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X's & O's: Offensive Play Design & Situational Football

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X's & O's: Offensive Play Design & Situational Football

Regular Cheesehead TV reader (and all-too-infrequent commenter) "Paul Ott Carruth", a former player and coach who wishes to remain anonymous, breaks down different aspects of the Packers from an X's and O's standpoint. Today he takes a look at some of the issues surrounding the offense and its failings against the Giants this past Sunday night. 

Situational football is an important aspect of the game. Philosophies are like…..well you know. Every coach has one. Some have the same and others go a different route. In the end, I appreciate the Herm Edwards philosophy….”you play to win the game……Hello!” McCarthy and Co. didn’t appear to take this approach. Yes, I understand McCarthy likes the vertical passing game. I get it.

However, sometimes your philosophy needs to be one of matriculating the ball down the field as Hank Stram used to say. Bill Walsh would attack all areas of the field, width wise and length wise. He would take his shots of course. He loved to go for the endzone when he got to the opponent’s 25 yard line because the field would be compressed at that point and the defense was sure to pull out their blitzes, leaving single coverage on the outside. But philosophies aside, you play to win the game and that means being judicious with the ball so your team can keep possession. I’ve taken the liberty to assess 4 plays in the game. Two show poor play design for the situation. The other two show how a 3 step drop can result in a 10-15 yard gain. Let’s begin.

At first glance this looks like a 3-4 defense (3 DL & 4 LB). By alignment it may look like it is. In fact, it is not. Take a closer look. The player circled in yellow is Justin Tuck. The other three players in their 3 point stances are defensive linemen. The Giants have their 4 defensive linemen in the game. Additionally, there are not 4 linebackers. There aren’t even 3 or 2. The lone linebacker in the game is circled in blue. The defenders in the red circles are the two deep safeties. The remaining defenders the Giants have in this situation are corners and safeties. The Giants are in Dime personnel (6 DBs). The player circled in orange is indeed a safety.

The Packers are in 11 personnel (1 Back, 1 TE). Finley is aligned as the TE to the right of the formation with 2 receivers to his right. To the left off of the picture is a lone receiver. This is a trips formation commonly known “Trey.” The game is tied at 7 and the Packers need 3 yards for a first down.


As Rodgers receives the snap we can see the Packers are in a 6 Man protection (5 OL plus Kuhn). The two deep safeties (in red) gain width and depth off of the hashes. The linebacker (in blue) opens his hips towards the 3rd receiver (Finley). Justin Tuck jams Finley as he tries to release up field. The safety (in orange) opens to the single receiver side with his eyes on Kuhn. Should Kuhn release, he would be responsible for man coverage on Kuhn. Immediately you can see that this is 2 Man coverage. Rodgers is looking “down the pipe” at that linebacker to see his drop.

Tuck has done a nice job of disrupting Finley’s release. Pay particular attention to the depth of the defenders. The safeties (in red) are 15 & 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. The linebacker in the hole is almost 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. The green line represents the line to gain (1st down). The protection is solid. Notice Kuhn on his double with Newhouse to the left in the picture.

Rodgers now comes off to the right to see if he can hit Cobb who has run a “whip” route. Cobb is covered pretty well as he makes his break to the outside. You can see Kuhn releasing out after his chip with Newhouse. Again, the protection isn’t the issue. Rodgers has time and a clean pocket. Notice Tuck? After jamming Finley he inserts himself in to the rush late. You can see Saturday leaving EDS to pick up Tuck.

No longer does Rodgers have a clean pocket. Saturday does a horrible job of picking up Tuck, forcing Rodgers to flush to his left. Again, notice the line to gain. Do you notice anything else? More on that in a minute.

Rodgers is now trying to escape to his left. He could take a chance and throw it to Kuhn but he tries to rely on his athleticism to buy some more time and possibly run for it. Ultimately he gets tripped up by Canty and the Packers attempt the 55 yd. field goal which Crosby promptly misses. Would Kuhn have picked up the first down had Rodgers thrown it? Who knows. At this point in the play progression it really doesn’t matter. The problems with this play occurred in the heads of McCarthy and/or Rodgers.

