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Cheesehead TV Matchup: Week Four Offense

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Cheesehead TV Matchup: Week Four Offense

Don't Run the Ball Just To Prove You Can

All week the talk has been about the Packers troubled running game. No doubt, head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin are sick to death of listening to reporters continually asking them about it. But that doesn't mean they should come out of the tunnel featuring a heavy dose of Falcon and Rhino sets, pounding the football repeatedly just to prove a point. This weeks opponent, the Detroit Lions, has not exactly been a defensive stalwart in any category, but even a cursory look at their season to date will show a competent front four on defense backed by just about the worst secondary in the NFL and a suspect, at best, group of linebackers.

That's not to say Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz doesn't have his guys playing hard. Far from it. But when you have Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and crew - not to mention Aaron Rodgers - you shouldn't be worrying too much about trying to get Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn going, especially inside against Ndamukong Suh and former Packer Corey Williams. Now, that said - it should be interesting to see if McCarthy makes Dimitri Nance active and if he gives him a chance to show what he can do. He's been with the club for three weeks now and should be ready to take at least five to ten snaps. At this point you have to think he can't be any worse than what they've seen out of Jackson and Kuhn.

  • Stay Patient, Give Clifton and Tauscher More Help

Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was know for his (sometimes excessive) aggressive blitzing in Kansas City and last year he did his best to live up to that reputation with the Lions. But this year, with an incredible influx of talent up front, he has gone to much more of a...wait for it...Cover 2 look, counting much more on the likes of Suh and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch to put pressure on the quarterbacks out of a straight four man rush. Look for the Lions to try and follow the Bears blueprint - lots of two deep safeties, aggressive get-up-the-field front four, keep everything in front of them in the secondary...and tackle.

It could be very tempting for McCarthy and Rodgers to try and work the deep passing game against a very talent-deprived secondary, but if they're smart they'll stick to what they were doing last week, concentrating on the pure West Coast Offense version of their offense, working the ball methodically down the field. The key, obviously, will be to avoid the stupid pre-snap penalties and to execute in the red zone.

Another key will be to work in a few more passes from tight running formations enabling guys like Donald Lee and Tom Crabtree to get some hits on Vanden Bosch and left defensive end Cliff Avril. Both ends are high-motor guys who, while not at the level of a Julius Peppers, will both give Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher all they can handle. Some chipping help from the tight ends or even the likes of Brandon Jackson should ease the pressure on the aging offensive tackles. For that reason, McCarthy needs to limit the amount of pure spread looks we saw in the second half against the Bears.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

glorious80s's picture

Don't they need some running game to add some variety in looks? Would a bunch formation work?

PackerAaron's picture

I don't doubt you'll see a vast array of looks from McCarthy this week. I just think he didn't want to bother against a Bears front that has been absolutely dominant against the run so far this year.

fish's picture

Looking at Stats for this season,

Brandon Jackson - 36 att, 104 yrds, 1 TD
Jahvid Best - 38 att, 124 yrds, 4 TD

Almost the same yardage but J.Best has more TD's which means detroit uses J.Best the same way we used to use Jackson, In the Red Zone.

holly's picture

You're also forgetting that Best had 154 receiving yards and another receiving TD against the Eagles. He WAS shut down by the Bears, but he was injured against Minnesota early, or he'd have higher stats.

They're nowhere near the same caliber of player.

fish's picture

Wasn't really looking at Receiving yards since we have 5 wide that handle most of those stats. Peterson has 85 yards receiving and Best has 183, that doesn't make him better than Peterson. But Yes, untimately Best has shown he is better than Jackson at Running Back.

MarkinMadison's picture

I just don't see Clifton lasting to December. If you accept this then it makes sense to have Bulaga play a significant portion of the game to get more experience. And in the same way you don't want to try to run the ball just to prove you can, I don't think you want to dink-n-dunk just to prove you can. As long as Rodgers is taking what is given, he needs to throw the deep ball.

Shane Arman's picture

Keys to this week:
-Get J. Finley the ball
-O-line needs to hold Lions DEs
-Special teams needs to not collapse
-No big plays from J. Best (if he plays) or Calvin Johnson

If these things fall into place, Packers win 38-10

RickyBobby's picture

The Packer's best running backs (in order) are...

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. John Khun
3. Brandon Jackson

pretty f'n sad.

Tommyboy's picture

Agreed with every word...When the first play from scrimmage last week was a run to the left side, I knew McCarthy was going to try proving a point that night. Of course, he was way pass-heavy, but some downs simply felt wasted trying to show they'll still run the ball. I was bummed last week to see Nance on the inactive list (Neal too, for that matter). Let's start working him in and see what we've got.

Zub-a-dub's picture

I just want to win the game, running the ball just to prove we can talk is a little over confident, this is not a practice game, but the real deal.

IMO this game is a perfect storm for the Packers, Lions have nothing to lose being 0-3, they will give some looks the Packers haven't seen and take big risks with big rewards.

This is the Lions super bowl.

hoogus's picture

104 yds in 36 carries = 2.9 average.
124 yds in 38 carries = 3.3 average.

Even if this is all you look at, Best is better.

PWC's picture

There is no need to prove anything. The Pack needs to do what's going to work, and that is passing into the weak Lions secondary and avoiding the strong front four.

Glorious80's's picture

Is it possible for the line, instead of trying to stop an immoveable force rather push the DLinemen into a direction they're headed, with the QB moving away?
Can the O continue to keep going to the same well, ie, laying it all on AR?

NickGBP's picture

Not sure what you mean exactly. OLineman always try to redirect OLineman. That's what a QB pocket is all about. You're not going to just stone wall a guy every time, so you try to push him out enough so that the QB has that extra second.

FITZCORE1252's picture

If you're ever going to 'air it out' this is the week. But it will just be a temporary mask placed on our rushing deficiencies.

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