For Packers to Succeed in 2020, the "Illusion of Complexity" Must Pay Dividends

Forget everything you believe about what the Packers' offense *should* look like, and pay more attention to what it *does* look like.

It's Monday, final cuts are done, and we are officially in week one of the NFL regular season. Everyone is 0-0, and there is a certain level of hope and optimism for everyone (except maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars). 

Hard to remember a football season I've looked forward to more, and it has little to do with the actual quality of the Packers themselves. But hey, those Packers are coming off a 13-3 season and a trip to the NFC Championship, so there are plenty of football-related reasons to be excited for the season as well.

Expectations seem to be varied across the Packer fanbase at the moment. With closed training camp sessions and no exhibition games, fans really don't have any clue what to expect, other than probably a whole lot of sloppy football in the first month of the season or so.

Still, it is not entirely unrealistic for Packer fans to have Super Bowl dreams in 2020. Whether the Packers are the odds-on favorite to represent the NFC is certainly up for debate, and there are plenty of reasons to think other contenders in the NFC are more likely to be playing for the Lombardi Trophy this year. But the Packers have a lot of roster consistency coming into the season from a year ago, which will at least give them an advantage in the early portions of the year due to the lack of a typically structured offseason.

But more than any sort of consistency on the roster, the Packers' chances at becoming champions in 2020 will be, in my opinion, most heavily influenced based on the success of the continued transition into Matt LaFleur's offensive ideology.

The "illusion of complexity" and the redefining of the receiver position

Much to the chagrin of Packer fans everywhere, the team largely ignored the wide receiver position this offseason, a position many (myself included) felt to be among the team's top two areas of need heading into the 2020 season.

Clearly, the Packers felt pretty good about the guys that they have in the wide receiver room. I think I would feel better if we already had seen an established version of Matt LaFleur's ideal offense, and not the hybrid LaFleur/Mike McCarthy offense we saw in 2019. 

We as Packer fans seem to be stuck in this mentality in which the receiver position is absolutely vital, and that's largely due to the way McCarthy ran the offense. Constant four- and five-wide receiver sets, a reliance on receivers getting themselves open and winning individual matchups, and a big focus on the quarterback/receiver chemistry on the field. That was how it was in Green Bay for nearly 13 seasons, and so we got accustomed.

But LaFleur's so-called "illusion of complexity"-based offense requires a lot more versatility out of its players, and a greater reliance on scheme than matchup victories. Compared to the McCarthy offense, it doesn't matter quite as much how you stock up each position on the depth chart, but instead how you're able to assemble the same pieces on the field in a variety of different roles.

Basically, we need to separate ourselves from the McCarthyian outlook on wide receivers, and start focusing more on the LaFleurian concept of "pass catchers" as a versatile position in their own right. 

[Disclaimer: this is my own terminology and interpretation of what it is LaFleur is looking to do, but one that seems evident based on personnel moves, the evolution we saw in the offense in 2019 and LaFleur's own press conferences.]

Now, the big question, of course, is whether or not this new philosophy for the passing offense will be successful. Do the Packers have the pieces in place they need to run that kind of offense successfully?

A focus on versatility

The Packers think they do. Again, they almost completely disregarded the wide receiver positoin this offseason outside of signing Devin Funchess, who opted out of playing in 2020 due to COVID-related concerns. That leaves the Packers with one all-world wide receiver, a couple late-round draft picks in Marquez Valdes-Scatling and Equanimeous St. Brown who still have yet to reach their potential, a former undrafted free agent in Allen Lazard who needs to show he can produce results over a full 16-game season, and a guy in Malik Taylor who nobody really knows anything about.

However, it would be a mistake to take what the Packers didn't do with the wide receiver position this offseason and mistake that for general inaction.

What the Packers did do is double-down on the running back position, bringing in AJ Dillon, a big ground-and-pound bruiser whose presence in the backfield with Jamaal Williams will hopefully free up the Packers to use the dynamic talents of Aaron Jones and Tyler Ervin all around the field. 

They also brought in H-Back Josiah Deguara with a third round pick. As Deguara develops, he might line up in the back field, with his hand in the dirt on the line, or split out wide.

Young tight ends Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan can both play with their hands in the dirt or split out as receivers, and will be relied upon for larger contributions.

