Allen Lazard was Lights Out on 3rd Downs in 2019

As a team the Green Bay Packers struggled on third downs last season, but Allen Lazard on the other hand, was lights out. 

Despite the Green Bay Packers finishing the 2019 season 13-3, winners of the NFC North, and falling just one game shy of reaching the Super Bowl, we saw a lot of inconsistencies from this offense. While there are always numerous reasons for a team's struggles as well as their successes, one reason that Green Bay had issues moving the ball at times was their inability to stay on the field. 

When it came to third down efficiency, the Packers ranked in the bottom half of the league last season. Their third down conversion percentage of just 37.6 percent ranked 19th overall and Aaron Rodgers completed just 54.7 percent of his total passes while posting a passer rating of only 87.5. His lowest on any down. 

Now, as I've already said, there is always a myriad of reasons for every issue. One big contributor was that oftentimes the Packers didn't do themselves any favors on first or second downs, which resulted in quite a few third and long situations. We also have to keep in mind that this was Year 1 of a brand new offense and another reason was simply the overall underwhelming performances from Rodgers' receiving targets. 

As we all know Geronimo Allison struggled with drops and he just wasn't dynamic with the ball in his hands. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham was largely inconsistent, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling's snap count decreased as the season went on. Fortunately for this Packers' offense, we saw the emergence of Allen Lazard over the second half of the year.

Lazard's coming-out party was against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night in Week 6 where he caught four of five passes for 65 yards along with a huge touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. By the end of the season, Lazard was the team's No. 2 receiver behind Davante Adams and had totaled 477 yards at nearly 14 yards per catch with three touchdowns.

But perhaps most importantly was that he had Rodges' trust and one of the ways that he was able to earn that, was because of his much-needed and uber-reliable contributions on third downs. 

On third downs in 2019, Lazard was targeted 23 times and hauled in 16 of them for receptions which is a catch rate of nearly 70 percent. On top of that he would total 217 yards at 13.6 yards per catch with two touchdowns. Oh, and did I mention that of his 16 receptions, 15 of them went for a first down? 

Here is a look at one of Lazard's clutch third down receptions:

What's that? You want another Allen Lazard fourth quarter touchdown reception on third down? Well, here you go!

For some context behind Lazard's numbers, two other players that Rodgers targeted heavily, Allison and Graham, didn't have nearly the success that Lazard did on third downs.

The duo of Allison and Graham would catch just 55 percent of the 34 total passes thrown their way on third downs last season and they didn't record a single touchdown either. Although they would outgain Lazard with 299 combined yards, it wasn't by that much considering there were two of them with more opportunities. 

Lazard's emergence on third downs and in big situations last season provided Rodgers with another trusted receiving target, which is something that he desperately needed, and it will result in more opportunities for him in 2020.

In order for this Green Bay Packers' offense to take a step forward this season, they'll have to become more efficient on third downs and it's comforting to know that in addition to Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, Rodgers now has Lazard to lean on.  

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

Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

NFL Categories: 
3 points

Comments (34)

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

May 22, 2020 at 01:25 pm

What caused him to go undrafted?

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Leatherhead's picture

May 22, 2020 at 03:40 pm

You can Google Lazard and find out lots of stuff about him. He looked like a 4th round guy because of his size and production, but he had a really bad practice at the Senior Bowl with lots of drops and that apparently damaged him.

He was our de facto #2 by the end of the season because he earned it, just like he earned the trust of the QB. He’s a weapon as a blocker against tiny DBs in the run game. He’s cheap.

If he improves at all in his second year we’re going to be better on offense.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Stroh's picture

May 22, 2020 at 05:33 pm

Size and production are great BUT maybe playing in the Big 12, against incredibly soft defense made him look alot better than he actually is.

He's a nice player great depth but i don't see him get much separation regularly like a#2 WR should.

