What Offensive Wrinkles May Packers Show in 2015?

Will the Green Bay Packers implement new concepts in their 2015 offense and make it more dangerous? 

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has shown a history of revising and updating his offense periodically.

In the NFL, teams have to change and adapt every year, otherwise they fall behind and get left in the dust. Get ahead of the curve, or at least stay on the curve, but don't get caught behind the curve.

We should expect to see some new wrinkles in the offense this year. But, before we begin to speculate what we may see, let's take a look at some of McCarthy's past major wrinkles and what the effects were.

2006. Zone run blocking scheme. When McCarthy was hired in 2006, he made Jeff Jagodzinski one of his first hires to be the offensive coordinator. Mainly, he wanted Jagodzinski to teach him and implement the zone run blocking scheme he learned from Alex Gibbs in Atlanta. McCarthy's marriage of the zone blocking scheme with the West Coast Offense was a new approach for the Packers, and it ultimately paid off with an NFC Championship Game appearance in 2007 (even though Jagodzinski was gone by then). The Packers still utilize many zone blocking principles to this day and won the 2010 Super Bowl with it.

2011. Run and shoot principles. After the Super Bowl run of 2010, McCarthy really opened up his playbook and told soon-to-be megasuperstar Aaron Rodgers to let it rip. That season, they attacked down field more than they ever have before. One of their base plays was "four verticals special," which is also a staple in the run and shoot offense. Your eyes should have immediately seen the difference in the passing game, but if not, the stats do the talking. Rodgers, who has a career average of 8.2 yards per pass attempt, hadd a career-best 9.2 yards per attempt that season and posted an NFL record 122.5 quarterback rating. The Packers had a 15-1 record, had the number one scoring offense, and Rodgers won his first MVP award.

2014. Packaged playsEven before Rodgers tore his calf muscle, the Packers were utilizing packaged plays, and they then did more of those out of the pistol formation later in the season while he was nursing his injury. A packaged play is when the play is drawn up to include both a run and pass option. After the snap, the quarterback tucks the ball in the running back's gut and surveys the defense. If the look dictates a pass, he takes the ball out and then throws it down field. If the look dictates a run, he simply lets the running back keep it. The extra wrinkle contributed to Rodgers winning his second MVP award.

I'm sure there are many more, but you didn't click here to reminisce down memory lane. You want to look forward to the 2015 season.

So, I'll throw out some possible wrinkles we may see in the 2015 offense, and then I'll leave it up to you to discuss the likelihood of each idea below in the comments section.

1. Aaron Rodgers has total control of the offense play calling. This has been discussed before, and even Rodgers himself said he won't be calling his own plays, but this is a discussion that won't go away, and where's there's smoke, there's fire. I think there is distinct possibility that the Packers will increase their no-huddle game and Rodgers will survey the defense and call a play to his liking. It won't be the majority of their offensive category, but we'll see some of it during the normal flow of a game.

2. Power run blocking2014 showed a balance of zone run blocking and man-to-man run blocking, and they are poised to show more man-to-man blocking in 2015. Zone blocking has the advantage when the offensive linemen are not quite elite run blockers, so it can protect a potential offensive weakness. On the other hand, man-to-man blocking really does require superior offensive line talent. The 2015 roster has the potential to not only be the Packers' best offensive line they've had in years, but the potential to be the best in the NFL. They have some real maulers up there, so don't be surprised to see some power-o or even counter-of. The Packers have an offensive line capable of taking over a game with power man-to-man blocking.

3. More bubble and tunnel screens. Remember when the Packers were once the best running back screen team in all of football? Lately, however, the Packers haven't used an abundance of screens. I don't expect them to showcase running backs in the 2015 screen game like they did in the 1990s, but perhaps they can use their tandem of shifty receivers in Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery in their bubble and tunnel screen games. This would be a great way to get the rookie Montgomery in the game because it's an not an overly difficult play to master. Essentially, they have some concepts of a punt return. Give the ball to the runner behind a wall of blockers, find the crease, and hit the jets. These will give the rookie a chance and should build some confidence.

