Inside the 10-yard line it was more of a 50/50 split between pass and run on first down and a dead split inside the five on first down.

Between the goal line and the 10-yard line and from the 16 to the 20-yard line the pass plays go pretty much as one would expect for each down. With passing becoming more prevalent as the downs go on. However from the 11 to 15-yard line everything seems to go haywire. They ran the ball almost 70 percent of the time on first down between the 11 and 15-yard lines, they split the pass and run on second down, and threw it all nine times on third down between the 11 and 15-yard lines with four of the nine plays coming on 3rd and 4 or closer.

The Packers had 21 plays from the 1-yard line, 10 pass and 11 run. They scored touchdowns on 5 of 10 passes and 5 of 11 runs. From the 2-yard line the Packers were 2/2 running the ball and 0/2 passing the ball. Finally, from the 5-yard line and in the Packers scored touchdowns on 9 of 21 run plays and 14 of 30 pass plays--a fairly even conversion rate between the two. Randall Cobb, the smallest of the receivers, had 6 of the 14 receiving touchdowns inside the 5-yard line.

Receiving Numbers in the Red Zone
Player Targets Completion Percentage TDs TD/Target
Adams 12 50.0% 1 8.3%
Bostick 1 100.0% 1 100.0%
Boykin 2 0.0% 0 0.0%
Cobb 29 69.0% 11 37.9%
Lacy 12 58.3% 2 16.7%
Nelson 28 42.9% 5 17.9%
Peppers 1 0.0% 0 0.0%
Quarless 14 50.0% 4 28.6%
R. Rodgers 6 66.7% 2 33.3%
Starks 1 100.0% 0 0.0%

Randall Cobb had 11 receiving touchdowns in the red zone last year, the rest of the team had 15 receiving touchdowns combined in the red zone. If you throw out James Starks and Brandon Bostick's only catches, Randall Cobb lead the team in targets, completion percentage, touchdowns, and touchdowns per target. The guy was a monster in the red zone last season.

Behind Randall Cobb in touchdowns per target were the tight ends Richard Rodgers (33.3%) and Andrew Quarless (28.6%). Despite the very high targets (28) Jordy Nelson had a low completion percentage (42.9%) and touchdowns per target (17.9%).

Like with how the Packers began to run the ball more in the second half of the season in the red zone, they also changed how they threw to Jordy. Randall Cobb was Mr. Consistent when it came to targets, he had a red zone target in 15 of the 18 games. Jordy Nelson on the other hand had half of his red zone targets come in the first six games of the season, the other half were divided among the final 12 games.

As Jordy's targets went down, they didn't go to Cobb, they went to the tight ends. Between Quarless and Richard Rodgers they had 20 red zone targets, five of them came in the first eight games. The remaining 15 targets came in the last ten games as Jordy's targets went down. The bigger-bodied receivers were not only taking Jordy's targets, but they were more effective with them, catching 55 percent of the passes thrown their way compared to the 43 percent for Jordy and most importantly scoring on 30 percent of the passes thrown their way compared to the 18 percent for Nelson.

Rushing Numbers in the Red Zone
Player Attempts TDs
Cobb 3 0
Kuhn 9 1
Lacy 45 8
Rodgers 9 2
Starks 11 1

The individual running stats offered no real surprises. Eddie Lacy lead the team in red zone carries and touchdowns. Lacy had eight rushing scores in the red zone and of those eight, six were from the five-yard line or closer and four of them were from the one-yard line. The longest of the touchdowns was from the 11-yard line. He had seven carries from the one-yard line and scored on four of them.

John Kuhn had three runs from the one-yard line, he scored on none of them. 

If you're reading this, congratulations on scrolling all the way to the bottom and skipping the majority of the piece. No judgment. 

Long story short, the Packers did struggle last season in the red zone and even though their basic touchdown percentage in the red zone was in the top half of the league, they were not as good as that number would lead you to believe. Even if they were, the 11th place they finished is far from being one of the top two teams in the league in red zone touchdown percentage like they were from 2010 to 2012. McCarthy's aggressiveness, or lack there of, showed. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing is really up for personal judgment, but he only attempted a fourth down conversion in the red zone when they were tied or had the lead. All three of the runs or passes on fourth down came from the one-yard line and only one was successful. The over-simplification of this would say that if he takes the field goal all three times, they get nine points. By going for it and only being successful once, they got seven points. 

The larger role that the run game played in the red zone play calling in the second half of the season last year goes along with the conservative play calling. It will be interesting to see if that carries over to this year. The incredibly high success rate they had the first seven games of the season last year in the red zone is hard to ignore and it is also hard to ignore that they passed the ball two-thirds of the time in the red zone in those first seven games. 

