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RPOs Became Emphasis of Packers' Offense in 2017

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RPOs Became Emphasis of Packers' Offense in 2017

-- When your—very good—starting quarterback is Aaron Rodgers and he goes down for an extended period of time with a broken collarbone in his throwing shoulder, chances are, you'll need to make some adjustments to how you run things on offense.

That's what the Green Bay Packers did with backup quarterback Brett Hundley for the 621 snaps he played on offense from the moment Rodgers went down in week 6 to when he was relieved by third-string journeyman quarterback Joe Callahan in week 17 to finish the regular season.

Hundley, who rushed for over 1,700 yards and 30 touchdowns in three seasons at UCLA, was given a chance to play to his strengths, thanks to coach Mike McCarthy.

McCarthy reorganized the schematic foundations of the Packers' offense, which has always been centered around Rodgers and his ability to continuously extend plays with a keen sense for the pressure and expertise in the pocket. With Hundley, whatever he lacked as a passer, he made up for with his mobility.

The Packers ran the third-most Run-Pass-Option (RPO) plays in the league in 2017 to align with Hundley's abilities. 15.1 percent of their total offensive plays were RPOs, trailing only the Philadelphia Eagles (18.0 percent) and Kansas City Chiefs (18.1 percent).

A multitude of teams found success with RPOs in the NFL last season, and it's also a strategic way to keep a defense off-balanced. The Packers, however, more than likely won't be utilizing such play calls with Rodgers back in 2018. Especially after returning from his second collarbone injury.

After the Packers' overtime win over the Cleveland Browns in December, the NFL Network's Ben Fennell accounted for Hundley's success in an RPO-styled offense, to which the Packers used to their advantage that week.

According to Fennell, Hundley completed 4-of-4 passes for 20 yards and a touchdown. Such play designs help Hundley "take advantage of presnap numbers/leverage," and "quick throws that allow for YAC opportunities."

On the ground, Hundley averaged 7.5 yards per carry in his nine starts last season and also rushed for two touchdowns. 


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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

John Kirk's picture

Imagine how Hundley would've looked if we weren't keeping defenses off balance with RPOs.

Johnblood27's picture

should have been around 60% to hide Hundleys "passing abilities".

Bure9620's picture

Makes sense. What makes RPO so effective is that at the beginning of the play, the o-line is essentially run blocking, which makes it quite a bit different than play action and more effective on quick routes. I hope we continue it next year, but I only like RPO if Rodgers is getting the ball out quicker. The scramble drill here is not advisable as the o linemen positioning and assignments are different and can make 12 more vulnerable if the ball does not come out on schedule.

I bleed green more's picture

A very painful thing to watch.

billybobton's picture

if you thought MM changed his O up for BH you need to go back and get some non green and gold glasses

or try watching the games

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