4. Dual screen. The NFL is a copycat league, and Chip Kelly has put some interesting offensive concepts on tape, so expect to see others follow his lead. One of his favorite concepts in the dual screen. Essentially, this is two screens in one and gives the quarterback the option to throw to the best match up. On one side of the formation, the blockers set up for the outside receiver in the tunnel screen, and on the other side of the formation the blockers set up for the running back in a base screen. Can you imagine how deadly the Packers screen game would be with Lacy and Cobb/Montgomery as the options? Yeah, that seems pretty awesome to me.

Those are four of my guesses as to what we may see. I look forward to your speculation and discussion below.

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Comments (37)

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Nick Perry's picture

July 01, 2015 at 06:42 am

All excellent choices Jay, I'm with you especially with the last two. When the Packers DID run a screen pass last year several were a thing of beauty. Lacy had a couple, one against New Orleans and the other against Chicago I believe where he took them in for a TD, both over 40 yards. I really believe McCarthy will try and take advantage of Cobb and Montgomery's quickness out of the backfield. I wouldn't be surprised a bit to see Montgomery getting a few carries a game. He's 221 pounds and ran pretty effectively at Stanford. It also keeps Cobb from running the ball into the middle of the defense which always made me cringe last year because of his importance to this offense.

The Packers O-Line does have some real maulers now, especially right in the middle with Lindsey, Sitton, and Lang. That kid (Lindsey) is so damn strong and with a year under his belt I think he only scratched the surface last year of what he's capable of.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 01, 2015 at 07:06 am

One of the biggest things that I think Rodgers injury did for the Packers was it made McCarthy go back and change some things schematically last year. After Rodgers injury he installed the Pistol formation into the offense and it worked really, really well.

What that did for the offense was it combined the 2 different styles into 1 on offense. It allowed Rodgers to be in shotgun (which he prefers) and it allowed Lacy to be lined up behind the QB and taking handoffs while moving towards the LOS. Lacy is better when he is moving towards the LOS, vs when he is lined up in shotgun next to Rodgers where he has to sidestep or move parallel with the line.

I expect to see a lot more of the Pistol formation this year with new wrinkles in it.
Perhaps they will take Lacy out and put Montgomery in as a RB. Montgomery could be that change of pace RB that we have been lacking for a while. Cobb has done a bit of that but Montgomery being bigger could be better made to hold up better in that role.

Another wrinkle possibility. Putting Cobb and Montgomery in the backfield together. I love that idea because both can run, both can take passes out of the backfield. It will keep defenses on their toes.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

July 01, 2015 at 09:30 am

Can I say this is making me giddy at this point, I know its early but wow this should be a blast.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 01, 2015 at 10:57 am

training camp can't get here fast enough!!!

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Nick Perry's picture

July 01, 2015 at 08:33 pm

Right on about Lacy RC, excellent point. I didn't really think about that until you just mentioned it.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 02, 2015 at 07:09 am

Yeah, he is definitely a downhill runner. Therefore the pistol blends his running style with what they like to do on offense. Its a perfect set for the offense.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 01, 2015 at 07:24 am

Good stuff Jay.

You bring up an interesting discussion. MMs offense and the players TT has brought in make innovation and excitement almost a yearly given. For me, I'd love to see the offense be able to make opposing defenses "pick your poison". You do one thing, and we'll win another way.

But I also found myself thinking: "Man, wouldn't it be nice to see the defense be so innovative." 2009 with CWood and 2010 with CM3 and Collins is the only time in the past 10 years I felt like Dom was dictating to the opposition.

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Handsback's picture

July 01, 2015 at 07:45 am

Great article, I expect more pistol formations this year and maybe a lot more 5 receiver formations.
I think the greatest change will be from the D side. I think Capers D will have more sacks and interceptions this year because of QBs not understanding what they see on the field.

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croatpackfan's picture

July 01, 2015 at 08:02 am

I tend to agree with your point of view. I expect some interesting D plays during the season. AS I stated already on the other page, I believe D will be improved a lot this season, ST even more...

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Jay Hodgson's picture

July 01, 2015 at 08:22 am

Good comments so far.

I do think the defense had some interesting wrinkles in 2014, such as moving Clay to middle linebacker and then running the NASCAR package during pass rush situations.