What the Packers have focused on this offseason, then, is continuing to build around pieces who provide them with versatility in their formation packages. The Packers might have a look where they bring out an H-back, a pair of running backs and two wide receivers, yet due to the skillsets of the people in the package have anything from three in the backfield to all five skill players split out wide. 

The Packers' offense under Mike McCarthy grew stagnant in part because of the preditability of its packages. They would rely on a lot of four- and five-wide receiver sets and underused their running backs and tight ends especially toward the end, making it easier for opposing defenses to determine what kinds of plays the Packers would be running based on the packages of players they send in.

When you have a number of players who can fill a number of different roles, it gives you a lot more versatility within those packages, creating that "illusion of complexity" LaFleur talks about. The plays and packages you call might actually be quite simple, but you still keep the defenses guessing because they have to figure out what a particular player's role will be on a given play.

 

Ultimately, if the Packers are to become champions this season, their continued transition into this new style of offense must be a success, and the team will need to prove itself correct that having a lot of "wide receivers" is less important in today's NFL, or at least this offensive scheme, is less important than having versatile playmakers.

For now, hyper-critical fans who still wish to enjoy the season need to divorce themselves from the idea that the wide receiver position *needs* to be built in a certain manner, because the reality is that this iteration of the Green Bay Packers simply does not agree with you. 

Beginning Sunday, we will start to see the early returns of that philosophy.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (66)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
fansince1959's picture

September 07, 2020 at 01:22 pm

still worried about RT, (amongst other areas), especially against Minny & Barr, etc---hope Gutey knows what he's doing but scratch my head as to why they don't bring in Veldheer, who proved more than capable in relief last year----also expect our run defense to be thoroughly challenged Sunday

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Bear's picture

September 07, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Veldheer may not want to play this year. Also, after week one his salary wouldn’t be guaranteed.

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dobber's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:12 pm

Veldheer has been tweeting in response to Packer posts about his availability. It seems he wants to play.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 07, 2020 at 07:28 pm

How does this get downvotes? This simply states a relevant fact: Veldheer has sent tweets with images of a phone and GB call me or something to that effect. Veldheer is not Jahri Evans who apparently just did not want to play another year.

I don't want GB to sign Veldheer unless it is for Vet. Min. or close to that, which I translate to mean that I don't want GB to sign Veldheer. Maybe Veldheer would sign for a cheap base salary with incentives if he actually had to play - IDK. That might be okay with me.

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Bure9620's picture

September 07, 2020 at 07:29 pm

The down votes are a bit out of control lately.....

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CoachDino's picture

September 08, 2020 at 05:12 am

Haters Hate - - Personally, I seldon down vote - We all have opinions. I seem to do it more when it's... as the English say... "Poor Form".

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 06:40 am

It just seems to be about 2 to 3 disgruntled commenters that perhaps don't like our views. Ignore the hate and bombard our civil commenters with positives.

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packerbackerjim's picture

September 08, 2020 at 08:53 am

The down votes seem to indicate someone must have been pissed off over something that was posted, took it personally and holds a grudge in perpetuity. It has no logic behind it.

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NickPerry's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:34 pm

He's already said he's ready and waiting for a call from the Packers. BUT...I think the salary part of your comment could be it.

Question... If he was to sign for the veterans minimum in the first place how much do they really save then? Foe example, if signed after week one and then plays in just 5 games then cut, is he only paid for those 5 games instead of the entire season? How does that work?

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Stroh's picture

September 07, 2020 at 05:55 pm

Veldheer is an established veteran. He's not signing for the vets minimum. Something closer to 5M would be my estimate. He's a quality OT and he knows it. So do the Packers so they won't bother insulting him w/ your offer.

They might very well sign him, which I've been saying is a strong possibility for a long time. But it would come after the Minn game so the remainder of his salary isn't guaranteed. That way they could release him and not have to pay the remainder of his salary. This isn't rocket science.

The Packers will want to see if Turner and/or Wagner prove to be capable as starters. So I don't expect it to happen, if it does at all, until week 3 or 4 at the earliest.

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NickPerry's picture

September 08, 2020 at 04:48 am

LOL... Okay so MY EXAMPLE is correct...They pay him for the games he's on the roster and no more. Clearly not rocket science.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 09, 2020 at 04:14 am

Right. So if GB signed him for $5.1M base salary, that's $300K per week. If he is on the team for 5 weeks, he earns and his cap number is $1.5M. Gute probably has to give him a roster bonus right away and perhaps a game active bonus, but that complicates the example.