In slide number 5 I asked if you noticed anything. Do you see it now? Look at the open area in the short middle of the field between the hashes. My major complaint with McCarthy has always been his proclivity to want to push the ball down field and not take what the defense is giving him. The Giants are telling the Packers to take the first down. The red dot represents where Finley was initially aligned. A simple 5 yard route to the middle (Hank route in WCO lexicon) of the field (red line) would have picked up a first down and kept a drive in Giants territory going with the score tied at 7. Simple pitch and catch. The only defender Rodgers and Finley would have had to worry about was the backside shallow safety checking on Kuhn. This is where Finley would have to sit hard and not drift to give Rodgers a clean window.

Instead we see Finley 15 yards down field with a linebacker giving him a cushion of 5 yards. The other receivers were canceled so Rodgers was left to scramble to buy time. In short, this play took too long to develop. This miscue was not on the offensive line. It was in the play design and play call for that situation. Why the Packers insist on throwing in to the teeth of 2 Man time and time again is beyond me.

The ball is on the Packer 39 yard line. Again we have a Trey formation with Finley now in a flexed alignment. The Giants are once again in Dime personnel and the coverage is 2 Man. Notice the red lines? Rodgers is 5 yards from the ball. He will be much further than that after he receives the snap.

Rodgers ends up taking a 5 step drop from the shotgun. This is the equivalent of a 7 step drop from under center. The red line at the bottom of the screen shows where his back foot hit at the top of his drop. In the picture Rodgers has taken the first of his two hitch steps to step back up in to the pocket. The protection broke down as Newhouse whiffed on the block. Now, even if the block is made, Rodgers will either have to scramble or hit Kuhn on the checkdown.

My issue with the play is the design and decision to call it in this situation. The Packers had 1st and 10 with 1:24 to go in the 2nd quarter. They were down 24-10. Another key fact is that they had 2 timeouts. But yet again, McCarthy and Rodgers insist on taking a shot down the field and throw in to the teeth of the coverage. It just doesn’t make any sense ladies and gentlemen. A simple 3 step drop from the gun to hit Kuhn on the checkdown might have avoided this situation. This is Mike Martz style passing. …hold the ball and hope something develops. I just don’t understand this.

The Packers are in a Trey left formation with Finley aligned in a flex position and Cobb to his left. The Giants are in dime personnel and 2 Man. The ball is on the 24 with 1:45 on the clock. It is 2nd & 10 with the Packers down 24-10 in the 2nd quarter.

Rodgers takes 1 quick step and a balance step and fires the ball to Cobb who has run a 5 yard “Stick” route along with Finley.

You can see Cobb has caught the ball and has room to run up field. He gains an additional 10 yards in RAC, making this a 15 yard gain. Imagine that ladies and gentlemen. …15 yards from a simple 3 step drop 5 yard stick route. This is the essence of the West Coast offense. The fact Cobb was off the line of scrimmage did not enable the Giant defender to jam him and instead the defender had to sink. The defender guessed Rodgers would through the stick to Finley and this left Cobb with plenty of space. This is a simple but as you can see, effective read.

The Packers are initially aligned in a 2 x 2 formation. However, Cobb (in yellow) motions to the left to make this, once again, a Trey formation.

At the snap, Cobb runs a shallow cross under Finley who is, you guessed it, running vertical up the seam. Here you can see Cobb just as he’s about to break underneath Finley.

TJ Lang breaks down in his protection and Rodgers is able to avoid JPP and move to his right. You can see Cobb (in yellow) moving across the field at the 27 yard line. The ball was snapped from the 32. This is a simple 5 yard shallow cross.

Cobb is now picked up by Chase Blackburn on the shallow. Can you say “mismatch?”

