Green and Bold: Packers Offense Finds Its Identity

It's no secret that the Green Bay Packers offense has looked like a shell of what we know it's capable of being since Week 8 of the 2015 season. 

At 6-0 and coming out of a bye week, the Packers went on to lose six of their last 10 games with an offense that either didn't seem to know how to execute its playbook...or didn't know the playbook to begin with. Certainly, that seemed to be the case with young receivers who didn't appear to understand their routes.

Since that time, Aaron Rodgers' pass completion percentage plummeted and he began to string together multiple games with a passer rating lower than 100, eventually holding the unenviable record of the longest such streak heading into Week 3 of the 2016 season and the matchup against the Detroit Lions. 

NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (16)

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

September 28, 2016 at 07:03 am

Just as you wrote last week the offense became way to predictable in the first 2 games, and most of last year. Running the 11 personnel on 70% of their offensive snaps.

This week, they changed that. I haven't seen the % of how many snaps were in 11 personnel but it was a lot less then before. That was one of the keys to getting the offensive rhythm back. Not being as predictable.

They mixed in personnel much better. They brought more speed on the field and used more 2 TE sets and used Ripkowski a lot more until he got hurt.

The timing was so much better this week. Rodgers got the ball out faster and on time with the quick throws.

All that being said IMO one of the most important things was Rodgers spread the ball around more evenly. He threw completed passes to 8 different WR's, and threw to 9 (Davis dropped on and had a PI call on another). He completed multiple passes to 7 different players.
Another key was he didn't target just his top 3 WR's all game. He targeted Nelson 7 times, the next most targets was 3 to Rodgers, Cobb and Cook. Adams was targeted 2 times and had 2 important catches. He did a really good job of spreading the ball around evenly.

Just the difference from the previous games is telling.
Against the Jaguars he targeted Nelson 9 times, Cobb 8, Adams 7 the next was 3.
Against the Vikings he targeted Nelson 11 times, Cobb and Adams 7, Cook 6. The next was 2.

Spreading the ball around and not targeting just a couple of players really helped the offense stay balanced.

Moving forward I hope they mix and match personnel even more often, and keep staying balanced.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 28, 2016 at 09:00 pm

I agree with most of what you said, RC. Not so sure I buy the spreading the ball around stuff, though. Not so sure I would credit AR for spreading the ball around as opposed to MM giving playing time out to more guys and to other circumstances. I think you give credit to MM, but also to AR.

In 2014, Nelson got 28.2% of the targets, Cobb 23.5%, Adams 12.3%, Lacy 10.3%, Quarless 8.5%, RR 5.6% and Starks 5.6%. Top 4 receivers were targeted 74.3% of the time.

Last year for Arizona, Fitzgerald caught 25.8%, Brown 17.9%, Floyd 15.8%, and Johnson 10.1% of targets. Top 4 combined for 69.6%.

Last year for Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown had 33.1%, Bryant 15.6%, Heath Miller 13.73%, Wheaton 13.39%. Top 4 caught 75.8% of all targets.

Against Detroit, Nelson had 29.16% of the targets, followed by Cobb, Cook, & RR with 12.5% each. Top 4 were targeted 67% of the time. It is not abnormal for a #1 WR to get 25% to 30% of targets. Nelson getting 29% is within normal parameters. One difference is that Cook got hurt after just 14 snaps. His 3 targets in 14 snaps = 21.4% target rate, making Cook easily the leader in targets per snap, followed by Nelsonś 14.28%.

The long and short of my point is that AR spread the ball around more because Cook got hurt, Cobb continues to be ineffective, and MM reduced Adams´ snaps. Through 3 games, Nelson´s target rate is 28.7%, Cobb 19.15, Adams 17%, and Cook 11.7%, or about 76.55%.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Beep's picture

September 28, 2016 at 07:19 am

"...so they can replicate it in the coming weeks."

A little heavy on the praise until bringing things back to reality with the last paragraph. Great win last week, but let's hope we can do it again in two weeks versus a good Giants team.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

September 28, 2016 at 07:27 am

You're right: It's only a "flash" unless they can reproduce an sustain it. Have to get some of these guys back on the field. Cook looks like a multiweek injury and I haven't heard anything about Ripkowski, but otherwise the offense came out of that game healthy. Week 3 was a softball tossed up for the offense: an undermanned Detroit defense that allowed the Packers to play their game. Things will get tougher against the Giants who are statistically very good, but they haven't played anyone, yet. If this is their "identity", the offense should be more productive and cover for the walking MASH unit the defense has become.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
pacman's picture

September 28, 2016 at 07:44 am

Agreed! The win only allowed us to breath and hope for more - and I certainly believe there is good reason to expect more. But I certainly hope the team is not thinking they won the SB just yet.