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pack13xwc's picture

September 08, 2020 at 04:45 pm

RT is a concern. To negate the edge rush the Pack might run to then open up quick outlet passes with an occasional deep shot. Just getting the ball out quick leaves little time for a D to set up a sack. Rodgers has said he's been working on that and not holding the ball too long. I've a strong feeling GB is going to surprise the league and is way underrated. The D has good depth and is getting close to top 5 shut down status. The O should break out this yr.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 07, 2020 at 01:42 pm

"For now, hyper-critical fans who still wish to enjoy the season need to divorce themselves from the idea that the wide receiver position *needs* to be built in a certain manner, because the reality is that this iteration of the Green Bay Packers simply does not agree with you."

This is obvious. I'm one of those hyper-critical fans, and for me to enjoy the season, I'm going to have to check my thoughts at the door. Gute and MLF have tried to outsmart the room and build a team with an elite QB around a different identity. No, Rodgers isn't a top 5 guy anymore, but he's still top 10, and more importantly, he's paid to be top 5. In a hard-cap league, this can't be understated.

Gute and MLF had better be right about Love, moving to more TE and RB sets and their ability to stop the run with the guys on hand. Because if they're not, they'll be fired, we'll lose a generational QB talent 3-4 years earlier than planned, and we'll see the end of a 30 year run of almost-stunning success.

I don't like the odds personally. But I'm a fan and a hack, so I'm content to sit in the back, drink a beer, and yell Go Pack Go.

Break the damn horn.

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Packers2020's picture

September 07, 2020 at 02:18 pm

Besrmeat, please tell me who is better than Rodgers besides:

MAHOMES
MAYBE WATSON
MAYBE RUSSELL
MAYBE JACKSON

Brees- No
Cousins- No
Ryan- No
Brady- No
Prescott- No
Stafford- No
Murray- No

He is top 5 yet.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 07, 2020 at 02:40 pm

I've personally enjoyed Stafford, Jackson, and am intrigued by Murray. Rodgers hasn't played to peak Rodgers since early 2017. Not that that means he isn't amazing still...

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NitschkeFan's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:02 pm

Packers2020, do you watch the other QB's much? How do you find the time to watch every game that the other top 10-15 or so QB's play?

I guess it depends how you want to define it. By the "eye test" you need to have watched all the other QB's in most of their games. Did you?

How about using stats? There are many different ratings systems so lets see where did Rodgers rank. Depending on the min attempts cutoff criteria these are his ~ rankings
QBR (ESPN) 20th
Rating (NFL) 12th
DVOA (Football Outsiders) 13th
Yd/Attempt (me) 17th
I think the only ratings where he just cracks the top 10 was PFF's score.

Was he much better in 2018?
DVOA (Football Outsiders) 12th
QBR (ESPN) 18th
Rating (NFL) 9th

I love the Packers, and Rodgers put together a hell of a run from 2009-2016 (really just to 2014). But as most of us here have watched every snap he's taken in the last two seasons, he has not been the same elite player. Accuracy declining, mobility declining, decision making declining, etc.

Let's hope he gets back to his old self.

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 06:50 am

Yes, declining , but the ceiling was so high that he still lead a somewhat flawed team to the championship game. That to me is the main measure

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Leatherhead's picture

September 07, 2020 at 05:56 pm

Like the scene in I, Robot:

“You are not asking the right question “

The Packer winning formula includes winning the turnover battle and executing the offense, particularly in the red zone and under pressure. The question that should be asked is “can Rodgers do what we need him to? “I think yes. He protects the rock and makes good decisions and accurate throws.

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 06:53 am

You hit the nail right on the head. He gets it done when it matters most.

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:22 am

Do you mean, "in the playoffs?"

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NitschkeFan's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:45 am

PeteK, I'm not trying to be a negative jerk. But what are you talking about? His playoff record is 10-8, not bad but hardly great. He has appeared in only 1 SB.

I don't think Won-Loss record is much of a stat for QB's as you really need the other players (21 other starters and special teamers and subs) to help win or lose games. Those of us that have watched every snap of his NFL career know that special teams and defense cost him a shot at a couple of more SB appearances.

