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Packers Defense Faces Pistol Formation on First Public Practice Snap of the Year

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Packers Defense Faces Pistol Formation on First Public Practice Snap of the Year

Whether or not the read-option is just the "Flavor of the Day" or a fad in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers don't appear to be taking any chances.

First we heard that head coach Mike McCarthy sent the defensive coaching staff down to Texas A&M on a reconnaissance mission this offseason to see coach Kevin Sumlin's team in action.

Then we learned that the Packers courted pistol formation innovator Chris Ault before he was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs as a consultant.

The stress on the read-option apparently continued on Tuesday during the Packers' first practice open the public and media.

If you listen to Packers broadcaster Larry McCarren ask Clay Matthews a question in a locker room press scrum (about two minutes into the video), you can hear him ask the following:

Clay, the first time you lined up as a defense… they lined up in the pistol, read-option… a big point of emphasis, I guess?

By "they," I am working under the assumption that McCarren means the scout team.

Based upon watching the Packers practice in the past, the offense and the defense typically begin by breaking up on opposite ends of the field. The players further down the depth chart form a scout team to give the starters different looks.

I can only assume this is what happened on Tuesday before the offensive starters "scrimmaged" against the defensive starters later in practice. If anyone was at practice and has information to the contrary, feel free to clue us in.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tony's picture

Well, at least they're taking a little notice. We'll see in September.

fried cheese's picture

what is up with the japanese shaming bs. this is america's team dammit.

cow42's picture

according to 90% of the posters on this site - the Packers shouldn't even worry themselves about this.

the pistol - the read option - athletic, dual threat qb's... all just fads.

you know what bothers me? how reactionary McCarthy seems to be right now. dude just seems to be scrambling... flipping the OL, trying to hire pistol-guy, drafting multiple rb's, running against the pistol on day #3 of practice, putting Neal @ OLB.

last season messed this dude up.

this is gonna be a looooooooooong season.

we shall see who the true fans are once this team starts putting up 7 win seasons (coming sooner than many of you may think).

i'll still be here (i'll be bitching, but i'll be here)... it'll be interesting to see who "disappears".

Jeremy's picture

Chumming the water at all cow?

ChiCheez's picture

Cow - what would you advise that McCarthy SHOULD be doing? I get your point about reactionary, and I agree, but what do you think he should be doing differently? Just interested in your POV in that respect...

cow42's picture

moving Bulaga = fine. he's your best OT and opens a legit competition for RT.

flipping the guards = stupid. too many players having to learn new positions now.

drafting 1 rb = fine.

drafting 2 in your first 4 rds = stupid. especially seeing as Harris is essentially the same as Franklin. could have gotten a quality safety in r4.

don't worry so much about the read option or pistol. you're never going to get as good at stopping that offense as the teams that run it are going to be at running it. keep things simple so guys can just react and be athletes as opposed to having to think so much.

worry about the entire season. everything being done smells like MM's got a big red circle around that w1 game. the 49'ers have better talent. that will be a blowout. accept it and worry about the rest of the season.

i actually think that the changes that were made in the last CBA have hurt the Packers more than any other team. a draft and develop team needs as much time as possible to teach its young players. the new CBA gives coaches less time with their players. it's become more about athleticism and talent than it is about preparation. turning 6th and 7th rounders into legit contibutors is going to get harder and harder.

Jake's picture

I get what you're saying, but it's just the beginning of OTA's. One day of practicing against the Pistol and putting Neal at OLB and what not really doesn't mean anything. They are just trying new things. Better now than midway through the season.

As for drafting a safety in the 4th round in lieu of Franklin. I dunno about that. Isn't that when McMillan was drafted? What's to say they had any of the 4th round safety prospects rated higher than McMillan anyway? May as well get some backup for their new running back who, you seem to think at least, is guaranteed to get hurt.

mani2packers's picture

I thought Ravens did a good job stopping the Pistol in first half of the SB. Would have the 2nd half if some 9ers fan didn't kill the lights cuz they were getting embarrassed.

Ernst's picture

rb's get injured and lacey is always dinged up. franklin was too good to pass up for an avg safety no better than what we got.