Hopefully Capers rolls out some additional wrinkles in 2015.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 01, 2015 at 09:22 am

Some defensive wrinkles I have been wondering if they would do would be possibly using Richardson as a 3rd Safety in some packages. Making him an ILB/S tweener. We have discussed this a lot on here before, but I do wonder if they would do something like that.
They did that some towards the end of the year putting him in on goal line situations. Maybe he will be a Dime LB.

Also I am wondering if they are going to do some different things with their secondary. With Randall and Hyde they both could play a Safety/Corner role.

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Jay Hodgson's picture

July 01, 2015 at 09:47 am

I wrote about Richardson and the nickel/dime linebacker back at the old site. Maybe you'll agree with my prediction.

http://allgbp.com/2015/05/27/packers-xs-and-os-sean-richardson-as-a-subs...

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 01, 2015 at 11:05 am

yeah, i do agree with you on that. Great article btw. I have basically been saying the same thing on here for a while.

What I like about Richardson playing an ILB role in the nickel/dime is that although he isn't great in coverage, in that role he will have 2 safety's behind him. He isn't the last line of defense.
Also I look at the same way you said in your article. He may not be a great in coverage as a safety, but he is better then most ILB's. And that is what we need him to be. Better then our ILB's in coverage.

I really think he could be very good in that role.

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Jay Hodgson's picture

July 01, 2015 at 11:12 am

Thanks. It'll be fun to see if Capers rolls out Richardson like that. There's a reason he was re-signed, and it wasn't just for special teams.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 01, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Better than last year's ILB definitely. This year hopefully not. But he is capable in that role.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

July 01, 2015 at 10:07 am

It will be interesting to see Guion play DE in a Packers uniform. They may play just him and Daniels primarily while in Nickel, rotating in other pass rushers.

If Adrian Hubbard makes the team, playing him and Peppers outside gives them a lot of length, allowing them to fight off OTs. A LB combo of Hubbard, Matthews, Barrington and Peppers might work well.

Nice discussion on the secondary. I think Richardson could be playing a bit more on Defense this year, possibly in a bandit role. I still want to see more film of Randall and Rollins to guess where they'd be best utilized. I see the "arrow pointing up" for all levels of the defense.

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omega's picture

July 01, 2015 at 10:27 am

I envision a package including something along the lines of Nelson wide left, Adams wide right, Janis/Abby slot either side, Cobb and Montgomery each side of Rodgers in the gun. Could do anything from there. Motion one out, screens, bubble routes, or anything from there could be a mismatch. Just thinking of what they did with just Cobb back there last year.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 01, 2015 at 10:56 am

One line up I have thought about a lot has been Nelson/Adams outside. Cobb in backfield, slot or start in backfield and motion to slot. Rodgers at TE or lined up at FB, and Montgomery lined up at RB. With Rodgers at TE he can block or catch. It gives the offense a bit more of a true threat to run the ball.
I think this lineup could be very difficult for teams to defend. It puts your top 3 WR's on the field who are very difficult to match up with alone. It includes another WR who could shift out and you have 5 WR's to cover. Or you can still run from that formation. The question is how will defenses defend that? Probably Dime defense. Which will make for favorable running situations.

I understand that this is asking a quite a bit out of Montgomery as a rookie, but in that type of role he should be able to come in and play early.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

July 01, 2015 at 12:16 pm

I like the potential this package provides. You could also utilize this personnel grouping out of the pistol with Cobb or Monty behind Rodgers, running the option. Since Defenses will probably line up in the nickel or dime to defend this grouping, it bodes well for the run/ screen game.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

July 01, 2015 at 12:51 pm

...and if the D is in nickel, a linebacker will be asked to cover at least one of the receivers. Cobb was very good at making plays when matched against a linebacker in coverage last year.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

July 01, 2015 at 02:00 pm

Did I say I was getting giddy already, the options seem endless this year. Hate to be the opposing defense, can you say score!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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dobber's picture

July 01, 2015 at 03:40 pm

It only asks a lot of Montgomery if you give him a significant number of reads or checks. If you limit those in-game adjustments for him (essentially trim his playbook), he'd likely be fine and still could be very effective.

