New Offense - New Balance

A new head coach and new offensive coordinator means plenty of change to the team's offensive scheme. Both LaFleur and Hackett will emphasize greater balance between the run game and the passing game this season. 

The offensive coaching staff met with the media after the second week of OTAs, and a common theme was the marriage between the run game and the passing game.

“I think one of the good things about what we’re doing here is it allows us to do a lot of different things,” new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said of the new offensive scheme. “It’s not just one specific thing. We know we want to obviously run the ball and we know we want to be a lot more balanced.”

“We can fit the people to the right spot and put them in the spots where they’ll be the most effective,” continued Hackett.

Given the familiarity veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis has with Nathaniel Hackett, fans should expect to see Lewis serve a larger role on offense in 2019. A phenomenal blocker and red zone weapon, Lewis was dramatically underutilized in Mike McCarthy’s offense (along with Jimmy Graham), so much so that he only had three receptions for 39 yards the entire 2018 season.

Lewis, Graham, Robert Tonyan, and rookie Jace Sternberger should all find themselves getting plenty of snaps in 2019. Both LaFleur and Hackett utilize tight ends quite a bit more in their offenses than McCarthy did in his. Remember that in 2017 under Nathaniel Hackett, Lewis had 318 yards and five touchdowns for a run-heavy Jaguars offense.

A familiar face returning to Green Bay is quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, who previously was with Green Bay as the wide receivers coach from 2016-2017.

Hackett had high praise for him, too.

“The good thing about Luke is, he played quarterback and he coached the wide receivers,” said Hackett. “I think that’s always so huge because he understands from the standpoint of the quarterbacks where the wide receivers need to be, where the quarterback needs to throw the ball, so it’s a great mesh.”

New wide receivers coach Alvis Whitted discussed the diverse talent in the receiving room during his press conference. His statements echoed Hackett’s in that the team is looking to line up players in a variety of spots and find their most effective fits.

“I think every day we have different guys making strides.” Whitted said when asked about the WR2 role behind Davante Adams.

One player in particular who’s been impressing coaches during practice? Trevor Davis.

“Trevor Davis does some good things,” said Whitted. “Obviously he’s been known as a special teams guy, but he’s actually been showing up on tape and that’s what you want.”

Whitted continued by saying it’s important for the young receivers to continuously show up on tape and force the coaching staff to make tough decisions regarding the roster spots.

A few other names that were highlighted during Whitted’s interview were Equanimeous St. Brown and Jake Kumerow.

One big takeaway from the coaching staff interviews thus far is that the offense is going to be pretty fluid. There will be multiple guys playing multiple roles on offense, whether they’re lining up in the slot or on the outside. Geronimo Allison is one of the names that’s seen quite a few snaps in the slot during practice.

The players sound just as excited as the coaches about the new offensive scheme, with many recognizing that they’ll likely get more opportunities to shine with the ball in their hands.

“I feel Matt LaFleur’s bringing in just a great offensive scheme for us all to really be able to emphasize our talents and show what else we can do,” said running back Jamaal Williams. “We already know what 12 can do.”

Both Williams and Aaron Jones emphasized getting in even better shape this past offseason to make themselves more muscular and more explosive. The RB duo also sounded confident when they were asked about their pass-catching abilities out of the backfield. That’s another wrinkle that LaFleur’s offense will incorporate.

Star wide receiver Davante Adams understands what an increased emphasis on the run will do for the passing game.

“The marriage between the run game and the pass game is really what’s going to open up and allow a lot of big plays this year,” said Adams.  

While talk is cheap until the regular season starts, the expectation is clear that the Packers offense will be much more balanced between the run and the pass. The “feed Aaron Jones” tribe should get their wish this season, and it’s about time.

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (61)

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Turophile's picture

June 04, 2019 at 01:13 pm

A little more running is probably a good thing, but when you have #12 you want to do a fair bit of throwing as well.

Green Bays last year's passing percentage was 67.54% (highest in the league). If it gets down to 60-61% it would be fine. You certainly don't want them to be way up at over 74% (average of their last three games).

So yes to a change, but you wouldn't want to be too low (eg below 58%), with the QB the Packers have.

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ricky's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:35 pm

The Packers improved as a team under Favre when they had excellent RB's and solid OLs. Ahman Green and Dorsey Levens made Favre's life a lot easier. And when a defense had to account for the possibility of a successful run when it was third and seven, and not be able to pin their ears back and rush the QB, it made the offense much more effective. Whether Jones is in the same category as Green or Levens remains to be seen. WHEN HEALTHY has been the knock on Jones.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 04, 2019 at 11:12 pm

Some games it may be 55 to 45 depending on the weather and if LeFleur wants ball control to keep the football away from an equally explosive offense. The short passing game and the outside zone/veer with TEs actually being involved in a game plan would be a real blast. Put the pressure on the LBs to stay honest instead of breaking Rodgers bones.

