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Cheesehead TV Matchup: Week Three Offense

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Cheesehead TV Matchup: Week Three Offense

  • Protect the Quarterback By Spreading the Field

Mike McCarthy has caught a lot of heat, both in the last two weeks and over the course of his tenure in general, for running what some in the local media have dubbed a 'spread offense'. Aficionados would scoff at this notion, but the truth is McCarthy was definitely incorporating spread concepts into his designs, both in New Orleans and in Green Bay, long before it became all the fad in college football and before Urban Meyer began whispering in Bill Belichick's ear and the NFL witnessed the greatest offensive performance it had ever seen by a team using a boatload of spread concepts.

For whatever reason, McCarthy has gone away from a lot of that during these first two weeks of the 2009 season, but I expect to see them back in full force this Sunday against the Rams. As Aaron Rodgers intimated earlier this week, one of the best ways McCarthy can protect the quarterback is to flood the field with options. The best thing McCarthy can do is spread the field horizontally with receivers and pick his shots deep when he senses the opportunity present itself.

Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo's defense is not the pushover Packer fans might think. No, it's not nearly as tough as the Bears or even the Bengals, and it is definitely a group in transition, with the old veteran Leonard Little manning one edge and second year end Jake Chris Long manning the other. But Spagnuolo definitely got the better of McCarthy in the NFC Championship game, mostly by ensuring Ryan Grant had no cut-back lanes and by challenging the Packers recievers at the line of scrimmage. Of course, Donald Driver made the Giants pay big for that tactic on his 90 yard touchdown, but for the most part, Spagnuolo had the recipe for defeating McCarthy's scheme. Obviously, the elements helped along with the horrific play of McCarthy's quarterback in the second half and overtime, but Spags' game plan was sound.

Now, the Rams' talent level is obviously nowhere near what Spagnuolo had to work with in New York. But Little and Long, despite not getting much pressure on the quarterback so far this season, have the potential to make life troublesome off the edges on any 3rd and long the offense faces. McCarthy has indicated that the team has not been nearly efficient enough on first and second down through the first two games. My hope is that you'll see the offense put themselves in a lot more 3rd and shorts by running a lot more 'Levels'-type plays, like the one below:

What is so instructional about this play is that while the offensive line is getting pushed back, the quarterback has multiple options for getting the ball out of his hand on the play. Even if he doesn't hit Driver, Donald Lee is also available for an even bigger gain. If this type of play is run on first down, the options available to McCarthy on second and third will open up exponentially.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Piet's picture

Jake Long was traded to St. Louis and shifted form OT to DE? Wow.

No, No, I'm sure you meant Chris Long.

Sorry for being a smartass.

PackersRS's picture

I adore the 5 wide spread, specially with a mobile qb like Rodgers. Though with the ammount of hit he has taken, maybe it's not that good of idea to let him run with the ball, maybe only at the goal line.

manolito's picture

wow. what the hell is that throwing motion? ;-)

packeraaron's picture

Doh! Thanks Piet. Gotta stop doing these while at work...

Ron La Canne's picture

I swear that none of us will turn you in.
I think this week will be a game where the O line should be more favorably matched against their opponent. GB should be evenly matched or slightly better matched up than any of the one-on-one matchups in previous games.
Colledge vs. Little Little is old and slowing down and not as strong. Daryn should build a bit of confidebce here.
Sitton vs. Gibson Sitton seems to be better.
Wells vs. MLB Luarenitis Laurenitis is too fast for Wells one-on-one. Wells will need to help out on double teams in non-blitz situations. I worry about his mobility and strength after surgery.
Spitz vs. Ryan Spitz should dominate this matchup.
Barbre vs. Long Even If Barbre doesn't do his job Sunday he never will.
QB Rodgers should have a breakout day. God help MM and TT if Smith has a career day. He may start according to St Louis Post Dispatch
Grant One more chance to show you weren't a one year wonder (Actually a one and a half year wonder)
WR's Should rip up the DB's. Given time Rodgers will throw the ball all over the field

This should be a good day for the Offense assuming ......!

dennis eckersley's picture

i've noticed how virtually all of the "this is what we need to get back to doing" videos you post are from 2007........with #4

packeraaron's picture

dennis - other than the 'Levels' play (which I admit I've used before, but in an entirely different context), I would love an example...

VApackerfan's picture

Ron, I think you meant to say Grant is a half year wonder. His best football came in the second half of the 07'/08' season. Even though he went over 1,200 yards last season, he only rushed for 4 touchdowns and had a poor YPC.

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