Cobb has caught the ball and turns up field for an additional 6, giving the Packers another 1st down. Ultimately, the Packers kick the field goal on this drive to score 10.

Closing Analysis

Did the OL play poorly? Yes. Was this all on the OL? Not for even a second. The two bad plays I showed you were not solely the fault of the OL. The play design and call doomed the team from the start. Should we be surprised? I say no. McCarthy and/or Rodgers just seem to believe they can force the ball deep against anyone regardless of coverage. The Giants, 49ers, Bears, and Lions have proven they can’t, yet they insist on doing it. Packer fans had better hope that McCarthy and Co. are just testing things out in the regular season and will call a more effective game in the playoffs because if things don’t change the Packers will be “one and done” in the post season should they face a team that plays Cover 2 or 2 Man.

What’s even more baffling is the fact that, on occasion, McCarthy and Rodgers attacked the short to intermediate zones and let their play makers make yards after catch in space. So is it really a question that they don’t know how to attack this coverage or is it pure stubbornness and holding on to your philosophy come hell and high water? They say patience is a virtue. Somebody had better tell that to the Packer offense and tell them fast. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words and the film doesn’t lie.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (58) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

cow42's picture

pisses me straight the hell off.
start adjusting your shit.

4 straight games throwing for less than 300?
what the hell is that?

only 4 300 yard passing games all season?

whatever the hell it is they're doing... IT'S NOT F'N WORKING!

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture


T's picture

Two words, Joe Philbin. Miami doesn't have the personnel to play his style, but the Packers did.

Derek's picture

Wow, awesome breakdown POC. This is exactly what all of us are wondering but you articulate it much better. Time to fess up MM, your offense is not unstoppable.

Tommyboy's picture

Wow - this was a GREAT read. Thank you. I love this stuff.

As a fan, I don't pick up on as much as you, but I was picking up on the same themes you mentioned. Once we hit Nelson for that TD, I seriously thought we had a GREAT setup offensively. We started the game running the ball at least okay, which is better than I anticipated. Then, we had a couple little dinks and dunks, then Nelson over the top. I thought the balance was great and we could promptly return to running and small passes and wait for the big plays to open up. But as soon as we went down 14-7, it seemed like we were in full panic, 2-minute style, whip-it-out and I'll show you how big mine is mode. I get the sense that McCarthy wished he could have this one back. I'm not sure they'd win even with another opportunity, but offensively, he could at least have stuck with a legitimate game plan that could give them a shot.

Dom Capers defense....that was just ugly.

Kev's picture

That breakdown was incredible,as a hardcore football fan I really appreciate that. If MM & Rodgers dont check thier ego. This team wont go very far.

WisconsInExile's picture

I see you haven't factored "pad level" into this analysis, nor any mention of "tempo," "energy" or "playing physical." So, now I'm just confused.

KazooPackFan's picture


murphy's picture

We'll get that cleaned up.

WisconsInExile's picture

We just need to execute better.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

"or is it pure stubbornness and holding on to your philosophy come hell and high water?"

That's exactly what it is, and it's god damn infuriating. Adapt, or the league will pass you bye. It's happened many times before, would be a shame if it happened to this team.


The poster formerly known as Bearmeat's picture

You know, the thing is that MM/AR adjusted in 2010.

With Matt Flynn at QB against NE.

They saw how well it worked with inferior talent at QB, and they kept that exact offensive attack going straight through the Super Bowl.


....ok... rant... over..

fubared's picture

MM had a semblance of running game.
To me, and I accused MM or not knowing talent when I was dead wrong.
Now I think he clearly knows what he has, zero running game and zero pass protection.
In his mind he must be hoping the long ball will save him. Yes it did work, for one stinking play in the Giants game. But hey it worked for 7, he needed another 28 that way.

The poster formerly known as Bearmeat's picture

The ONLY way to combat bad line play is the quick rhythm passing game and running the ball - even if it's ineffective.