+ REPLY
-1 points
1
2
Leatherhead's picture

May 22, 2020 at 08:57 pm

He game isn’t separation....it’s using his large body to shield tiny defenders away from the ball. He and Funchess are going to be a terrific combo opposite Adams and they’ll both have an advantage on runnng plays.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Stroh's picture

May 22, 2020 at 11:45 pm

Trust me I'me well aware his game is using his size. But that simply isn't enough. Getting separation is what matters. Rodgers made the play in vidoe #1 and if #2 is the play I think it is (It won't play for some reason) there was no safety so Rodgers had the whole field open to hit Lazard.

His size makes him an NFL player, but you gotta have more than just size. Not all NFL CB are midgets and are going to be beaten by size alone.

+ REPLY
-1 points
3
4
Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:37 am

No separation is not what matters. If it were, then Lazard wouldn’t be a starter in the NFL and wouldn’t have his HOF QB singing his praises. Rodgers is a good enough QB to put the ball where Lazard can get it and Lazard is a good enough receiver to keep his body between the defender and the ball.

Look at Mike Evans in Tampa. Pretty much the same size and speed as Lazard, and he’s had a pretty good career.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Stroh's picture

May 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm

That's my point! He's NOT a starter. Great backup yeah. But on every other NFL team he's NOT a starter. His QB praises him because he always does the right thing and is in the right place on time. But Rodgers has to make perfect passes to him because the coverage is always close! Lazard didn't make those plays in the video's Rodgers did.

Your not seriously comparing Lazard to Mike Evans a 3x Pro Bowl WR are you (thats like comparing Aaron Jones to Barry Freakin Sanders)
Just stop already! Evans was a high 1st rd pick, Lazard was undrafted for a damn good reason. NO COMPARISON!

Lazard is an NFL starter because he's the best option on a Packers team w/ next to nothing besides Adams. No other reason! God sometime you people have your eyes stained Green and Gold.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 06:18 pm

The comparison was size and speed.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:59 am

Funchess was better than nothing ,but we needed a change of pace receiver. As I've said before, Ervin could be that player. You have this vision of the Packers being a predominately running team next season that most don't want and Pack are not built for.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:52 am

Plaxico Burress didn't get too much separation either.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 06:19 pm

Exactly. .

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:37 pm

oops

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jannes bjornson's picture

May 22, 2020 at 07:09 pm

I had him at minimum a three pick. All this guy did at Iowa State was move the chains, especially on third downs. He is a testament to why scouts opinions are flawed. The film never lies and to think Gutedkunst pulled a sherman and put this guy on the waiver wire to set up a spot on the P squad and kept Shepherd on board should raise some valid question marks. Big 12 Football, doesn't that include some of the best DBs to enter the NFL from Texas, TCU, OSU etc...not buying any of the bullshit, this guy is an NFLPlayer.

+ REPLY
1 points
3
2
Stroh's picture

May 22, 2020 at 11:41 pm

Big 12 defense is a JOKE. Some decent players, but none that are great. Putting up stats in that conference isn't an accomplishment.

+ REPLY
-4 points
1
5
Tarynfor12's picture

May 22, 2020 at 01:44 pm

"Oh, and did I mention that of his 16 receptions, 15 of them went for a first down? "

If they weren't 1st down catches, then the premise of him being good on 3rd down is wrong, since not getting a 1st down on a 3rd down play is as valuable as a 3rd and 1 and the RB not getting that one yard.

If Lazard only made 3 1st downs out of his 16 catches, would his write ups be a bit different.

+ REPLY
-3 points
3
6
Leatherhead's picture

May 22, 2020 at 03:50 pm

You should look that up.

I’m of the opinion that if you gain 7 yards on 3rd and 10 you gave your defense 7 More yards to work with. Sure, I’d love to have the first down, but it’s better than nothing.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

May 22, 2020 at 04:15 pm

Yes, situational football. But the writer puts it out as though every catch is a first down or nothing with Lazard and that is the type of belief that isn't good.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
jlc1's picture

May 23, 2020 at 05:02 pm

15 out of 16 is alot closer to all than nothing. You whiffed on this one Taryn.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
J_brooks's picture

May 22, 2020 at 06:00 pm

What a ridiculous argument. Of course his write up would be different if he didn't make the catches. But he did. So what's your point?