It took MM almost all of last year and 2 games this year to figure this out. Nothing to be happy about with that.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

September 28, 2016 at 07:29 am

There were two passes that I thought were a huge difference in this offense in week 3 than the 15 weeks before that. The quick slant to Cook, and the TD pass to Adams. Both were passes Rodgers dropped quickly, set, and threw the ball. Both were positive plays, one a 1st down, the other a TD. Those plays set up the longer pass like the one to Nelson to set up a Goal to Goal and score a play or two later.

Moving forward I think we'll see more of Montgomery in the backfield, I really feel he could be effective as a 3rd down change of pace type player. Not asking to run him 10 or even 5 times a game, but a few runs mixed in with passes could be effective...and fun to watch.

Also like RC mentioned I saw some 4 receiver sets. I still don't understand why Abby saw zero snaps but Detroit was definitely concerned about Davis's speed when he did get snaps. The ball he dropped he had a huge cushion and the deep ball for the PI it was there.

Bottom line is we saw McCarthy mix it up a little Sunday, especially in the first half and it was fun and effective. You have 7 WR'S Mike, at least act as though you may use them.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

September 28, 2016 at 01:00 pm

That slant to Cook showed me a couple of things.
1 they were trying to get Cook more involved in the offense.
2 they were making sure they got the ball out fast and try to let the receivers make a play.

I completely agree about Montgomery. I like him as a Change of pace RB, but honestly I would prefer him to be used more as a receiver out of the backfield then runner. I really think the 5 WR set could be used a lot more. They could still run it with Cobb and Montgomery as possible RB's.

I don't get why they didn't use Abbrederis either. As much as Rodgers really liked him, I'm surprised he has been so little.
Davis definitely earned the respect of the Lions as a deep threat. He could definitely be the deep threat we have been lacking.

I hope McCarthy really keeps going with the mixing and matching personnel. I would prefer to do it more then what we saw. But that at least was a step in the right direction. The talent that we have at WR, and the different qualities that they bring should really open up the play book more.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2016 at 07:51 am

Agree.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 28, 2016 at 08:37 am

Always nice work Michelle, but Holmgren in the early 90's, right?

Let's hope they can hang at least 30 on the Giants D too.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
mnbruton's picture

September 28, 2016 at 08:53 am

Whoops! Brain fart :)

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

September 28, 2016 at 09:34 am

There were a few factors in this game that enabled the Packers offense to return to what we have come to expect from them.
1. Field position - the Packers began all of their drives at their 25 yard line or better in this game. Unlike then first two games where several drives began inside their own 20.
2. Aaron Rodgers played better than he has in a long time.
3. Packers were better at converting 3rd downs.
These 3 factors enable the Packers to sustain drives which enables them to vary personnel and formations which enables varied play calling.
4. Solid defensive play in the first half provided better field position for the offense.
5. Playing at home against the Lions.

This offense needs a TE like Cook\Finley, Rodgers to play well and crisp route running to be successful. This season we have the TE we need and Lacy is better. We still need a change of pace back and a punter who can win the field position battle. But even without them we have the personnel this season, if healthy, to be much more dynamic on offense, especially with favorable field position. Michele, I think you meant to say Mike Holmgren in the 90s, rather than Mike Sherman. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

September 28, 2016 at 02:44 pm

"This offense needs a TE like Cook\Finley, Rodgers to play well and crisp route running to be successful. This season we have the TE we need and Lacy is better. "

I would argue that 2014 demonstrated that the TE can be just a peripheral piece and still have the offense humming, but having more quality pass-catchers for a HOF caliber QB is always a good thing.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Finwiz's picture

September 28, 2016 at 04:07 pm

Not sure we have the TE yet...did you see the perfect pass go right thru Cooks hands and hit his shoulder pad? There's a reason the Rams let him walk. He looks great on paper, but that play was an epic "fail" considering he got himself hurt as well. Jury is still out on 89.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

September 28, 2016 at 04:43 pm

Fin - I would agree that the jury is still out on Cook. But at least, assuming he is healthy, he is a threat that defenses need to account for and one that this offense has been lacking since we lost Finley. Finley was not necessarily the best pass catcher but he posed a threat which defenses needed to respect. Last season there were times when R. Rodgers looked like he could be covered by a nose tackle. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
MarkinMadison's picture

September 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

"He doesn't have the cleanest fundamentals of any quarterback in the league..."

I'm going to disagree with this part. When he is playing well he has the best fundamentals in the NFL. He got away from his fundamentals, his timing, his trust in the system, and he ran around playing sandlot football. And that is not a consistent way to win in the NFL.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CJ Bauckham's picture

September 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

I forwarded this article to Aaron and he wanted me to tell you he's a two-time member of the USA All-Fundamentals team. First team, even. He also told me to tell you he has the helmets at his house.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.