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Look for an "illusion of complexity" from Packers offense

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Look for an "illusion of complexity" from Packers offense

Much has been made about new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur bringing in a new offensive scheme to Green Bay. Fans are undoubtedly excited to see something new after over a decade of watching one system on the offensive side of the ball.

So what will LaFleur's offensive system in Green Bay look like? Here's a brief preview from the man himself. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (55) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lare's picture

Any time you're predictable in anything you do in the NFL you make it that much easier for your opponents to beat you.

It doesn't have to be huge trickery or gimmick plays, you just have to create that moment of indecision that gives you an edge.

Even the peanut salesmen knew what McCarthy's plays were going to be based on the personnel & formation, I don't think that will be the case with LaFleur.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"you just have to create that moment of indecision that gives you an edge."

Or, you can send your WRs deep from wide splits every play.

Rak47's picture

What LaFleur said reminds of my Madden days as regional Champ. I had my audibles set to run 6 different plays off each formation, You never knew if I was running or passing because I did both out of the same formations constantly. And my offense was unstoppable.

x24's picture

And to think Jennings just had one leg

Since '61's picture

I once hit a Spauldeen over 4 man hole covers when I was 12 years old playing stick ball on my block in the Bronx. And we were still using broom sticks as bats back then! Thanks, Since '61

TheVOR's picture

I guess I'm sorry to suggest this, but lets hope the "Illusion of Complexity" isn't just trying to disguise a really bad offense with motion. The magic in the Illusion of Complexity comes with being able to run multiple plays of of similar or identical LOS looks, but it also implies that if you're running a RPO look, that you do actually run RPO plays along with doing other things out of those same motions, and such. It doesn't take teams much to decipher if you're actually capable of running something, or you're just trying to show that you're running something. Finally, you have to be good at all aspects of it. You actually have to be capable and good at what you're trying to do. I'll believe it when I see it. So far ML's team as a HC is undefeated, that usually wears off quickly with new regimes. Just saying..

Jonathan Spader's picture

Comes down to Rodgers actually handing off the ball to a running back and throwing short passes to get Aaron Jones out in space. I'll believe it when I see it but remain hopeful.

Old School's picture

Illusion of complexity is a fancy term that means tricky. Deceptive. Unpredictable.

Here's the deal: Every play that LaFleur has called as an OC is being researched, catalogued, and indexed and a simple check will tell you what LaFleur is most likely to do on 3rd and 7 from his own 40.

Trickery is nice when it works, but it's no substitute for nuts and bolts design and execution. We have to snap that ball 60 or 70 times on offense...that's a lot of illusions, IMO.

Fortunately, we actually have a pretty decent offense already, and some very good players in the backfield that can move the ball without turning it over. Some more strength on the offensive line, maybe another piece in the backfield .

We tied for 15th with 376 points last year. 60 more points would have put us at 436, tied with New England for 4th. That's how much our offense has to improve.

Strengthen the offensive line. Get another horse in the backfield. Expect some development from Scantling/Brown/Moore/Kumerow. Concentrate on keeping the offense on the field. Use the backs more.

This is all well within the realm of possibility. I don't think we need tricks to save us.

The TKstinator's picture

Tricks are for kids!

dobber's picture

"Trickery is nice when it works, but it's no substitute for nuts and bolts design and execution."

It's ONLY trickery when it works.

When it doesn't work, you didn't trick anyone.

GBPDAN1's picture

Illusion is good, but we need some road graders up front also to establish a dominant run game. Rodgers and our offense will be unstoppable with a great running game and quality pass blocking.

Loved the way the Rams ran over the Cowgirls vaunted front 7. .....270 yards rushing put the Rams in the NFC championship game. I was in the Coliseum watching the Cowpie fans crying. Priceless

Lare's picture

You'll never get any arguments from me about establishing a dominant OL. If Gutekunst can do that, I think it'll cover up for a lot of the team's other issues.