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wildbill's picture

June 04, 2019 at 01:46 pm

With all this TE talent we will probably see two on the field a lot. This would take some pressure off our receiving dept and allow the needed growth from our WRs to be more gradual than an urgent need. With Adams and Allison as our top two, I see a very potent air attack and the youngsters mixed in when needed

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 05, 2019 at 12:15 am

SBnation just rated our TE group as the 20th best in the NFL.

sbnation.com/nfl/2019/5/31/18637421/nfl-position-rankings-tight-end-rotation-2019-team

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Coldworld's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:09 pm

Davis showing up as a receiver? That would be an unexpected major plus. I remain skeptical: Lets see in pads as he has flashed in OTAs before, but if true, light going on or scheme freeing the shackles?

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4thand1's picture

June 04, 2019 at 04:58 pm

They're heaping praise on Davis for trade value. Maybe get a 6th.

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Lare's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:14 pm

I'm just happy to see an offense that is somewhat unpredictable, that the opposing defense doesn't know as well as our offensive players do.

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Coldworld's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:55 pm

This is one instance where wrinkles are very exciting.

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Freezn's picture

June 05, 2019 at 09:27 am

We will have an unpredictable offense as well the apposing offenses will not know who and where our linebackers will be coming from

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porupack's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:17 pm

Just can't hardly get my head around such a stat.

<<<<A phenomenal blocker and red zone weapon, Lewis was dramatically underutilized in Mike McCarthy’s offense (along with Jimmy Graham), so much so that he only had three receptions for 39 yards the entire 2018 season.>>>>

Not only Lewis, but probably all skill players but Devante were underutilized last year. Sure, a lot of this is on the new transfers Lewis and Graham to get in synch with Rodgers. Sure, a lot of this is on Rodgers to trust the new skill players; TEs, and also RBs. But my gosherooo, how does a coach allow 3 catches all season? (but I stop here and no more bashing the past from me).....,
just glad to read Maggie's comments from numerous players above on more and hope to hear the last of "underutilized". Glad there is optimism on that 'run-pass marriage thing"....which I guess meaning, a more strategic use of run/pass, as well as 'many variations of players and alignments. Good report, Maggie.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 05, 2019 at 02:56 pm

Well, the combo of underestimating the damage done to the O line started the unraveling of the offense in preseason. And Rodgers determination to go full Farve in not taking the under 15 yard pass exposed the weakness of the O line in pass pro. Add to that Rodgers taking the pass in the run/pass option in a offense where 40% of the plays were call for the run, you can see where that led to. That led many in the media from former team mates to other teams front office people to call Rodgers out for being selfish. We can only hope that being slap down publicly will sober up Rodgers and let him be more open to the new offensive system the Packers are using. Otherwise........

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:17 pm

“I think one of the good things about what we’re doing here is it allows us to do a lot of different things,”

“It’s not just one specific thing. We know we want to obviously run the ball and we know we want to be a lot more balanced.”

Tell me this isn't near word for word what we've heard from MM every mini camp and preseason....and then...reality shows up.

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porupack's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Yep, 100% certain the past won't change. But 100% chance the future changes. For the better, and how much....is what keeps us coming back for more news until the game starts.
(Glad we're at least hearing the right stuff being said).

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Coldworld's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:14 pm

Last year: was the great rewrite! “We’ve taken a back-to-basics approach on offense. We’re going back and building a playbook like you would with a first year as a staff,” McCarthy said in January

Here’s what Adams told the AP last summer, chosen because MM while kept referring to his scrub brush and cleaning things up, Adams said it in a couple of sentences:

“As for the playbook, Adams calls the changes more a fine-tuning of what’s worked in the past.

“It’s kind of more of a mentality of how we’re attacking people. I love it,” Adams said. “As long as we keep to it, keep working at things and clean everything up, it’s going to be more dangerous (than) it’s been in the past.”

Any reader can compare that with what the coaches are saying this year and folk can make their own minds up.

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IceBowl's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:12 pm

Tarynfor12,

Just to help you get up to speed, MM is not the Pack's coach anymore. No O history.

Future reality to be determined, unless you want to tell us what our balance will be. Maybe you know. Or just check averages, and then predict.

I have already predicted more than 50-50 passing. :-)

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:06 am

" Just to help you get up to speed, MM is not the Pack's coach anymore. "

Missed the point didn't you..you can say it...you did.

But,I'll say it....These quotes are no different than anything MM said .

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IceBowl's picture

June 05, 2019 at 03:39 pm

Tarynfor12,

You say ... "Missed the point didn't you..you can say it...you did."