Hey, the Bears have been doing that for years.

Chad Lundberg's picture

Holy cow and a half!??? Someone who actually agrees with me!!! Thank you for posting this, now everyone will actually believe me!!!

Point Packer's picture

MM is coaching like shit this year. Shave the butt ugly mustache or something.

Chris's picture

Coaching is not the problem, the problem is McCarthy's play calling.
Seems to me that Philbin was the voice of reason which sometimes got to McCarthy ater bad games. Now he is gone, and probably noone stands up to McCarthy and shows him how bad his playcalling is this season.
A 14 year boy at Madden does a better job.

jack in jersey city's picture

thanks for posting this POC! it's sometimes tough to catch all of this while watching the games in real time and this makes it much easier to see and diagnose

Turophile's picture

That first play demonstrates what many have said this season. Cover 2 gives opportunities in the middle of the field to TEs and WRs willing to go over the middle.

As you say, take what you are given, and don't try to ram a square peg in a round hole.

This is a beautifully illustrated piece, thanks for putting it together in such an enlightening way. it makes me feel just a bit smarter today !!

Jamie's picture

"I say no. McCarthy and/or Rodgers just seem to believe they can force the ball deep against anyone regardless of coverage."

I think this is a great point that speaks to the general play of Aaron Rodgers this season as well as the playcalling of McCarthy.

I'll preface this by saying that I think Rodgers is easily the best QB and the league and that if you were to swap Rodgers with any of the "elite" QBs like Brady, Manning, and Ryan, he'd flourish while the others would falter.

With that being said, I've gotten the feeling that Aaron has forced a ton of his throws this season in comparison to past seasons and it's particularly reflected in the way he's been intercepted this season. He seems to be locked into his initial primary targets when making his reads regardless of the coverage, and in turn, usually neglects either a simple checkdown, or JMike on the intermediates. Most of his interceptions have looked very similar, usually with Randall Cobb being the intended receiver, such as in the game against the Giants, or Lion.

When Aaron Rodgers is at his absolute best it's incredible. For me, it's almost as if he has some sort of beacon device that goes off and boom, he finds the open receiver after surveying the field. You got that feeling in the Houston and St. Louis games, but otherwise it seems far more forced.

paxbak's picture

It is amazing how bad we are on 3rd and short this year. Why we won't use the 1, 2, 3, throw tempo is beyond me. When it is 3rd and 2, I know we are probably not going to make it.

With ARodg at QB and the weapons he has (including his legs), 3rd and 1 - 4 should be automatic. I don't get it... he holds on to the ball every time and nothing happens. It's like running into a wall over and over again when all you have to do is open the door next to that spot.

fubared's picture

To me the KC game changed everything. They figured out Rogers was carving up single man defenses. They went to double man coverage and that was the end of the Packers domination in passing.
The Giants just copied KC and the rest was history.

Hands's picture

Great article on attacking the defense. Can this be forwarded to MM?

RC Packer Fan's picture

I don't know what it is. Stubornness? Not willing to admit they can't do something? Trying to force 'their' way onto others.

Either way its not working.

I just don't get it. This has been the problem all season long. Great Job Aaron because this shows all of us the proof we needed to see that the Offense has been lacking.

Everyone wants to rip on the o-line, or rodgers for taking to long to set up plays. But alot of blame needs to fall on the play caller.

When you are playing a team with a great pass rush you have to adjust your offense to neutralize that pass rush. In other words you have to run shorter passing routes, keep extra people in to block, and allow some check downs.

To me the goal should be to get 5 yards every play. that can easily be done by dump offs, swing passes, screens and the all but forgotten SLANT pass.

When you have the cover 2 and the safety's are 20 yards downfield. there should be room underneath to work. There is no reason to run 3-4 receivers on 15-20 yard routes. 1-2 tops on every play.