+ REPLY
4 points
5
1
Tarynfor12's picture

May 22, 2020 at 07:08 pm

The usual. Everyone wants to focus only on an aspect that makes someone more than what they are, but Lazard needs more to be the #2, that this article is trying to make him out to be.

Cart before the horse. As much as many scream about 2nd year jumps, they always forget about 2nd year falls.

+ REPLY
-2 points
1
3
Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 12:41 am

I actually have to agree. Defenses play to stop the chains moving. In most cases, 7 yards on a 3rd and 9 is an outright win for the D. As a result, catches short of that are likely far less contested.

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
Stroh's picture

May 22, 2020 at 05:16 pm

Video 1. I see a great play... by Rodgers! Lazard was really well covered and Rodgers threw an absolute DIME into a very small window. Now ask yourself.. is this sustainable? No... Should a #2 WR be able get some separation? yes... The answers are more indicative of a #4 WR not a #2. I like Lazard but he doesn't pass the eye test for a #2 IMO. Great depth player.

+ REPLY
0 points
4
4
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 22, 2020 at 11:19 pm

I largely agree. However, Lazard did have a half step but more importantly he has late hands. The DB never knew the ball was in the air and didn't turn for it. As it happens, AR threw an extremely accurate pass fairly high and in front of a 6'5" WR.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Tundraboy's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:50 am

Late hands. Like that. And secures and holds on to the ball very well from all that I see.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
nostradanus's picture

May 22, 2020 at 06:13 pm

I recently watched the 2nd Bears & Vikings game plus the Seahawks playoff win last Jan. Lazard came up with big catches, big blocks and was a stalwart on special teams. All this and at a great price! Plus if you watch his TV appearances he’s a really good dude too!

This guy is solid in every aspect, what’s not to like? Because he’s not flashy and only runs a 4.55 (according to one source)

In today’s salary cap football a team needs a bunch of guys like Allen Lazard so they can afford to pay their stars.

As a #2 or at worst #3 he’s a very solid young veteran

Love me some Lazard! Gimmie sum mo! Go Pack!

+ REPLY
8 points
8
0
Bear's picture

May 22, 2020 at 06:40 pm

Remember D. Adams ran a 4.56 forty at the combine.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Stroh's picture

May 22, 2020 at 06:45 pm

Yes but Adams is outstanding getting separation. Lazard is not!

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
jannes bjornson's picture

May 22, 2020 at 07:12 pm

How did he get the catches and make the first downs?

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:41 am

An interesting question. But if you’ve already made up your mind that it’s all about separation then it’s not a question you’d ask yourself.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:47 am

Exactly , What is there to complain about really or quibble over. Lazard contributed a lot more than others who were given many more opportunities. He's a keeper,.maybe not a number two or whatever but he's a keeper.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 12:49 am

Adams has outstanding short area quickness and agility.

It is also possible that he didn’t do himself justice at the combine, not everyone does. I remember people being convinced that Jordy wasn’t fast enough to get behind defenses, till he did consistently.

My personal feeling is that there is a lot to like about Lazard, but I don’t see separation being a strong point. Using his size to win over the CB is. That typically isn’t a number 1 or 2 trait. Last year he often wasn’t open. Perhaps this year he will improve. The good news is that he is a plus blocker and has things that he had proved that he can do effectively. Anything else is a plus, but catching passes short of a first down won’t make a career.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
buddrow53's picture

May 22, 2020 at 09:25 pm

What I would like to know what part of the field were all of these 3rd down catches made.

Could they have been made in the void called the middle of the field?

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
PatrickGB's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:25 am

If I were to make a guess, it’s because Rodgers does not like to throw to the middle of the field. Also, Adams is the only player to consistently be open in the middle of the field. The hope was that Graham could do that but his time has passed, years ago.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Duneslick's picture

May 23, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Lazzard in my opinion is a number 3 or 4 receiver. Unless someone makes a jump GB really does not have a number 2 Maybe not even a number 3

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.