My concern with Cobb in the backfield (as others have mentioned) is that he's going to be taking more hits from LBs and DLs. I think I'd want him motioning out into space if you're starting him in the backfield to save him some punishment and to protect your investment.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 01, 2015 at 01:00 pm

"Rodgers will survey the defense and call a play to his liking."

I seriously doubt this ever happens. I'm pretty all of the checks are scripted based on what the QB reads and he is responsible to change to the correct check that is determined within the system.

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The TKstinator's picture

July 01, 2015 at 06:55 pm

Agreed.

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Clay Zombo's picture

July 01, 2015 at 01:50 pm

Im interested to see what kind of wrinkles or focus they put on special teams, specifically extra point blocking. I envision Peppers and hopefully Hubbard making life real difficult for kickers in 2015.

Also want to see some jet sweep, end around and reverse stuff on offense and all the playaction that comes from that. Nothing like freezing LBs and safeties with those fakes and watching the middle of the field open up for Rodgers or Lacy.

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Jay Hodgson's picture

July 01, 2015 at 02:14 pm

Great discussion so far. Keep your ideas coming.

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dobber's picture

July 01, 2015 at 03:44 pm

Seattle does some nice stuff where they roll the offense to the right side and sneak a WR or RB out into the flat on the left side...usually wide open or with a single man to beat. This would suit an athletic QB like Rodgers or Wilson to a T...must respect the downfield options play-side. In reality, I think Seattle runs a "college offense"...a lot of plays that you see on Saturdays but not on Sundays.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

July 01, 2015 at 03:54 pm

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2015/06/30/lions-newbi...
Read this for a laugh!

Fun Fact: Eric Ebron from 2014 and all 7 of the Lions rookies picked in 2015 weren't even born the last time the Lions won a game at Lambeau. 23 years, baby!

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4thand1's picture

July 01, 2015 at 07:13 pm

I've been to a lot of Packer/Lion games. The last one was when Flynnsannity took over. Went with a buddy who is a diehard lion fan. He was all pumped because the Packers sat a ton of starters. I remember him bragging the streak ends today! He was really quiet on the 5 hour ride home.

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The TKstinator's picture

July 01, 2015 at 06:56 pm

Glad the OL is mentioned here. All the fancy shmancy cute stuff falls apart without decent blocking by the big uglies.

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4thand1's picture

July 01, 2015 at 07:14 pm

Me too, this years unit should dominate.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 01, 2015 at 07:18 pm

Have a hunch Linsley is looking forward to the Seattle game.

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olwig420's picture

July 01, 2015 at 08:03 pm

The one thing that no one is talking about is Ripkowski's blocking. The guy looks like a beast. I see him adding the most to the offense by being able to block as a fullback or on the line as a TE. I think he could be a little wrinkle by him self.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 02, 2015 at 07:13 am

I am looking forward to seeing Ripkowski play. He is a beast. That being said Kuhn had his best year lead blocking last year. I think they will end up keeping both FB's on the roster this year. Kuhn will likely get most of the playing time, but Ripkowski could come in handy in goal line and short yardage situations.
But your right, he could add a wrinkle to the offense with 2 FB's blocking. And with Lacy following, that makes for some great old fashioned power running.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 02, 2015 at 02:34 pm

Ripkowski is the kind of guy that can move a defender completely out of the hole, and/or create the hole. Kuhn no longer really does that. Kuhn gets in the way (or develops a stalemate) or walls off a defender. That isn't to say that Ripkowski will be better than Kuhn overall, including pass pro and receiving. That should be a good battle. Not in favor of keeping 2 FBs, though. Kuhn with Rip on the PS, or just Rip with Kuhn cut. The reason is numbers: the cuts should be brutal to make this year.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 02, 2015 at 02:44 pm

Agreed. Going to be hard to tie up roster space with 2 FBs, even harder to cut. Expect lots of hand wringing and final day decisions.

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Salvatore Ioppolo's picture

July 03, 2015 at 02:15 am

I would also love the backshoulder pass to work again. Last year there were far too many miscommunications between Rodgers and the receivers.

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