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How might Adam Stenavich impact offensive line technique?

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How might Adam Stenavich impact offensive line technique?

Former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz recently had an insightful answer when asked about the kind of impact a new offensive line coach might have on established vets who have been using certain techniques for a long time. 

BTW, Geoff's answer is in response to a great question from friend of CHTV, Matub, who asked: 

I’ve heard the new Packers O-line coach, Adam Stenavich, doesn’t advocate James Campen’s “hug” technique. How do you think that will affect the line this year?

From Geoff:

So the “hug” technique is something that’s been unique to the Packers and it drives “holding” social media wild. The Packers tackles, and especially standout left tackle David Bakhtiari, attempt to block their counterparts with their hands wider than usual, and it looks like a hug.

It’s NOT holding, since the Packers linemen still have their hands inside the framework of the defender and — a key point here — they keep their feet moving.

Lastly, remember the officials watch film, get reports, and speak to coaches. If it were holding, it would get called more often. So stop bitching about it.

Now back to the question. This shouldn’t affect the older players, like Bakhtiari, if Stenavich allows those players to continue to use the techniques that have worked for many years. It would be a poor coaching decision to attempt to change the successful techniques of linemen who’ve practiced these over and over.

I’ve been in that situation where an offensive line coach wanted to change my stance, change my punch and so forth, when I was already been established — and it didn’t go well. It strained our relationship as I rightfully pushed back.

Where Stenavich will make his mark is with the younger players who are willing to be molded and who want their coaches’ full input. Another way that Stenavich might change things is his terminology and his identification system.



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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (38) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

"I’ve been in that situation where an offensive line coach wanted to change my stance, change my punch and so forth, when I was already been established — and it didn’t go well. It strained our relationship as I rightfully pushed back."

Yeah. There's going to be some of that with Rodgers, Adams, Bakhtiaria, Bulaga, and possibly Linsley this year. There are vets on the offensive side of the ball. Vets who are very good players and who've done things a certain way for a very long time. Only a poor coaching staff would insist on completely changing them. And if this coaching staff does that, that would lend itselt toward the "bust" possibility of Matt LaFleur's hire.

Coldworld's picture

Don’t mess with something that works: if it ain’t broken don’t fix it. That said, have an open mind. Sometimes success in others can teach one how to reach a better result. That’s how one learns and improves through experience and is equally true of players and coaches.

jannes bjornson's picture

All the Great players want good coaching. At their level of proficiency they want to hone the small details and keep improving their weaknesses, just like Federer or Tiger.

Tundraboy's picture

Sage advice. Never too old to improve.

Ferrari Driver's picture

Don't understand the disagreement with your post; makes sense to me. Thumbs up from here.

Bearmeat's picture

Meh. People are going to think what they want to, and that includes me. That's the beauty of being a fan: I can be a complete moron, and it affects team in exactly no way whatsoever.

All I'm saying is that the young coaching staff would be better served to treat the veterans lightly, and not in the Bill Parcells model of break em down/build em up. That's not going to work with our older offensive players who've been quite successful for years.

Now, on the defense? Totally different question. That is a very young unit. And one that has had exactly 2 non-dumpster fire seasons since 2010. (2014/2015). And even in those seasons, they were kind of "meh" more than "great."

holmesmd's picture

Didn’t they finish 15 last season and even higher before when Peppers was on the team? Not sure I would call them a dumpster fire? When you have to play your 3rd string all season, what did you expect? I could have played at the end of last season!;) LoL I don’t think that’s an indictment of the organization per se. Call it what is.....bad luck

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4zone's picture

Speaka Zee Inglish Mick. . .

GLM's picture


Lare's picture

The play of the Packers OL was below average last year.

Lots of players go to new teams every year, they should always be open to growing and learning new techniques. That's how they, and the team, get better.

Change is always hard, but it some cases it makes them a better person and player.

Jonathan Spader's picture

"The play of the Packers OL was below average last year."

For the Packers or compared to the rest of the NFL was the Packer OL "below average"?

PFF for what it's worth ranked the 2018 Packer OL 7th in the NFL. Saying "Green Bay had their issues at right guard all season long, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that they sent out the best pass-protecting tackle duo in the league. David Bakhtiari had the highest pass-blocking grade among all tackles while Bryan Bulaga ranked second among right tackles in the NFL this season."

The Packers have been spoiled for years by great OL play. Watch some of the other NFL teams OL play and see if you can still call the Packers below average. It's tough to find NFL caliber OL.

Coldworld's picture

The rating of Bulaga should give some pause for thought. Not easy to replace that level of play even if he doesn’t play every game.

PackerAaron's picture

Spot on. One reason they didn't move on after he refused a paycut last summer,

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I've suggested giving Bulaga a third contract, but on a pay-as-you-go basis. That takes cap space, unfortunately. We will see exactly what the cap space looks like next year: who knows, perhaps the cap will take a big jump. The alternative probably is using a first or, in a stretch if we are drafting in the sixties, a 2nd round pick on a right tackle next year. Perhaps one of the young guys will look sufficiently promising.

Bearmeat's picture

I seriously doubt Bulaga gets a 3rd contract. I think they view Turner as the RT of the future with Jenkins taking his spot. Which means they MUST find another OT in the draft next year too.

GLM's picture

Let's see how Bryan looks coming out of training camp, and how healthy he stays throughout the season. I'm not against extending him, but that seems to be a long-shot.

flackcatcher's picture

Like they had anybody to replace him with....

carlos's picture

A good seasoned, grizzled vet to have around. A true team guy who battles non stop. It’s a violent game and injuries test all players one way or another. I’d keep him around this year for sure.