The TKstinator's picture

Big fan of dominant O-lines here too. Dallas with Emmitt Smith. Did I HATE watching them run over GB in the playoffs all those years. Then, since they were seemingly ALWAYS in favorable down and distance, they could choose when they wanted to victimize our DB’s (cough, Buckley, cough) with Michael Irvin and Alvin Harper.
Hated the feeling that we just couldn’t stop them running. And if you go to the 8 man box, hello, Irvin and Harper. No thanks!
I’d LOVE to be on the other side of that whole situation.

PackerAaron's picture

Watch the video. The running game is the very first thing he mentions.

Old School's picture

I agree that we have to be able and willing to pound the ball. I think it's easier when you have guys like Gurley and Elliott. I know Aaron Jones has his fans here, but he's not like those guys.

I don't see anybody behind Jones or Williams that would make me say "we don't need another good RB". And if this guy happened to be short-yardage bull, that'd be fine with me too. I'm kinda unhappy about not being able to convert short-yardage situations.

I see four quality offensive linemen on our roster right now. We need seven active on gameday, another on the 53, and at least one more on the PS. So by my count we need a real infusion there unless we want to continue to count on Spriggs, Patrick, McCray, etc. Personally, I don't. We need a starter at RG (easy enough, it's the least important position on offense) a ready-to-start RT behind Bulaga, a backup for Bakthiari and a multi-positional guy.

Bearmeat's picture

This is very exciting!

Guam's picture

Love the idea of a good running game, but I am not sure we have the running backs for it. I like Aaron Jones' game a lot, but I don't know if he can be an every down work horse back. If MLF wants a good rushing attack he not only has to fix the O-line but also add a quality running back to the current mix.

Jonathan Spader's picture

What would you rather have for an additional RB someone in the mold of Gurley drafted (power), Karma drafted (speed pass catching), or a guy like Bell signed?

The TKstinator's picture

Gurley has good speed and is a good receiver too. What a talent!

The TKstinator's picture


The TKstinator's picture

yep yep

Old School's picture

I feel very confident that Jones and Williams can do a very good job as rushers and receivers and moving the ball down the field. I think they showed that last year when we finished 2nd in yards/attempt.

But were 32nd in the league in rushing attempts. That's last place.

So...more attempts. But that means not being behind in the 4th quarter so that you have to pass and can add rushing attempts to burn the clock. In fairness, it also means factoring in pass receptions to the RBs.

A lot of people were like "give Aaron Jones 20 touches" last year. But it's a 16 game season, plus playoffs, and that's 320 touches in a season. Do you know who had over 300 touches this year? Barkley, Elliot, Gurley, McCaffrey and David Johnson. And some of these guys, like Elliott....cough up the rock. Jones/Williams had ONE turnover last season in 307 touches combined while Elliott turned it over 6 times last year while gaining 400 more total yards than our pair combined.

They should add a horse, preferably a short-yardage pile mover, IMO. Strengthen the offensive line. And let our RBs take the pounding instead of Aaron Rodgers.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Well stated Old School. Finishing the season at 2nd in yard per attempt is pretty impressive but 32nd in rushing attempts is as bad as it gets. I wonder why MM could never figure that out? And look at the yards per attempt with the OL problems the Packers had. Pretty impressive for the RB duo the Packers have. And they are excellent at protecting the ball and not coughing it up. Running the ball more just makes the play-action more effective when you have RB's with talent, but you have to use that talent more.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Get Aaron Jones more involved. The Packers recently released their end-of-season Dope Sheet which reviews how the Packers did this past year. The Packers announced that Jones finished the year with an average of 5.47 rushing yards per carry which ranked first in the NFL (minimum of 100 carries). Jones became the first Packers player since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978 to lead the NFL in rushing yards per carry.

Don't wait until there is 1 second on the play clock to hike the football everytime. Actually run the ball and use RPOs. Hoping to see these basic concepts implemented under MLF/Hackett.

Rak47's picture

Lot of people have been clamoring for Antonio Brown to give AR another weapon. I think they would do well to go after Le'veon Bell instead. Aaron Jones had suffered 3 knee injuries and finished on IR two years straight. And I'm not OK with Jamal Williams as a lead back. I think signing Bell to a 3 year deal with an out after two would be a good move to take pressure off AR and Aaron Jones while giving AR another dynamic weapon out of the backfield. I know Bell is 28 but he should have fresh legs and is only needed in GB 2-3 years to help bring a SB back to GB.