There is no doubt he has had a great career, one of the best. I guess I was used to him being a top 3 QB year after year. We got used to him being so damn good that I am trying to be realistic in pointing out that he has declined a fair bit in recent years.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 08, 2020 at 05:49 pm

NitschkeFan,

Spot on!

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:02 pm

18 playoff games is proof enough for me.

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NickPerry's picture

September 10, 2020 at 04:57 am

No offense but BLAME that shit on Mark Murphy for not moving Ted out when it became OBVIOUS his health was failing. Ted should have been moved from the GM spot at least 3 years before he was due to failing health.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 07, 2020 at 07:40 pm

Wilson.

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 06:45 am

Watson too injury prone and Jackson seems to be one dimensional .Stafford and Ryan close , but they don't get it done in big games like Rogers.

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:24 am

If you're one-dimensional, but you're all-world at it--to the point where you're winning games essentially all by yourself--what does it matter?

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:08 pm

Very true, however we know the shelf life of running QBs.

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Bure9620's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:55 pm

Think if ot this way.......How many Veteran elite QBs have weapons galore?? Brady won a SB without Gronk....it was Edelman and bunch of JAGS.....But he had protection, a running game....and a defense....Typically teams with aging QBs value protection more than a slew of weapons.....They spend that cap on O-line....Gute is making this bet....Rodgers will have solid protection...a solid crop of backs to run and throw checks to.....and one Elite receiver teams have to scheme for......Denver is surrounding their young QB with weapons galore.....

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NickPerry's picture

September 10, 2020 at 05:01 am

He had a GM (Belichick) who did EVERYTHING to bring in players each year and a once in a generation HC.

Hey the Packers won 5 Championships in 7 years for the EXACT very same reason.

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CoachDino's picture

September 08, 2020 at 05:15 am

Well said. I catch myself as well. I think getting passed stuff is just a sign of our age, at least mine, I would call it maturity but its sports, its a place where one doesn't always need to be so matuuuure...

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 07, 2020 at 01:44 pm

"For now, hyper-critical fans who still wish to enjoy the season need to divorce themselves from the idea that the wide receiver position *needs* to be built in a certain manner, because the reality is that this iteration of the Green Bay Packers simply does not agree with you."

I don't 'NEED' the WR group to be built in any specific manner, as a fan, I want them to be able to play and be productive in whatever manner/scheme they're built or placed together by the HC/FO.

If the players cannot play to a better than average level a majority of the time, then scheme or manner built matters not. Average and below just doesn't cut it.

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Stroh's picture

September 07, 2020 at 06:30 pm

Actually it does cut it. Favre played for years w/ WR groups that weren't any better! Ron Wolf even said as much by saying he regretted not getting Favre more weapons. Now I don't think the Packers WR other than Adams are much more than average. But, and this is extremely important so remember it; a Great QB makes WR better than they actually are. I don't think Lazard is a #2 WR, but Rodgers can make him look like one. MVS hasn't been a viable NFL WR, this abbreviated offseason notwithstanding, But Rodgers can make him look competent.

The run game and specifically the play action off the run game, can help WR get open. That is where the drafting of Dillon to add to Jones and the TE come into the equation.

This offense as it is constructed can be very successful even if the WR are not great by any means.

Rodgers getting his footwork and mechanics improved will make him more accurate again. This is also depending on Rodgers buying into LaFleurs offense. John Elway bought into Shanahan's offense (which is essentially LaFleurs offense) and got 2 SB trophies late in his career for his trouble. Rodgers needs to buy in and he might have a similar opportunity.

For my part, in the draft, after Ayiuk and Jefferson went before Packers picked, I knew they wouldn't take a WR and I didn't like what was left in round 2 when they were on the clock. So I was not at all unhappy they didn't reach for a WR in rd 1or 2 and I don't think a 3rd round WR would have been appreciably better than Lazard, EQ or MVS.

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splitpea1's picture

September 07, 2020 at 02:47 pm

For the Packers to succeed, they'll have to play DEFENSE, too. Need to keep the Smiths and Clark healthy and fresh; am expecting the secondary to be super-solid and getting more takeaways; and the rest of the second and third-year players need to prove their worth in order to remain with the team in the future.