Nooo, didn't miss the point at all. All 32 teams say they want to run more, be more balanced at this time of year. Why, because it looks good on paper. Then the season begins and reality forms a real/necessary plan of attack.

My point was your (and others/maybe you) MM (and TT) bashing, and living in the past is boring and trite.

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GB Pick 6's picture

June 04, 2019 at 06:39 pm

You realize that you basically quoted exact sentences from this article? I believe you will see a version of the old Packers sweep, based on the speed and athleticism of the running backs and the versatility of the offensive line.

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:02 am

How long did it take you to figure it out.
Copy and paste
That was the point.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 04, 2019 at 11:19 pm

Well, Lewis will at least have fresh legs for 2019. Jaguars used him down the stretch and into the playoffs. That's when he was used off the TE release after being the blocking Y tech. He was under-utilized in the pitiful meltdown to the Pats in the AFC CH game.

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IceBowl's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:21 pm

New O. New balance. I hope so.

I would not say 67 - 33% is balanced.

We have ARod, so a 50-50 split seems unlikely, even if called that way he will audible into some passes.

I would be fine with a 60-40 or 55-45 split. And that seems like MLF's approach. More runs.

Keep the D guessing and advantage Pack. Attack from everywhere and advantage Pack.

And ARod's stats can go up with D's guessing. Easier opening for receivers.

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dobber's picture

June 05, 2019 at 08:02 am

I think you're right: when you've got #12, he's going to be the focal point of the offense until he proves he just can't do it. Part of running the football is controlling TOP and that can be done through the short passing game as well.

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PatrickGB's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:23 pm

It’s true that MMs line got old. Yet I do really think that this new offense will be a pleasant surprise. I also expect some growing pains as 12 adjusts himself to a different offense. Good article Maggie.

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Lare's picture

June 04, 2019 at 02:35 pm

MM talked a better game than he called, probably why he got fired.

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Coldworld's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:10 pm

If he had just had his pad level right he would have been fine.

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IceBowl's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:14 pm

LOL, fundamentals. LOL

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Since&#039;61's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:15 pm

He is a highly successful NFL coach. Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 04, 2019 at 11:23 pm

Frankly, that is Obvious.

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packerbackerjim's picture

June 05, 2019 at 06:13 am

Gotta clean that up.

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baldski's picture

June 05, 2019 at 02:06 am

Yuk, yuk great line.

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Since&#039;61's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:14 pm

“We are going to have a more balanced offense. We are committed to the run game this season.” Where have I heard that before? Thanks, Since ‘61

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Coldworld's picture

June 04, 2019 at 04:08 pm

MM would say it, but the difference here is it’s LaFleur’s history and that he says other things as well. It’s not the words but the commitment to them.

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Turophile's picture

June 05, 2019 at 04:00 am

That pretty much nails it, Coldworld.

This is similar to looking at politicians. Judging them by what they say means little, compared to looking at what they have actually done.

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4thand10's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:53 pm

I look forward to a more creative offense if that turns out to be the case. Rewinding a bit last year...even under McCarthys system there were a serious series of some extremely bad breaks...That Minnesota tie that should not have been a tie because the league decided to go full apeshit on #52. Crosby missing like 4 __cking field goals week 5 against Detroit. Ty Montgomery’s Rams debacle. If anything, I hope these position coaches can infuse some sound football decision making as well as creativity.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 04, 2019 at 11:31 pm

The defense was not willing to play the redzone with any efficiency and wil( ie: Dix, Brice and King blowing coverage). A lot happened beyond the joke of a call
on Matthews. Crosby hits the game winner but the side judge watches Zimmer for the micro-second timeout call while the kicker is in motion. The
NFL should outlaw the practice. It used to be called UN-sportsmanlike conduct. A watered down League in a watered down world of sports.
Cheaters at every level of society.

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Cartwright's picture

June 05, 2019 at 03:18 am

Your right, that's the most bush league play in the NFL, "icing the kicker" they should ice that rule and play fair, it just doesn't seem right, but when my man Crosby nailed it twice in that Cowboys game for the win I was doing back flips.

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Coldworld's picture

June 05, 2019 at 07:47 am

I agree with everything you say other than your inclusion of King with Dix and Brice. Dix was Dix and who knows what goes on in his head? Brice couldn’t cover (marginally better than Jones though). King has had injury issues, but his talent is obvious and I’m not aware of any attitude issues.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:45 am

The reference was the first Viqueens game.

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Cubbygold's picture

June 04, 2019 at 03:57 pm

Duke Johnson wants a trade? GB wants a balanced offense? Hmmm...

Leads all RBs in receiving yards since entering the league 4 years ago

Has never missed a game 64/64

4.3 yards/rushing attempt

$1.8M salary this year

The browns love former packers. Trade them Josh Jones straight up. Would be great to add another good RB.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

June 04, 2019 at 04:24 pm

Good call. They should just give him to us for giving them Damarious for Kizer.