Rak47's picture


Jonathan Spader's picture

I'm fine with signing Bell for the right price but he wants to be paid WR money. Unless he becomes reasonable or gets overpaid I don't see it happening. RBs easily transition from college to the NFL just draft one high and take a flier on another in the late rounds along with an UDFA or 5 lol.

MO.PackerFan's picture

If they would happen to sign Bell it would be somewhat ironic in that if Pittsburgh had not drafted Bell in the second round we could have had him instead of Eddie Lacy, that being if TT did not trade back for the second to last pick in the second round. I too have concerns with Jones's health issues which have prevented him from being available for games the last 2 years.

Old School's picture

Aaron Jones has not demonstrated, in two years, the durability to be "the guy". He broke his rookie year, he was broken during training camp, and he got broken again towards the end of the season. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Personally, I'd try to keep his workload smaller, particularly in the early part of the season, in the hope that he'd be available in December and the playoffs. He'll be in his third year'd be nice to see him finish a season.

dobber's picture


CAG123's picture

Colts released their O-line coach and it was one of the best in the league Pack should jump on that.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Agreed Cag!

PAPackerbacker's picture

Dave DeGuglielmo would be a great addition to the coaching staff. Will MLF jump at the chance to get him in Green Bay? I sure hope so. But if he does become a coach in Green Bay it would be easier to refer to him as DD :-)

4thand1's picture

What a concept, adjust to other teams defense and make adjustments. Who thought of such a thing?

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

I love the idea of 12 and 13 personnel better than 11-personnel formations. Those extra people can make a difference.

4thand1's picture

Last year needed 12 or 13 guys on the field at a time.

PatrickGB's picture

A couple of times this team only had ten men on the field. That was awful.

LeotisHarris's picture

Not only awful, Patrick, but the reality of simpletons.

JimR_in_SoCal's picture

Fewer men on the field, fewer mistakes?

jsb937's picture

Kareem Hunt.

LeotisHarris's picture

Anyone else say "illusion of complexity" in a Doug Henning voice when you read the headline?

Skip greenBayless's picture

lol.. Doug Henning. He and Kevin King are pretty much built the same.


dobber's picture

Make the Statue of Liberty play disappear!

Since '61's picture

Build a solid OL. Everything on offense starts up front. You can create all the illusion you like if the guys up front execute their blocks.

The Lombardi Packers did not create much illusion but they made their blocks and the offense was excellent and some times perfect. Thanks, Since ‘61

stockholder's picture

Change the draft board to offense. Defense is failing in the NFL. If we look at the playoff teams. @12 Williams, @3? Fonts etc. etc. etc.

Nick Perry's picture

I'd like a Safety and an Edge Rusher but other than that ALL Offense so I'm with you. The Packers offense has been forgotten over the last several drafts other than a pick here or there in mid to later rounds.

I know Mock Drafts don't mean squat but there's been 2 I've liked at one of those mock draft sites. One had the Packers going with a edge player 1st, TE or WR with the Saints pick, an O-Linemen in the 2nd round and a Safety in the 3rd. Personally I think you could draft those positions in just about any order with your first 4 picks and call it a hell of a draft as long as Gute doesn't reach..

Like for example Richard Rodgers in the 3rd,,,,SIGH...

NitschkeFan's picture

Well said NP!
Edge/OL/Safety in any order should be the top 3 picks. I'd be happy to pick up 2 of each depending on what they can sign in Free Agency.

Popular opinion is that some depth at Safety and an OL can be found in Free Agency. That would help free up some draft picks for TE / WR / RB.

It's already a long off season, a long way to go to the draft and FA signings. Good grief, we are going to have the same discussion and I feel that I'm going to post my same opinion 100 times over the next few months (as if Gute might listen if I post it often enough).

Sigh, sometimes I feel silly being such a fan.

dobber's picture

I agree: sign a decent safety and interior OL, maybe even a RB--those are players you can maximize your cap investment on and see immediate return while preserving picks on day 1 and 2 for the edge, DL, OT, pass catchers. Might still find good players at S/OL/RB falling into your lap in the draft.