0 points

Comments (52)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
The TKstinator's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

So much to consider. Well written. Another factor to consider in all this would be the score of the game: if it was the second half and GB lead by 14 or more, MAYBE they were a little more likely to run the ball and "settle" for a field goal?

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:12 am

A good theory, but 55 of the 77 run plays, so roughly 70 percent, in the red zone came with the score +/- 7 points.

0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

Aha! Gracias. Good info.

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:08 am

Very good analysis Mike. Really. I have only one question - what in the world has the aggressiveness of HC with scoring. I think that performance, or, better to say, players execution is the main reason for success or failure. HC can be agreessive like hell, but if he has no player capabale (willing, prepared, in mood etc.) of execution, scoring percentage will be low...

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:19 am

I mentioned that because there has been a lot of criticism of McCarthy for settling for field goals instead of being aggressive and going for it on 4th and short. There is quite a few people who blame the Seattle loss on McCarthy for settling for field goals.

I think you are right, execution is the main reason for success or failure and often how much the coach trusts the team will execute can determine how aggressive they are with the 4th down play calling. Every single play has a shot at working, some just have a higher chance of success at certain times, it's a matter of how well it was executed against certain defenses.

There's a chance McCarthy just didn't trust his team to execute, but I get the feeling that it's more so he just wanted to make sure he left with points because that would likely not be the last chance they had in the red zone that game.

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:53 pm

I know that there was more than some fans who would like to blame McCarthy for everything (because he and TT decided to replace Brett Favre with better version of QB), even for world economy crises, but that is their way to handle heartbreaking loss. Your analyses is always very instructive and I like them. There is no need to put knee jerking opinions in so well documented and well written articles... That is my opinion!

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:22 pm

I see what you're saying and it's noted.

In my head his "lack of aggressiveness" in terms of going for it on 4th down in the red zone wasn't really an opinion, I thought it was widely believed. Maybe I'm wrong about that.

I'm also one of the people who is in the camp that you take the field goals almost every time and was a fan of taking them in Seattle, so I wasn't criticizing him here.

0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

August 21, 2015 at 06:35 am

Also, "aggressive" actually means going for the TD on 4th down and converting, while "foolish" or "stupid"(and several other more profane terms) mean going for it on 4th and NOT converting.

0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:10 am

"If you're reading this, congratulations on scrolling all the way to the bottom and skipping the majority of the piece. No judgment. "

Damn it!

0 points
0
0
Handsback's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:29 am

Mike, very good write-up on one of the few problem areas of the Packers. It's so hard to take stats like this w/o bringing into play all of the game conditions.
I can only add that during the harsh weather....running plays a greater role for scoring.
I can't imagine the variations that the Pack could do like putting in another OT as a TE and throw a screen to the other side.
With the 2-point conversion....I think Green Bay will have a better red zone finish. Practicing for a 2-pt score will also help them get better for scoring TDs on short yardage.

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:31 am

I would have to look it up, but I've read pieces before that state only heavy wind really changes scoring. In fact, snow really helps the pass game because receivers know when they're going to cut and can prepare for it, where as the defender has a much higher chance of slipping.

The 2-point thing is a really good point that I hadn't thought of. It could make teams much more efficient at scoring close to the goal line, it could also make the defenses really figure something out there too (although I would think the offense becoming more efficient is more likely). By the end of this season or next, if there is a drastic increase in two-point attempts, I would think there will develop a couple go-to plays/formations for offenses that become tough to stop.

You could also see some real creativity like you mentioned, not the wildcat, but something out of the box like that.

When a team is 2nd and goal from the 2, there is a good chance that they run the ball. However on a 2-point conversion, they almost never run the ball... it's weird to think about. Sure on the 2nd down play if you get a yard, it makes you a yard closer, but are you really going to attempt a run again on 3rd down when you just got stuffed on 2nd? Just something weird (to me at least) to think about.

0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:36 am

Mike- as usual, nice work on the stats. As you and TK mentioned one factor is the game score at the time of the red zone possession, especially if the Packers had a big lead by the second half. Another factor to consider for the last 8 games of the season is the weather conditions, especially for games played at Lambeau. Third, when you get into the second half of the season opposing DCs have plenty of film to study. They know that Rodger's arm is the Packers primary weapon so they cover with 7 in the end zone and rush 4 DLs, especially if they stop Lacy on first and goal. As for the jumbo package, it not only telegraphs that a running play is coming but to me the plays develop very slowly out of that package. I also believe that some of the red zone troubles stem from the lack of a legitimate TE threat in the red zone. Hopefully, the Packers will have some answers for their red zone offense in 2015. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:40 am

Thanks 61, good points.