SamShieldsShoes's picture

Hey Cow, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Sheesh. =) Back away from the edge a smidge. =)

The Packers did the exact same thing last year and the year before, they tried all kinds of things in OTAs that they never used in the regular season, not to mention not even in the preseason. =)

And to be honest I see this as a shot across the bow of the 49ers who they play early in the season first game. The goal is to give them as much to think about and plan for as possible. That's always the goal against any team. Spread out their preparation.

And with that said, they drafted two backs, not because of any other team, but because they realized that their defense was on the field too long and they were no longer winning the time of possession with the no huddle three and outs or fast scores. This draft is about clock time of possession and pass rush, limiting the other teams time of possession. Drafting a safety while needed, wasn't a additive in that plan.

So don't leap off the edge yet, seems Coach Mac's plan is working and already has you on edge. =) Think about the other teams. Power and pass and time of possession. Not only to score, but to throttle the other teams chance at scoring as well.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Nothing wrong with drafting 2 players from 1 position in the same draft.
You said you wish they would have drafted a Safety in the 4th round vs. Franklin? What safety was available that you would have liked to have seen them get?

Also the Packers used a 4th round pick on a safety last year. Jerron McMillan. Don't sleep on him...

fried cheese's picture

If he is publicly going about this read-option desperation thing, if he fails to stop it this year i believe his head is on the chopping block. You know Packers could get anyone they wanted to coach their team. I bet tony dungy would even come back

Evan's picture

McCarthy isn't going anywhere this season, no matter what happens. Now Capers is a different story.

PadLevel's picture

Wish they got rid of James Campen. He has been messing up our O-Line for years and it bugs me to no end that he is not being held accountable. I watched the Rams game again from last season and it was painful to see how our OLine was basically mauled by the Rams D-Line. Rodgers was on his game that day and it was the main reason we came out with a win.

Stroh's picture

Dude you'll still be whining like a 3 yr old when the Packers win 12 and the division yet AGAIN. Then when they get to the NFCCG... You'll whine no matter how good they are! Your not fooling anyone, we know better!

djbonney138's picture

"I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice."

John's picture

Cow, that is one of the stupidest posts I have seen. 7 win seasons soon? lol.

Packer fans do not disappear in any event

jeremy's picture

421 consecutive sellouts at Lambeau.

I bleed Green More's picture

I have been a fan since late 50s and it never gets old. No matter what win or lose we still love them.

Bugeater's picture

Yeah, good idea. It's probably not a good idea to train for defending against other offenses. Much better to go blindly forward and not adjust. That way you guarantee failure and thus, Cow has his 7 win seasons.

It's funny to me that if MM or DC make adjustments they are panicing; if they don't then they are stupid and stubborn.

madmanJack's picture

i hope its you.

Nononsense's picture

Frankly im frickin happy that MM is finally doing something to fix the problems on this team. If you ask me TT and MM aren't reactionary enough.

The lack of a running game went on long enough, MM stubborness in keeping Crosby last year about killed me now at the very least they got him some competition., The OL has been weak for too long and RT is easier to fill then LT so that was a good move.(Sitton to LG time will tell)

Drafting a true 3-4 DE was long overdue, and so was getting some real speed at WR. As for the Pistol well its better to be prepared for it than not.

Cow I think you just want to see MM and the Pack have a down year or two just so you can finally be right about your constant whining about this team and its deficiencies. Drama Queen.

Nerd's picture

1: They didn't draft a "true" 3-4 DE.

2: They haven't established a running game YET. I think they have the horses now, but it remains to be seen on the field.

SamShieldsShoes's picture

I grant you item #2. In fact I think that's as much or more on the offensive line and offensive line coaching than it is on the running backs.

But on Item #1, they actually did draft a true 3-4 DE. They are supposed to be long and about 280 or 290 and be able to set the edge, as well as get enough push to allow the outside lbs to get single blocked.

The packers, up until now except for Cullen Jenkins, have gone the other direction instead with wide bodied DE instead and hoping to hold the line. I think this year they finally realized that doesn't work, people just run around you and your olbs get double teamed. Hence more running around you. See AP or the 49ers qb or really any mobile qb for that matter.