Old School's picture

I disagree. Of the 12 teams to make the playoffs this year, 9 of them were in the Top 12 defenses. Saints, Rams, and Chiefs are the exception. New England is #7.

All four of the remaining teams are Top 4 offenses. Elite.

Improve our offense by 60 points and we're in the Top 4. Improve our defense by 60 points and we're in the Top 10.

The offensive needs are mostly on the line, but we cannot put 5 guys on the field at the same time who can cover, especially when injuries strike. We're about to release (probably) our two starting OLBs. Our entire starting defensive line finished the season on the injured list and Wilkerson is probably not coming back.

We can use free agency to help with our line issues, or maybe even a trade, in addition to some draft choices. But if we want to keep pace with the Bears and Vikings, we need to get some guys on defense.

Here is our starting 11 on defense right now:

Williams, a 36 year old CB playing out of position. Brice, a UDFA.

At CB: King, Alexander. They only started like two games together last year because of injury.

Nickle: Jackson or Breeland.

OLB: Fackrell, Gilbert.

ILB: Martinez and Burks/Morrison?

DL: Daniels Clark Lowry.

And that's before injuries. Then we're starting Josh Jones, Ibrahim Campbell, Tyler Lancaster, and some UDFAs we haven't heard of yet, just like this year.

RCPackerFan's picture

When I watched the games this weekend (especially the rams) I watched how those offenses worked.

The Rams mostly I was watching the game within the game. Watching the little things the offense did. Honestly it wasn't anything that exotic that they were doing. In reality it essentially was a lot of running the ball, and then play action off of the running game.

But it was the way they did it that made things exciting. They do a lot of different things with the same look. For example they would put a guy in motion, and either hand off on a jet sweep, or hand off to the RB, or fake to both and play action pass. What that does is creates hesitation in the defense.

I truly believe we have more then enough talent on offense to really be good. Just changing the looks and adding a bit of deception to the offense will improve a lot of these guys.

I'm really excited to see how our new look offense is.
Especially if they add a couple of more players.

dobber's picture

The Rams force you to defend the whole field--sideline to sideline, LOS to goal line--on virtually every play. The Saints do almost the same thing--except that Brees's arm isn't what it used to be.

RCPackerFan's picture


And they do things to create hesitation/confusion which puts stress on defenses. Motion does a lot for offenses.

There was a simple play with the Rams that really stood out to me. There were 2 WR's to the right and a TE a step behind the RT. The 2 WR's released, I think vertically or to the inside, the TE blocked for a second then released to the flat. With the TE blocking at first it turned the attention away from him and onto the WR's, which then the TE released and was WIDE open. Also what helped set up the play was the RB ran to the left (I think play action) which made the LB's go that direction.
The part of the play that stood out was how wide open the TE was. Basically it was set up because the TE blocked for a second then released.
It was really a simple thing but it really created an easy play.

Those types of things I am looking forward to.

I recommend anyone watching the NFC Championship game, just watch some of the things that the Rams do and picture it in GB.

NitschkeFan's picture

Rams did a lot of "misdirection" even on what might eventually be a simple running play. If done well, it can for a split second misdirect a defender so the play has a greater chance of success.

There was at least one example though where it almost caused a Ram's fumble, as the decoy WR running into QB's hands (just brushed against them really) as he was preparing to hand it off to the RB.

RCPackerFan's picture

Oh definitely. We will probably see this a lot.

The fake jet sweeps a lot of times opens up a lane right up the middle. The ILB's eyes come off the RB for a split second and its enough time for the OL to get on them and blocked.

I think we will be happy with what we see on offense. It may take some time to get going fully, but I think as a whole we will be happy.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

How about the illusion of winning? I am going to run easy plays that won't recognized and yet will confused the Packer fans that we have won the game when in fact we lost.

But seriously, I wish him the best. Not being in the Playoffs sucks and we just have to have some good drafts over the next 2 years.

The Packers don't have any luck signing these 30+ year old band- aids and giving us the illusion that they are good anymore.

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