-Roughly 70 percent of the run plays in the red zone came with the game score +/- 7 points.

-I would consider most of the weather at Lambeau last year to be pretty good, so I don't really buy into the weather conditions theory. Plus there are numbers out there that show that only strong wind really changes the effectiveness of the passing game. In fact, snow seems to help the pass game because receivers have an easier time with cuts because they know when to do them and defenders have a higher chance to slip. The Packers also ran it a lot in New Orleans, in Tampa, and in Seattle in the second half of the season.

-I definitely agree with things developing very slow out of the bigger packages. Unless it is a dive play, typically things take a long time to develop, especially sweep plays or pass plays. On the play action passes there are typically no more than 3 receiving options on the play and if the main option is covered, it is likely a wasted play. It will be interesting to see how their play calling and where Aaron Rodgers looks in the red zone if Richard Rodgers develops into a real threat.

0 points
0
0
WKUPackFan's picture

August 20, 2015 at 09:11 am

Outstanding analysis Mike! Your comments about the token 1st down run are well taken, with the % from the 6-10 yard line being the biggest issue in my opinion, It would be interesting to see the yardage gained on each of those runs.

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:44 am

I have those numbers, which ones in particular are you looking for?

I was going to include them, but there's so much context required for each play. Now that you got me thinking about it, I should have done something on how often they got a percentage of the yards available to them, through the run or pass.

0 points
0
0
WKUPackFan's picture

August 21, 2015 at 07:04 am

The results of the 1st down runs from the 6-10 yard line is what I was thinking of. However, with a 68.8% run rate on 1st down from rhe 11-15 those results would be interesting also.

0 points
0
0
Idiot Fan's picture

August 20, 2015 at 09:23 am

"Putting the ball in Rodgers' hands and just occasionally sprinkling in the run, may end up being the best practice going forward."

I agree with this sentiment on all parts of the field, including the red zone.

Still, given that the Packers, I believe, had the highest scoring offense in the league last year, it's hard to be too upset about the red zone issue. I also feel like I can kind of reason out why it would be true - we have an offense that is fast and can spread things out and really move the ball, but we're not super physical. So when things get compact in the red zone, our strengths get diminished.

If there's one thing I learned from the tables above, it's that we should have been throwing to Bostick every time. Guaranteed TD.

0 points
0
0
barutanseijin's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

Right. And never throw it to that clown Peppers with the 0.0% completion & TD rate. Is that bozo still on the team?

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

Lets just hope the Vikings don't figure out what they have in Bostick.

I do think there is something to forcing the run on all areas of the field though, consistently throughout the game. We have seen in the past that if you don't at least make defenses respect that a run could likely happen, they just pin their ears back and go after Rodgers. Plus it wears down the defense more and at the end of the game when you're trying to milk the clock to grind out a win, it's a lot easier if you can do that with the running game against a tired defense.

0 points
0
0
Idiot Fan's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:28 pm

Oh, I'm definitely in favor of running the ball. I just think that we occasionally fool ourselves into thinking that, because we have Lacy, we are a power running team, and I don't think we really are. Run to keep them honest, but never forget that AR is the moneymaker.

0 points
0
0
Portland Mark's picture

August 20, 2015 at 09:48 am

Lacy is great. Rodgers is greater. Until the game is out of reach for the opposition, have Rodgers put a dagger in the opponents.

0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:21 am

Succinct and excellent.

0 points
0
0
Chazman's picture

August 20, 2015 at 09:50 am

Very nice piece Mike, and informative enough to keep me going to the end!
I don't know the stats on this but I would be interested in learning how many times they used play action to Lacy inside the 10. It seems like they either trot out the jumbo package and run it or spread everyone out with no running back telling the defense they are passing it. Very little misdirection involved which might make a difference.

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:52 am

Thanks for the complement on the piece.

I would be curious to know that as well. Unfortunately, that might be something that would require going back and watching every play of.

0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:24 am

I have no stats whatsoever, but nevertheless I hate the jumbo package.
Which of our O-linemen would be considered "road graders"? I think everyone agrees that Sitton is our best lineman overall, but is he a better pass blocker than run blocker?

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:53 am

And run blocking on the goal line is a different animal than run blocking on the 30.

0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:34 pm

Agreed. Straight ahead power vs. lateral slide and cut.

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:15 pm

I don't have any stats. My wholly uninformed by stats opinion in order is Lang, Linsley, Sitton, Bulaga, and finally Bakhtiari.