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WisconsinStrong's picture

September 07, 2020 at 02:55 pm

Lafleur's new approach is a relatively simple concept, and one of its major selling points is that it should pay dividends even when we're working deep into the roster (cf., SF and Mostert). Yet, as Tim B. points out, we all grew accustomed to mega-receiver sets, and many fans are having trouble understanding that, unless we want to keep seeing sandlot football as featured during the end of McCarthy's tenure, it's time to move on. Whatever the draft objectors may say, Lafleur's is the perfect scheme for Rodgers at this point in our QB's career, and by all accounts, Rodgers is more comfortable with it this year. We had a solid team last year, we will have progression and new weapons in working within the scheme this year, and for all of the areas we might still be worried about, there is just as much to look forward to. Go Pack Go!

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:27 pm

The one-ring circus has left town. Deguara will surprise the average fan who pulls news from the local paper.
Dillon dominated his whole career at BC. Move the chains, beat down on the defense, strike fast when the opportunity presents itself. Diminish the three and outs, then the defense will stay fresh..Big concern is still the D line. Who will bring a higher level of play to compliment Kenny Clark?

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Stroh's picture

September 07, 2020 at 06:39 pm

Good comment but its not about a DL playing at a higher level to compliment Clark. Its about everyone in the front 7 playing w/ gap discipline to stop the run. Last year, they basically played the run as an afterthought on the way to getting to the QB. To be better against the run, and I'm not convinced that's entirely necessary (it is to some degree), they have to be conscious of their run fits first, before they get after the QB.

Its a matter of how much better do you want the run D to become, while at the same time sacrificing something in pass rush. Its give and take. A little more of one takes a little from the other.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 08, 2020 at 11:39 am

You can play Ryan's game when you have number one picks lining the front end. Hopefully more heavy base and some 4-2 looks. Getting wiped out on the edge has nothing to do with rush to the QB and check for the run on a 1st or second down.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 07, 2020 at 02:58 pm

I think the WR group is highly underrated. You have a top 3 receiver in Adams, maybe even #1. Two very good possession receivers in Lazard and EQ. A speedy gadget guy in Ervin. And MVS, who is my least favorite but he at least takes the top off the defense opening up the middle for Adams and the others. I think if MVS doesn't show well within a couple of weeks he'll be replaced by the new guy Robert Foster. Foster is nearly as fast as MVS, runs better routes, and had a good enough rookie season to make the all-rookie team. Foster was a great pick-up. I complained as much as anyone over the lack of drafting a receiver, and I'm big enough Rodgers fan to want him here for another 5-7 years if he wants to play that long, so I didn't like the Love pick. But I did like taking Dillon and DeGuare and see their utility. Rodgers has apparently looked the best he has in years this preseason. And he's motivated. Teams will have to defend us against the run. If Rodgers can refind his accuracy, he should have open targets and he has enough in the receiver corps to be great again. Hold on to your hats, it's going to be a fun ride.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:02 pm

Well, welcome to the Darkside, Mr Backes.

The Packer offense has changed. 65 offensive plays per game and I think that about 40 of them will be runs or short passes to a RB. Another 10 to Adams. That leaves about 15 opportunities for Lazard, MVS, EQ, Sternberger, Tonyan, Deguara, and Swervin Ervin.

The only way the Packers win the Super Bowl is if Aaron Rodgers stays healthy. 16 games , 1000 snaps and it only takes one play to end our season. That’s why we don’t want him hanging onto the ball until somebody hits him. So we’re going to run and throw short and get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible.

It worked well last year, and it’ll work well this year.

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Bure9620's picture

September 07, 2020 at 04:39 pm

Yeah that target distribution is pretty fair......
The target priority will be something like

Adams (by a long shot)
Jones
Lazard
Sternberger/Tonyan/Deguara (some mix of the 3)
Swervin
Williams
MVS

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Archie's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:06 pm

My one prediction for 2020 season - Pack will improve greatly in TOP and a significant drop in 3 and outs. I'm also expecting improvement in TOs by the defense. Those two things alone should offset the "regression' theory that seems so popular among those who set the odds. Team depth on both sides of the ball seems improved as well, especially on offense. Secondary seems deep as well as OLB and possibly ILB. DL and OT may be the two spots where Pack remains thin. Top Packer pick in next year's draft could be OT/WR or DL or even CB if King leaves.

