Tyler Ervin can be an X-Factor on Offense

As the Green Bay Packers' offense looks to become more unpredictable, it's Tyler Ervin's skill-set and versatility that could play a major role in helping them achieve that. 

The "illusion of complexity" is what Matt LaFleur wants for this Green Bay Packers' offense. Meaning, regardless of personnel, LaFleur wants to run plays that start out looking the same, but they're actually different, and they'll run the same concepts, but in a number of different ways. 

This requires a versatile group of players, which the Packers do have, but after being a midseason addition that saved the punt return unit in 2019, it is Tyler Ervin who could be an X-Factor in this offense and help LaFleur achieve that "illusion of complexity."

Ervin saved a punt return team that was on a historically bad pace in terms of return yardage, but we also saw his role with the offense slowly expand in the final weeks of the season. Ervin's stats on offense weren't eye-popping by any means; in fact, during the regular season, he had just 11 receiving yards on two receptions and 10 rushing yards.

However, what we saw was his versatility with his ability to line up in the backfield, in the slot, and out wide, while also being used on jet-sweep motions. We also saw the potential that Ervin has in this offense with LaFleur. During Green Bay's Week 17 matchup with Detroit, Ervin had a step on his defender but was overthrown on what would have been a touchdown reception. Then in the Divisional Round against Seattle, Ervin nearly broke a big run but was tripped up just as he was about to break away. 

Entering the new season, all signs point to Ervin playing a much bigger role, and as LaFleur said a few weeks back, they're going to give him those opportunities to show what he can do (via Packers Wire):

“He displayed that last season in the return game. He’s an explosive player. He’s pretty elusive,” LaFleur said. “We have Adam Stenavich, who was his o-line coach for a year at San Jose State. He’s been in our ear about what kind of playmaker ‘Swerve’ can be. We’re just going to continue to give him opportunities to see what he can do.”

By all accounts, Ervin has taken advantage of those opportunities in training camp. Although listed as a running back last season, for much of camp, he has spent time with the receivers and could emerge as one of Aaron Rodgers' top targets out of the slot where he's made a number of plays in camp. But even if that's the case, don't expect Ervin to be playing from just that one position, as Rodgers points out, LaFleur will take advantage of his skill-set and continue to move him around:

“We saw what he could do in space, and he just became a bigger part of our offense. I remember, there was a lot of conversation about next year, and we really had to think about how he could get the ball more in space, a few more opportunities,” Rodgers said. “As you’ve seen throughout training camp, he’s lined up at a lot of different positions. He’s played some receiver stuff. He’s played in the backfield. We’ve given him the ball. We’ve thrown him the ball. He’s a very versatile guy.”

Versatile indeed, and it's going to be that versatility that helps give this Green Bay Packers' offense that element of unpredictability. 

While much of the offseason was spent focusing on what the Packers don't have rather than what they do have - which is a pretty talented team - what seems to be forgotten about is that this is an offense built for what Matt LaFleur wants to run. It's a group of interchangeable and highly versatile players that will help LaFleur achieve that "illusion of complexity." And that certainly includes Tyler Ervin. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (9)

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PeteK's picture

September 11, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Swervin's skill set is conducive to him playing the slot. Since we did not draft a WR and Funless left, it's is even more vital that Ervin produce . I think he fits in well because he is a change of pace player from all the trees we have at WR.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 11, 2020 at 05:36 pm

Motion guy, the obvious jet sweep and a wheel route, split backfield type guy.

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Oppy's picture

September 11, 2020 at 04:31 pm

I know everyone is excited about Ervin and he’s been the buzz around camp.. maybe I’m wrong, but in this offense I would expect to see more production out of the #2 TE than out of Ervin when all is said and done.

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Bure9620's picture

September 12, 2020 at 03:34 am

TEs will have more snaps most weeks

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PeteK's picture

September 12, 2020 at 07:48 am

It might depend on the team they're playing.

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Qoojo's picture

September 11, 2020 at 05:50 pm

I prefer a Y-factor...which is an x-factor with balls.

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spaces's picture

September 12, 2020 at 03:23 am

These matches are always so much fun to watch and had a great game like always, keep going
https://www.pearltrees.com/riomdr#item317743055

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NoNonsense's picture

September 12, 2020 at 05:06 am

So many possibilities with the skill sets of these 4 RBs, I cant wait to see how they use these guys individually and together in the backfield.

Line up Jamal, Swerve and Aaron in the backfield together and you have 3 very capable receivers or runners so defenses will have to pick their poison. Throw in Dillon and its gets even more intriguing. Cant wait till sunday. The Vikings wont know what hit them.

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Slim11's picture

September 12, 2020 at 10:21 am

Seeing them in an inverted wishbone would be interesting!

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