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GB Pick 6's picture

June 04, 2019 at 06:59 pm

I agree that Duke could be a good addition. Nothing wrong with a little more insurance in the run game. Especially at that salary.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

June 05, 2019 at 05:50 am

And especially since Aaron Jones is 0/2 making it to the end of a season without getting sidelined with injuries. Depth really matters at RB, for us.

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Sol's picture

June 04, 2019 at 08:28 pm

Marcedes Lewis only caught three passes last year but I bet he went out for a lot more than the four times he was targeted. What a great secret weapon we have this year. Put him in everyone is thinking run and guess what we pass. He will be a very valuable piece to keep other teams guessing. I hope we can keep other team guessing the way Bill Belichick does with the Patriots. I can't tell you how ridiculous he has made Andy Reid and Lovie Smith look in two minute drills and penalties over the years, kind of like high school coaches. Now if our new coach can game plan and keep other teams off balance just half as good as that, we will really stack up the wins with all the talent we have accumulated and all the other stats will take care of themselves. Go Pack!

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Coldworld's picture

June 05, 2019 at 07:59 am

Not a lot more, that’s the real puzzle. Lewis had 190 total offensive snaps, only17.69% of total.

As a comparison, Kendrick’s had 314 total snaps or 30%. Graham was on the field for almost 75% of the offensive snaps

Lewis’s usage was so low and sporadic that he never had a chance to get in the groove as a blocker either. Many assumed that Lewis had just hit a wall for that reason. His prompt resigning suggests the front office believe differently. Just plain odd.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:47 am

He stays, Mccarthy goes...

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IceBowl's picture

June 05, 2019 at 03:57 pm

Sol,

You say .... "Put him in everyone is thinking run and guess what we pass."

I hope you are still OK, and have not gotten hurt from people on this blog. Much of our talk is run more, and more, and more. You can't be switching out of a run play to pass. OMG, noooooooo! :-)

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Bure9620's picture

June 04, 2019 at 08:43 pm

Trevor Davis always flashed without pads though, I don't know that he continues to "impress" in pads.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 04, 2019 at 11:33 pm

Hopefully, Shepherd will beat him out.

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lucky953's picture

June 05, 2019 at 12:07 am

It's hard to run the ball consistently when the other team is scoring in bunches. Fulfilling the promise of balance assumes a defense that can regularly get stops. One thing I feel pretty confident about: this year's D will be better than last year's

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Freezn's picture

June 05, 2019 at 09:35 am

This years defense should be fun to watch tearing apart apposing offenses and beating up the apposing Quarterbacks wile our offensive line keeps Aron upright that will be a big change. As Far as Gary is concerned I believe a lot of people will be eating crow when Gary starts to tear through offenses. Offenses will have to control 4 studs and not know where they are coming from.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:49 am

Stop the run, attack the passer. Just get it done in the first two downs.

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PeteK's picture

June 05, 2019 at 05:13 am

You can talk about balance all day long, but it will be up tp the O line. Turner, Bulaga , Martin are key.

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Coldworld's picture

June 05, 2019 at 08:02 am

Martin? You mean Jenkins?

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PeteK's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:54 am

Experience will win out, Jenkins will be a solid backup.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 05, 2019 at 07:04 pm

If Jenkins talent wins out, Taylor will be moved. McCray can backup the guard spots.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

June 05, 2019 at 10:13 am

When I watched Lewis play last year, he looked not much more than an old offensive lineman playing TE. The guy is 35 and getting older every day in a young man's game. I hope we don't lose a promising younger player like Tonyan or Kumero by keeping Lewis.

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Lphill's picture

June 05, 2019 at 11:48 am

the problem was last season that when the run seemed to be working , MM stopped and shifted to something else which seemed to be his MO, maybe he was trying to outsmart the opposing defense but this tactic did more harm than good.

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PeteK's picture

June 05, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Our RG was getting beat on like a Bell, LG was slightly better.

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Think Big's picture

June 05, 2019 at 12:57 pm

I think that the new changes in the offense will help and make a large difference, however one of the things that I would really like to see change is the snap. I don't know how many times I watched the play clock go inside 3 seconds before snapping the ball, at least 95% of the time. It is no wonder that the defense was able to pin their ears back and rush our QB. Get the play in and call it. Get the ball snapped before the defense has time to react, and I'm not talking just to pick up 5 yards. If we are not running the clock out, we should be able to snap the ball without telegraphing the snap to the opponent.

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Qoojo's picture

June 05, 2019 at 06:17 pm

Who has Kumerow and Davis in their WR pool? Davis is a bracket buster.

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