0 points
0
0
Ibleedgreenmore's picture

August 20, 2015 at 11:20 am

The info was great but we could see the redzone was an issue last year. With all the weapons and could not punch it home.

0 points
0
0
ray nichkee's picture

August 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Nice work mike, i can tell you put alot of time in it besides the typing.

Stats mean nothing only the W-L column. That being said it gives us something to read until the real stuff comes. It is interesting to ponder and discuss. Could the stats possibly tell more if they were compared to the defense they faced? We all know lacys workload increases as the season goes and they and they often score on 20+ yard plays. The OL is more athletic vs road grader type fitting the alex gibbs zone blocking. They had the highest scoring offense last year. They didnt play from behind very much (i think). We all are blessed to watch this team. Go pack.

0 points
0
0
hobbes's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:33 pm

Very interesting data. How do the Packers compare to other teams with similar offensive makeups? Off the top of my head I would think the Broncos or the Saints last year probably schematically were the most similar to the Packers; did they see similar results in the redzone, especially when it came to running back efficiency?

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:48 pm

That would definitely be interesting to look at.

For this I had to go through all the play-by-play logs of the Packers drives and put all of the red zone plays and results of the plays into a spreadsheet. I don't have the time to do that for other teams unfortunately.

0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:52 pm

Nice work as usual Mike. Much appreciated.

But do you know what I see when I look at those stats from 2012 compared to 2014? No Finley. No scary go-up-and-get-it guy in the redzone. Cobb is shifty. Cobb is fast. Jordy is both fast and strong. But neither are the redzone animal that a HWS TE is. Like Gronk. Or Graham. Or even the Fin Head.

Hopefully Rodgers part deux can be that guy this year.

0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

August 20, 2015 at 03:54 pm

Agree on that.

0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:13 pm

Unfortunately, I don't think R. Rodgers isn't that kinda TE. He isn't going to go up and get passes like Finley did. The catch vs Dallas is what Rodgers excels at. Contested catches. But he isn't the type of TE that's going to go over DB's to make a lob/fade type pass in the end zone.

0 points
0
0
lucky953's picture

August 20, 2015 at 11:25 pm

Agree. Need a big body that can shield off smaller defenders. Even tho' RR isn't a great leaper, he can get leverage and all reports say " great hands". I think he'll be targeted more in the red zone. Adams might be another valuable red zone threat. Big receiver who can catch away from his body. I'd like to see them run more "pick" or rub-off plays to create a crease. With AR's accuracy, it'd seem to be a good percentage play.

0 points
0
0
WKUPackFan's picture

August 21, 2015 at 07:12 am

Hry Bear! I moved my youngest into Transylvania University in Lexington KY last Friday. Hoping for good things.

That night I saw a banner ad: "The 8 worst college degrees for return on investment". We're doomed.

0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

August 20, 2015 at 03:43 pm

I think that it is as simple as going to the run more since Lacy came on. Before when running was rarely an option we were more effective in general. Just a theory. Before teams had to wonder which way Rodgers would beat them which was a lot.

0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

August 20, 2015 at 06:52 pm

I work with a Patriots fan (don't know how legit he is though), but today he hit me a jab today that kinda stung. He said Rodgers will just be another Peyton Manning. Great regular season stats but only 1 SB ring.

I've never wanted a #12 vs #12 Super Bowl more than I do now. I think Rodgers would have a Steeler's type game against Brady (damn near flawless).

0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:07 pm

Without getting into technicalities and more stats, What it tells me is that Lacy for all his great traits isn't that good of a red zone/short yardage runner. I remember Ahman Green was an absolute beast in short yardage and converted time and time again. I can't say the same about Lacy so far.

Takes more than just size to convert in the red zone. Hope that is something that he can change and become better at.

If he gets carries in those situations he's got to convert them. I'm not buying that the OL is to blame. But that's just me.

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:10 pm

It's a fair point.

For all the broken tackles for Lacy, how many are spin moves at the line or someone trying to arm tackle him after he's got a full head of steam in the second level of the defense?

I know I've seen him do it before, but I don't think the majority of his forced broken tackles have come from him just straight up trucking people.

As controversial as it is, I LOVE watching Lacy run and I'm glad he's on the team, but I personally would prefer to see a faster running back there. Especially because as far as power backs go, I see Lacy as more of a Legarrette Blount than a Marshawn Lynch.

0 points
0
0
NewNikeShoes's picture

August 20, 2015 at 11:54 pm

He doesn't break tackles while running, he just carries the D with him a couple yards.
We have Thunder, Lacy, but we also need lightning. The 1-2 punch could be extremely dangerous.
Plus, Lacy isn't Blount or Lynch. He's Lacy.