Coach JV's picture

When you install a new blocking scheme, the players have to learn new techniques. That's all there is to it. Otherwise, it's not a new scheme. It's just the same old $#!+.
In a zone blocking scheme that requires linemen to move laterally, you can't do the hug. It doesn't work. It slows down the movement of the line.

So I don't care if Bak, Bulaga, and Linsley have to learn new technique. They're paid millions of dollars to do so and should be professional enough to do so.

And I bet they will too. Because I absolutely believe they're professional enough to do so.


dobber's picture

Isn't "the hug" employed more in pass sets while ZBS is a run scheme? I don't think the two would overlap, but I do agree that if you try "the hug" while moving laterally, you're just going to drag down your DE and the yellow hankies are going to fly.

Coach JV's picture

I think LaF's system uses the zone blocks in pass protection often, with disguising and misdirecting with the use of motion, there will be plenty of pass plays that will require the line to move laterally.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed, Dobber. My understanding is that the "hug" technique is employed while pass blocking. OL might do a little "hugging" if all they can achieve is a stalemate with the defensive lineman. GB has used some zone blocking for years now. It shouldn't be new to these guys.

carlos's picture

And get rid of the ball sooner on pass plays JV

Coach JV's picture


flackcatcher's picture

Packers were a pure ZBS but switch to wham blocking for the reasons Coach JV stated. But by 2014, being a pretty veteran group were running combo blocking schemes. That's one of the main reasons Rodgers held on the pre snap longer. Most of league runs combo schemes now because RPO is more suited, but ZBS on 5-7 step drops. (But 7 step drops are becoming increasing rare these days unless offensives pre package movement or roll outs in to them.)

DThomas's picture

I agree GPG. The movement of stretching plays toward the sideline will require new techniques - or using techniques they've played a lot more than they have in the past. And they'll be run AND pass blocking during the stretch. I don't think they've done a lot of that.

Sean-Luc Shanahan's picture

The hug technique isn’t holding by the rule book by anybody watching it closely can clearly see it’s a pseudo-hold. The packers have benefitted from this semi-loophole for years now and it’s been a workaround from proper O-line technique. I wouldn’t mind seeing our new OL coach come in and teach a more traditional complex way of blocking that can prove to be more versatile and harder to predict for the opposing team... would also train the guys to be better at blocking in the run game as opposed to JUST the pass game which, I believe, is a huge reason as to why MLF moved on from campen

hobowilly's picture

SLS, humm. Personally, i thought Campen was one of the most successful coaches GB had during the MM tenure. Interesting you think this but suffice it to say, it really looks like MLF is going to balance the attack fro 68% pass to lesser passing, which should be fun to watch. It appears too, that GB has the personnel (Jones,Williams and now Williams #2. I believe they also give Vitale a chance....for Gods sake, i was so frustrated with MM's lack of creativity and boring 3rd & 4th down play calls during key points in the game(s). Really, how fascinating would it be to factually know what truly went on between AR & MM. Sorry folks, i think AR is an extremely wise & talented player, who knew the workings of the game better than MM and i'll always believe that. Saying that though, there are dynamics that go on between the HC, OC and QB for sure, BUT it doesn't hurt when you have someone special like AR. Won't ever forget a lasting memory on film was when Bart Starr came over to Coach Vince on the sidelines and shares he thinks he can wedge it in over Kramer in the ICE BOWL- -the reply, "run it and let's get the hell outa here". Vince had faith in his QB....we all hope & expect something of the same between MLF and AR: just say'n!! Thanks for article, AN!

Packer Fan's picture

I am not into techniques. I want a coach that is able to bring young experienced lineman into good solid backups and eventually starters. We haven't had for a few years. Our starting linemen are good. But as always, they get hurt. Can the coaches bring the young players up to a level of a solid backup? Sorry, but Campen didn't do that well in the last few years.

dobber's picture

Must be able to teach...absolutely right.

Must get every player on the field to play at a high level. At some point of injury, you're working at a talent deficiency that will be hard to overcome, though.

Lare's picture

I'd just be happy with a OL coach and OL players that don't get our QB sacked 53 times per season.

Johnblood27's picture

does the ...

cant make chicken salad outta chicken poop (but I didnt mean poop) phrase ring a bell here?

What resources were put into getting talented OL the past 5 years?

Precious few...

jannes bjornson's picture

Players, not plays. The depth should be better this season and probably added to next draft. FYI, Campen developed all of the starting linemen for
the Pack, including Sitton and Lang.

Jonathan Spader's picture

After I read this article I needed a hug.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Speaking from my own experience, some changes recommended by my coach (after I had played the sport for a decade with no coaching) produced almost immediate improvement, and some, er, didn't.

The other issue was whether I could practice something new on my own as opposed to having to get someone to drill me. I could practice a new serve in tennis on my own, as often as I could stand it. My coach took one look at my old serve and said it had to go completely. He disliked my foot placement, grip, toss, rhythm, and lack of pronation. I got considerably worse before I got better, but the change made me a different player.

nstewart1's picture

What happened to cut blocking?

I thought that would be a staple of any ZBS, but it seems like I've seen less and less over the last 8 years - here in GB, but also across the league.

holmesmd's picture

Cut blocking is no longer allowed and is illegal. It will draw a flag every time and I believe it’s a 15yd penalty although it might be 10, not sure. Cutting guys lead to way too many injuries and I’m glad it’s gone!

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