I just am tired of seeing Rodgers holding the ball basically waiting to get sacked on plays cuz there are no receivers open downfield. If what you are doing isn't working, something needs to change.

Right now to me the play calling needs to change.

CSS's picture

Really thorough piece, POC. I can get the gist of philosophy and general game plan when watching a game live, but there's no way to get actual alignments with points of reference like this to understand specifically why there was a failure with personnel, down-and-distance, alignment or just general attack.

On a side note, it will pretty damn funny to watch some reaction to the article where only days ago the execution wasn't there because:

'players suck, coaches suck, front office sucks' followed by why don't dey um, run more of them there slants and screens, it always worked in 1994!'

Imagine dialogue where you first understand and then criticize?

Really, really great stuff, Paul. Thank you.

cow42's picture

just because the plan sucked doesn't mean some of the players/position groups don't suck.

the oline sucks.
no way around it.
the players are bad.

the running backs suck.
no way around it.
they are average to below average players.

packeraaron's picture

<em>just because the plan sucked doesn’t mean some of the players/position groups don’t suck.</em>

Also: Just because you say something "sucks" doesn't mean it does.

cow42's picture

so i'm wrong?

CSS's picture

Way to miss the entire point of the last paragraph. I would expect nothing more, but no you're more than capable of delivering much, much less.

packsmack25's picture

Pretty frustrating that the entire Packers blogosphere and their followers can understand this, but MM cannot, or at least refuses to adjust.

Derek's picture


fubared's picture

Brilliant. Thanks for the analysis. You basically described two of my sentiments about this team. First, I think McCarthy is a stubborn person who in his mind is convinced something will work as in, I'm smarted than the rest and I
ll prove it.
I live in Minny so I have to watch the Vikes each week. Their game plan, year in year out is simple. Play for first downs by using, just like you said, the middle of the field. Keep moving down field one first down at a time. You eventually wear out the other defense and give yours plenty of rest on the field.
The Vikes first down you to death with short passes to the tight ends. Very few lateral plays of thirty forty yards. Proof in their pudding is they are in the thick of the playoff race and could be a spoiler yet. From a team that was 3-13 last year.
I am also a person of observation. Here's one. Whenever Rogers throws an interception, his game goes to hell for the rest of the game. He starts to hold on to the ball waiting for the perfect throw and if its not perfect he eats the ball.
He also hates the double coverage because it means he may get intercepted.

Derek's picture

Hopefully Jennings returns at full strength, which should allow more one on one matchups at least. Teams know Cobb is the preferred target and can double him.
Somebody in the media needs to directly ask MM why he doesn't use quick slants or shallow crossing routes in front of dropping LBs in a cover 2. The middle of the field always seems open. Why carry 5 TEs if we don't use them?

ArodMoney's picture

Isn't Cobb open on that first play?

ArodMoney's picture

Also I don't really agree with the analysis of the fumble play. Rodgers saw that it was just a 4 man w/ no blitz. He then had about 2.2 seconds from catching the ball to when he was contacted. If you cant block for 2.2 seconds against a 4 man rush, that's a seriously problem.

I know that it was towards the end of the half, but teams regularly take 7 step drops against a vanilla defense in that situation. That one is on Newhouse IMO.

CSS's picture

That's not the way I read what POC is saying. The reason Rodgers only ended up with 2.2 seconds was due to the call by McCarthy, Rodgers or both. You know the rusher going to try and take Newhouse upfield the worst thing the QB can do is not only start deep in shotgun but then drop even deeper after snap from shotgun. The whole design did Newhouse no favors whatsoever. Those additional 2 steps following the snap from shotgun were the difference between Tuck running himself beyond the play and giving Rodgers a clean pocket or the ability to slide to his left and just giving him a clear lane if Newhouse struggles.

The play call and QB are equally as culpable as Newhouse.

ArodMoney's picture

Actually, I don't think that you "know the rusher is going to try and take Newhouse upfield".