GBPDAN's picture

Micheal Crabtree is out for the year, Packers beat niners in opener

cow42's picture

Other than Kprnk going down, I see no senario where the Packers can win that game.

They played 8 quarters against SF last season and got dominated physically in each and every one of them.


They're not hurting for weapons.

Jake's picture

The Pack was more than competitive in the first half vs the 9ers in the playoffs. Take away that fumble on the kickoff by Ross, who knows how much closer the game could have been.

Nerd's picture

Tell you what.

If Aaron and Mike stop throwing deep all the time and adhere to WCO fundamentals, like Time of Possession, we have a GREAT chance at winning this game.

Burn clock. Keep their offense off the field. Wear their defense down.

Mike's philosophy is to merely try chucking it deep to score as many times as possible, not to try to stop the other team from scoring. He's looking beyond any single game to the record books.

leo's picture

The Niners strength is their O-line, they have by far out muscled our front seven. But saying loosing by far their best WR isn't going to affect their game, is wrong. I'm not saying the Packers are going to win for sure. But man you are counting a lot of guys that won't play (Lattimore) and a lot of guys that have shown nothing so far. And by the way Harbaugh don't use the rookies that much.
And to wrap things up, if you are a Packer Fan and you are sure that the Packers are already going to loose their season opener in May.... It must be truly hard to live with yourself.

djbonney138's picture

I don't give a shit if they have Hercules, we have Aaron F**king Rodgers no one is a given against us.

Nononsense's picture

Man your hard on for the 49ers is disturbing. In one breath you talk about MM drafting 2 RBs like thats a bad thing on a team with one basically, in the next breath you list the 49ers unstoppable weapons that include 5 RBs.

Whats good for the goose, is good for the gander. I can make a list too.


PackersRS's picture


WisconsInExile's picture


SamShieldsShoes's picture

Don't fall for it, Cow's a troll. =) Let him go on his way. =) Ignoring him will help him find another home, that's not here. =)

RC Packer Fan's picture

just a few comments on the names you mentioned...
Boldin is another year older, in a new offense. How much does he have left?
Patton is a rookie. Harbaugh didn't play many of his rookies last year..
McDonald - another rookie.
Davis a legit threat. still their best weapon.
Gore right there with Davis.
Hunter - coming off torn acl. Can't count on him being a huge threat.
Dixon- ??? really? in the 3 years of playing he has 402 total rushing yards, 6 TD's and 17 receiving yards.
James- Might be good, wasn't used much as a rookie. hasn't proved anything yet...
Lattimore will not play this year... If he does at all it wont be till late.

That list of weapons to me is not better then the Packers...

madmanJack's picture

if you think latimore is going to play this year your crazy.

California Cheesehead's picture

Dominated in every quarter? Come on, man. When they went up on us big in the first game ARodg marched the offense down the field like they were the only ones on it. Each time. One ended with a Graham Harrell fumble.
In the playoffs, as was mentioned, we started off great. Mistakes by players and coaches got it out of reach.
Cow, dude, I don't give into your Westboro-style of attention getting with the constant "they can't win" stuff and get worked up about it, but in the words of Darth Vader: "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

dawg's picture

Campen is the weakest link !

dawg's picture

51 sacks per season?
NFL record?

dawg's picture

By drafting 2 RB's.
Campen, now your safe--you don't have to teach how to block.
Lacy and Franklin, save the day, for now!
Lets hope He (Lacy)is not the next Eddie lee Ivory!

dawg's picture


Fumble recovery drill, cleats required!

Lucky953's picture

How soon?

Lucky953's picture

The 7- win season I mean? Mm is just jacking with them. He knows there's no way the Packers could possibly stop the 49ers, so he's hoping they change their game plan once it "leaks out" that they're actually practicing against it ( unlike last year).

Fishin Crane's picture

safeties...safeties...whatever, most are flunky cornerbacks.... what makes an ok safety is pressure...and GB will bring it.

Nerd's picture

Almost sounds to me like they wanted the scout team to practice RUNNING the pistol.

Harrell would be the QB, no?

Maybe they're thinking of putting him out there in key situations. He is a shotgun QB after all.

Fish . Crane's picture

the Packers pistol quarterback is Tim Masthay.

Evan's picture

Randall Cobb?

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