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 07, 2020 at 03:39 pm

Packers were ranked 6th in the league last year in TOP. I'm not sure how they "improve greatly" on that.

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PeteK's picture

September 08, 2020 at 06:58 am

I know they were , but numbers can be deceiving. I believe they had 3 and outs at critical pts in games when the D needed a rest and the opposing offenses needed to be iced.

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:26 am

They also ran off several game-clinching drives late in games last season, too. Such are the perils of the NFL and playing live competition. The more you execute and exert your will over the other team, the better you're going to show for it...but you're not going to be able to do it all the time.

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PeteK's picture

September 09, 2020 at 08:16 am

That's one of my worries for this season.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 08, 2020 at 08:17 am

Pete....we were one of the worst teams at third and short, per football outsiders.com. Converting those keeps the offense on the field.

Time of possession helps your defense, but it doesn’t score points.

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PeteK's picture

September 09, 2020 at 08:20 am

Thanks for reminding me ,LOL. No it doesn't score pts. immediately, but it wins the field position and stamina battle which ultimately does.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 08, 2020 at 08:19 am

Pete....we were one of the worst teams at third and short, per football outsiders.com. Converting those keeps the offense on the field.

Time of possession helps your defense, but it doesn’t score points.

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PackfanNY's picture

September 07, 2020 at 04:30 pm

Archie, love your enthusiasm but trying to predict next years Packers Draft is like trying to pick Tuesday nights Mega Millions numbers. I mean not many folks had us taking Jordan Love with our 1st pick no less a QB.

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stockholder's picture

September 07, 2020 at 04:39 pm

I don't really believe you will separate the MM offense. 4 Wrs were great. Look at Mouse Davis when he was with Detroit. 4 Wrs and Barry Sanders. The packers had to hurry and draft secondary. Like most teams. Then the West Coast offense came to being. But the difference I see is MMs offense let a guy be a packer great. A Legend. That just isn't going to happen in LeFluers Offense.

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Bure9620's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:13 am

And abandoned the run game

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 07, 2020 at 06:09 pm

Every team has to disguise and use multiple formations, motion and misdirection to make their plays work. There is not much new under the sun these days. The best offensive plays are still running effectively and then being able to fake the run and pass in the short beat of hesitation that causes in the defense. Why this seems to be written up as some sort of "secret recipe" for the Packers this season is the mystery to me. And apparently expecting receivers to be able and willing to block is a fundamental redefinition of their role LOL weird.

Versatility on the other hand now is a big deal. To me this offense is not really that different than the wild west throwing teams of 2010 and 2011. Those teams had a feeling that they could create mismatches with their depth of pass catchers. The 2020 Packer team thinks that as well. Its just that those mismatches are going to be created by tight ends, h backs and running backs. The 2011 Packers consistently moved the ball because their number 3 and 4 receivers were consistently better than who covered them. The 2020 Packers hope this same situation is created by Deguara, Jones, Tonyan, Lewis, Sternberger Williams et al being in positions the defense does not expect and drawing linebacker and safety coverages they can exploit. For the 2020 Packers, lining up in a one receiver, two tight end, 2 running back alignment will not necessarily mean they are in a running formation. How defenses line up to stop the Packers expected consistent use of two tight ends will be interesting to watch.

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murf7777's picture

September 07, 2020 at 09:07 pm

Sorry Tim, but I coined the phrase “pass catchers” a couple of weeks ago on this blog. I referred to Counsel of the Brewers using the term “out getters” to reference Lafleurs Offense. I talked about a similar philosophy which all players who catch passes regardless of position is what LaFleur wants and having two high level WR’s isn’t important if he has multiple talented “pass catchers”.

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packersrule's picture

September 07, 2020 at 10:05 pm

I think that Packer management "felt pretty good about the guys that they have" because they didn't really draft anyone to help the team this year. The team would be just as good, maybe better if the draft didn't happen. I never thought I would say that about the Packers. Now the plan is hope, we hope the players develop into NFL players.

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:33 am

"The team would be just as good, maybe better if the draft didn't happen. "

I think this is a pretty harsh assessment, and I've been on record as being openly critical of the 2020 draft class--especially in that it didn't seem to fit in with what appeared to be an "all-in" plan after big signings a year ago.