In fact I would say it is the other way around. Newhouse knows he can't let the rusher get upfield because thats where his QB is. Umenyiora made his decision to go upfield when he saw Rodgers dropping and Newhouse didn't stop him.

Again, I wouldn't blame the play call, because Kuhn was there as a checkdown and if you can't go 7 step drop(or 5 step shotgun) against a 4 man rush, you'll never be able to. Rodgers though should have seen the rush and moved up quicker though and he admitted so himself.

CSS's picture

The Giants have tape and watch tendencies, too. Umenyiora didn't need to guess Rodgers would drop even further from shotgun, he watched in on tape from prior games. Umenyiora can't take Newhouse inside, that give Rodgers an unimpeded roll to the left with only backside pressure. You keep rushing QB's in the pocket. His only move was straight up-field.

Completely disagree with you here. That was his only move and the call by Rodgers/McCarthy was awful. Far too deep on his drop, defensive line was able to maintain contain on a potential scramble, Giants could sit in dime.

ArodMoney's picture

I feel like you proved my point. You said his only move was to rush upfield, and Newhouse knows this(and he had help inside), so he should have been able to stop it or at least force him inside.

And first off they were in nickel. Even then, its tough to complete a quick pass with 3 DBs close to the line of scrimmage and 2 LBs in coverage. Usually, receivers open up after more than 2 seconds, but Rodgers wasn't afforded the time or able to scramble.

Your advocating against ever having a deep drop.

CSS's picture

I'm not making any case that Newhouse isn't partially responsible, he is. That being said, his QB and Coach made the worst possible call and placed him in that situation to begin with. Don't put words in my mouth, I'm not arguing against 'never dropping deep'. I am telling you this was awful play calling and execution by the coach and QB at that point in the game. You can't take the equivalent of a 7-9 step drop with a line full of speed rushers and late-developing offensive route concepts while leaving your tackle on an island. It was careless and played into the Giants hands.

Red Hawk 74's picture

Why not run the "old Style" West Coast offense to try and cover up the deficiencies on both sides of the ball? And stop being arrogant about the MM style of offense, do what works.

T's picture

Why do we have a former RB coaching the WR's? Former TE coach instructing Rodgers? And a former QB coaching the RB's?

Why not put Gilbert Brown in charge of the salad bar?

No wonder the Packers offense is offensive.

Evan's picture

Is this a joke?

T's picture
JerseyAl's picture

"But yet again, McCarthy and Rodgers insist on taking a shot down the field and throw in to the teeth of the coverage."

So glad someone much more knowledgeable than I is saying these things. Nothing drive me more especially crazy than throwing deep into coverage on manageable third downs. Just get the first, move the chains and keep the offense on the field.

Thanks for this - great stuff as always...

Jeff's picture

Can someone get McCarthy's phone number for POC?

PackersRS's picture

They're setting up the opposition for the playoffs, where they'll adjust and catch them off guard!

That's what I tell myself.

PadLevel's picture

There may be some truth to that theory. Think about it, Packers went 15-1 last season, and how did it help them in the playoffs? Perhaps MM is deliberately "not taking what the defense gives" and is fine tuning his team for the playoffs? He is a smart coach and Paul's excellent analysis would be something he clearly understands. Regarding NOT using the middle of the field, I wonder if that is also deliberate to minimize injury risk - blindside hits on defenseless receivers are all too common in those plays

SHODAN's picture

Great write-up, especially for someone whose base of football knowledge comes mostly from Madden (e.g. me).

Any chance you've got enough in the tank for a breakdown of just how our defense made Eli Manning, of all people, look like... well, like Peyton Manning?

Mojo's picture

Most of the criticism is focused on MM's playcalling. It appears to me after POC's explanations, the plays that didn't work out, would have, if they were executed better. That is if ARod would have taken the short routes when the windows were open some of those drives would have been extended. And it seems POC is left to wonder why the Pack eschewed almost certain first down conversions, even though there wasn't a time constraint.

