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Dougherty Nails It

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Dougherty Nails It

Excellent piece from Pete Dougherty today in the Green Bay Press Gazette about the Packers return to the short passing game in lieu of a serviceable running game. As I've been telling anyone who will listen, a lot of the hand wringing over the running game is just wasted energy. Mike Holmgren's teams never ran the ball well, even when they were winning a championship. What they did do well was run to protect a lead in the 4th quarter, something we saw play out this season both against the Rams and the Lions.

Look, would it be nice if Grant and company could generate more than one or two yards a pop during the early stages of the game? Of course. But really, handing the ball off in McCarthy's offense is really just an exercise in keeping the defense honest. And McCarthy and Rodgers should be commended for running as many times as they did this past Sunday in light of all the 8-in-the-box the Lions gave them. (As an aside: How is this a good defensive gameplan? Isn't Schwartz supposed to be a defensive mastermind? What kind of genius looks at the Packers and says - We must stop Ryan Grant at all costs! The mind boggles...)

The run game for the Packers, especially early in games, is just window dressing, a side salad to main course, which SHOULD be the short passing game, the slants and the smash routes that made the 2007 squad so succesful. Where Rodgers and McCarthy have gotten in trouble is in trying to make the offense resemble what the Saints are doing down in New Orleans. Unfortunately Rodgers, for all his potential, is not yet good enough to overcome his protection shortcomings the way Brees can. (And make no mistake, Brees is papering over some cracks) But Rodgers is definitely good enough to do what Favre was doing in '07. Get the ball out quick and let the guys do the work with their athleticism. Seriously, go back and watch Rodgers against Dallas in '07. Watch how he gets the ball out. The throws are in rhythm and on time. (There's even a little preview of '09 in there where he holds the ball, in this instance for a big play downfield to Donald Lee)

It will be interesting to see if McCarthy goes back to many of the deeper routes he was calling earlier in the season. Here's hoping we see a lot more of what Dogherty outlines in his piece.

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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.

Ron La Canne's picture

The "Ball Control" passing game is just as good as the run. Assuming, of course, the backs and TE's, et. al. hold on to the ball. Green mught help here. I remember how good he was of the screens. Even a little of that okd spark will help.

packeraaron's picture

Green was still executing very well in the screen game last year in HOU. Here's hoping...

Packsmack's picture

That's why the drops early in the year hurt so bad. You can't play ball control if you don't catch the ball.

NickGBP's picture

The 8 in the box by the Lions was probably to keep pressure on the Oline and cause some confusion. Only reason I could imagine.

matthew's picture

Yeah I really am hopping the short passes are more in the game plan. They haven't used it that much, but when they did,I really liked the quick throws to Jordy Nelson (if his defender was playing a little off). i just felt that with his size that it was almost at least a 7 yard gain. I know some teams some times have their recievers/tight ends motion out of the backfield to create mismatches. Wouldn't mind seeing a little of that either.

Packsmack's picture

Also, if they DO run, when are we going to see more of "Q?" He moves people, period.

PackersRS's picture

First, New Orleans is by no means an Elite OL team. But did you watch the game? Their LT MANHANDLED Osi. And their RBs are no joke either. You're absolutely right on Rodgers not being able to overcome a porous OL. But NO qb would overcome this line and RBs, I'll tell you. And he's a 100 plus rating QB. Imagine what he would be doing with a decent OL...
Second, about screens, you need linemen who can play in space, not just a RB that knows how to play the screen. We have one piece in place, with Green now. Can't say the same about the other... I'd rather call Wr screens, and draws...
Third, there's only so much you can quick pass through a game... Holmgren's teams could also hold the pass rush long enough so they could go for the deep ball. But I agree with Dougherty.
Forth, packsmack nailed it with Q. He was active, when we were able to ran last game, in the 4th quarter. Q at FB = 1 yard more per run attempt, at least.

packeraaron's picture

I did watch that game - and all the others as well. Yes, Bushrod had a good game against Osi, at home. He's been a problem on the road, esp when they played at PHI. And it's the same up and down the line - no real stars, couple young guys, not unlike the Packs line, who Brees is making look a lot better than they are.

NickGBP's picture

Man, watching those 07 highlights again, the YAC was ridiculous. Jennings made about 3 guys miss on that one huge gain. Definitely need to step up in that area, and some quick passes can help.

retiredgrampa's picture

Hell, I'll settle for any ray of hope to overcome our so-called running game. Even when Chad was young he was not a good run blocker, but now that he's becoming a revolving door, and MM seems determined to use him no matter what, we need another weapon. Or two. If this be it, so be it.

VApackerfan's picture

Watching Rodgers in that 07' game is interesting. I noticed he was very light on his feet, and not afraid one bit to buy a few more seconds with his feet. There have been a number of times this season where Rodgers has had an opening to run through to buy more time for throws, but he stayed in the pocket while the O-line collapsed. I don't want him to be a running QB, but using his athletic ability a little more would help as well. Let's hope the offensive scheme changes up a little to fit this team better.

Andrew In Atlanta's picture

Just caught up on the injury report. While it does not appear to be a big deal, Rodgers hurt his foot late in the DET game. Again I ask, why was Flynn not in the game when we're up 26-0?

nerdmann's picture

I agree. I wanted to see Flynn in the 3rd quarter.
I also agree about the screens. I think that may be why they signed Green instead of bringing Lumpy up off the PS.

PACKERS's picture

From what I've seen, the short passing game has given the best results for the packers (excluding the one handed catches by Donald, of course). It would be nice to see the running game improve, and signing green might have been a large step in that direction. For now though, the oak should stick with the short passes.

PACKERS's picture

Sorry. Typo. Pack

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