Every time you bring in new players, you shuffle out old ones who have demonstrated they have maxxed out or can't move the team forward. With new guys, there's always a chance. I think you'll see Dillon with 10+ touches per game over the course of the season. Kamal Martin will likely be a contributor. Deguara will add something--probably mostly as a blocker. They'll get fresh blood on special teams. You have to ask whether or not they'll be better and help this team more than the guys they're replacing....we'll know in about 4 months.

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Nate-1980's picture

September 10, 2020 at 02:43 am

But is that really all you should expect from a draft when we only have a few years left with Rodgers ?

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nostradanus's picture

September 07, 2020 at 11:05 pm

Good piece, this is good therapy for those of us who were dumbfounded by this years draft. It makes much more sense now. Go Pack!

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baldski's picture

September 08, 2020 at 03:30 am

I think that is also the reason Gute drafts players with high athletic ability.

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CoachDino's picture

September 08, 2020 at 05:09 am

Ok, I'm officially the guy/self serving jerk who says " I've been saying that since day 1" as I've been preaching this for sometime - just put up a rant a day or so ago...
Thank-you for this IMO insightful article articulated in a way I could never do...and took plenty of thumbs down for it and my grammar/structure didn't help. Almost had my Thesis grade dropped down due my horrid abilities..lol..drove my professor nuts.....lol..

What gets me is how few other writers have picked up on this, I'm no football guru. I just watched and listened. There is most likely a behind the scenes explanation - I have theorized that the general public isn't going to engage in something they don't see, understand or most likely just don't care for.

Unfortunately the Packers are a few years away from getting the most out of it, with AROD maybe sooner, he is a brainiac when it comes to football. I believe he may play out his contract as this scheme is perfect for him as it relies more on experience then athleticism. He will be peaking so why cut him.

Maybe extend him with a team friendly contract like Brady and The Pats....I always see how displeased some fans are with his contract and the % of cap. It does have an impact, no doubt. The thing is as the young guns start getting paid his contract starts dropping in QB contract rankings. It's was inevitable. I can't remember the last time the salaries for QB's / overall have leveled or dropped.

Theres a plan in place can't wait to see the first glimpse of where it stands on Sunday...

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Bure9620's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:20 am

Rodgers is beginning his 4 year extension portion this year, he will never receive another extension from Green Bay, Jordan Love will be the starter by that point. The most likely scenario is Rodgers is flipped for a pick/picks after the 2021 season......I do not think it is out of the realm of possibility he is moved after this season if a team is willing to part with ton of draft capital to get Rodgers.....but 2 years is the more likely scenario.....Love is the guy, I know people are in denial about that but he IS the guy...

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2020 at 07:42 am

I think his play in 2020 and the team's general level of play will dictate if he goes earlier rather than later. He's a perishable good with a limited shelf life and it looks like the team is positioning itself to use him as an asset to help restock. Even with a contracting cap, he doesn't give very much relief if they let him go after this season. We're about to see a massive leveling of talent in the league this next off-season...2021 is going to be a brand new ballgame. The Packers have to decide how they'll fit in that new landscape.

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CoachDino's picture

September 08, 2020 at 03:30 pm

True, but when the extend him they can push some money out that they both know he will never be paid. It's more or less restructuring. I should of been more clear as your right.

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Nate-1980's picture

September 10, 2020 at 02:53 am

How is Love the guy when he hasn’t even completed a pass in the NFL, what if he is a bust ?? How do you know they’ll move on from Rodgers, or even have a clue when that’ll be ??

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Packers2020's picture

September 10, 2020 at 11:51 am

Just to add and make sure people know about stats and that they show things but also do not show all things.

AR- Has the second best playoff QB rating of all time in the playoffs next to Mahomes and Mahomes has only two years in the playoffs.

Brady (Supposedly the GOAT)- Has the 15th best QB playoff rating of all time

Brady- Has 6 SB wins

AR- has 1 SB win

Brady's Defenses in the playoffs- They have given up an average of 23 points per game.

AR's Defenses in the playoffs- They have given up an average of 36 points per game.

AR and Brady's offense have both averaged 28 to 29 points per game in the playoffs.

Numbers do not always tell the whole story. Just because Brady has 6 SB's does not mean he is the GOAT for example. AR is still the top 5 in the NFL. Just because his QBR, etc is not in the top 10 does not mean he is not a top 10 QB.

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