0 points
0
0
Crackerpacker's picture

August 21, 2015 at 06:43 am

Ahman Green had a very different OL, He had a very good power blocking line, If Lacy had that line he would be heading for the Hall Of Fame first ballot (imo)

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 20, 2015 at 08:31 pm

First, I got so engrossed by your article that I burned the living daylights out of dinner. I told my children that when I started reading this article that since dinner had at least 25 minutes to go, which is usually ample time to read an article, Mike Reuter should be blamed, but that argument did not fly. BTW, our pizza was really good, arriving after the smoke cleared and (JK) the fire department left.

Second, though this might be an invidious suggestion, I would be happy to nominate this article for best of the year, but you do have considerable competition. Great article.

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm

I appreciate the kind words and anything I can do to bring pizza into someone's life is time well spent.

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 20, 2015 at 09:27 pm

A) "The run game however saw the average run play be 2.6 yards closer to the goal line after week 7. One would think that this would lead to a higher rushing touchdown percentage, but it did not."

I don't think this surprised packer fans. When we have a big play and the packer gets tackled at the 8 yard line or so, I know my first thought is a fear that we'll have to settle for a field goal. I would be very interested in this stat if we pared it down to only first and goal from inside the 10.

B) "McCarthy's aggressiveness, or lack there of, showed. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing is really up for personal judgment, but he only attempted a fourth down conversion in the red zone when they were tied or had the lead. All three of the runs or passes on fourth down came from the one-yard line and only one was successful. The over-simplification of this would say that if he takes the field goal all three times, they get nine points. By going for it and only being successful once, they got seven points.

You're correct that this is an over simplification, of course. It would be correct if getting into the playoffs was determined by best point differential during the course of the regular season, but that is not the case.

Whether MM is too aggressive, not aggressive enough or is just right on 4th and goals cannot be conclusively proven mathematically because there is usually an unknown variable - the result when MM goes for the TD in those particular situations against that particular teams. [I suppose that if MM went for the TD on every single 4th and goal, we would know those results and could compare it to the % Crosby makes the FG from those distances (inc. the chance of a block/bad snap). I would suggest that there is no "knee-jerking opinion" in this wonderfully documents and researched article since you clearly note that such a determination is a matter of personal opinion.

0 points
0
0
MikeReuter's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Very well put in terms of the 4th down attempts. That's exactly it.

And for what it's worth, I prefer him to take the field goals 95% of the time, so I was a fan of his play calling choices in Seattle in that regard. We were in position to win the game because of taking the points and we blew it, that's not the play calling's fault.

0 points
0
0
PaulRosik's picture

August 20, 2015 at 10:31 pm

The Packers tend to a bit vanilla in the red zone. They move the ball so well at times they appear to feel there is no need to change anything up in the red zone. The lack of a tight end is also telling inside the 10. They really tried to make Quarless the inside the 10 target early last season and your stats show he was successful 4 times at it - the late touchdown against Miami being the one that stands out. Later in the season they seemed to realize that even if Cobb is small, he is still the one with the quick moves most able to get open in a tight space. Even with Lacy and the improved offensive line it still feels like the Packers struggle to punch it in running inside the 3 .

0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

August 21, 2015 at 06:53 am

Vanilla is the perfect word. The Packers always seem to run one of two plays inside the 10 yard line. It's either between Sitton and Bahk or they try and run outside of Bahk, or at least it felt that way to me. My point being MM became somewhat predictable. For example, running Lacy around the left end on 3rd and goal from the 2 drove me freaking nuts, especially against a defense is extremely quick like Seattle.

0 points
0
0
Allan Murphy's picture

August 20, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Chillax !

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 21, 2015 at 01:54 pm

I guess I can't help suggesting additional research! I'd be interested in the stats on the success rate of runs inside the 3 that went left, up the middle, or right, and out of what formations. I think Nick reply comment above is similar.

As to formations, there is little point in running out of a 2 TE set since neither of them can block. I also think one reason our jumbo packages suck is the linemen brought in isn't actually particularly good as a road grader.

0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

August 22, 2015 at 05:28 am

I read your and actually laughed...because it's true. What good IS it to run a 2 TE set with TE's not very good at blocking. If Lane Taylor is part of the Jumbo Package and I believe he was, well enough said. He just isn't very good.

I didn't pay enough attention to JC Tretter last Thursday to really comment on him but I'm watching this weekend and I'm watching Barclay. I just hope Rodgers doesn't get killed with him at LT. IMO this is just a bad idea playing him there.

0 points
0
0