He also showed how short passes and YAC resulted in successful plays. So proper execution of the WCO results in good plays. It appears to me it wasn't so much the alignments or playcalling as much as the execution.

Except for the fumble play, it seems to me, the majority of the blame on the bad plays shown here falls on QB1 and not on MM. Or am I missing something?

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

Mojo, I agree that execution is part of it. However, the larger point I'm trying to make is that the play caller, whether it is McCarthy, Clements, or Rodgers, needs to assess the approach for given situations. It is one thing to have a philosophy it is another to have a philosophy that works consistently. The fact is McCarthy likes to push the ball vertical and work outside the hashes. Unfortunately, most of the league has figured out to defend McCarthy. It isn't so much the play selection as it is they are defending against McCarthy/Rodgers philosophy up pushing the ball up the field. Teams are more content to let the Packers drive the ball on them and play the odds that either McCarthy or Rodgers will become impatient and these teams have been largely successful. If you review the first play (3rd &amp; 3), Rodgers was left with no outs. The protection on that play was fine had Finley been running to the short void in the middle of the field instead of the deep middle. When you're banking on your first progression to be open and he isn't, you have to have an out. That's why I'm so impressed with coach Harbaugh in San Francisco. If you study his pass schematic, 9 times out of 10 he will have an automatic hot receiver crossing the face of the quarterback, ready to receive the ball on a blitz or sit down vs. zone. This is why Alex Smith had success. He helped his quarterback. In my opinion, McCarthy and the team would be better served if he helped his quarterback by doing more 5 step drops under center and from the gun instead of 7 step long developing plays. I would like to see him vary the launch point for Rodgers...using more action passes in the form of waggles and sprint passes. It's pretty easy for a defense to get a gauge on the quarterback depth of drop when all he does is drop back time after time. Additionally, this would help his offensive line.
This goes well beyond simply running the ball and throwing quick stuff. It's about adjusting to the talent and situations you have and are facing. I have no problem with the 7 step deep ball game, but when you've given your opponent nothing else to respect, they won't come out of their two high shell. Until you make them pay in the voids underneath and run the ball effectively, they'll sit in two high all day. This is all on the philosophy of McCarthy moving forward. Either he adapts or the Packers will suffer. Plain and simple.

Mojo's picture

Thanks for the clarification POC. The only other question, I would have is; does someone like Finley have the option to sit in the short void, or was he instructed on that play to go long regardless. I always thought that receivers had the option to do one or other depending on how they saw the defense. If so, the failure on that play is more on Finley than MM's play calling, especially considering the down and distance. I thought that what made Chumura so successful was his ability to find empty spaces and sit. So my question is, do Finley and others have discretion on any given play, or are they running what the coach or QB insists on?

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

That is a good question. On this particular play my answer would be maybe. Finley may have had a defined route. But yes, the fact any offense for that matter, does provide for what are called option routes. Typically, the TE when running a vertical route has a middle field read, meaning he looks to see if the middle of the field is open or closed. If open, usually vs. 2 high looks, the TE will split the safeties on posts or skinnys. If closed, usually vs. 3 high looks or the Tampa 2 (deep dropping Mike), the TE will flatten and take an in cut in front of the safety/linebacker. But on this particular play, it's hard to say. If Finley had a middle field read, then it's on him. If not, then it's on McCarthy. Perhaps it would have been easier to not give Finley the choice to read it and just sit him down in the void. After all, the Giants were telegraphing what they were doing defensively.

dawg's picture

Until the O-line is addressed,(off-season) all is null and void.
Thats IF it's addressed!

fubared's picture

We will get to see a good version of the west coast offense on Sunday with Ponder passing over the middle early and often to tight ends, picking up easy first downs.
I hope MM learns something from this. I hope he learns if it works good on grass at lambeau, wait til the Vikes get the Pack on their fast turf the last game of the season.
MM will be able to study the Vikes films all off season that begins after the last game of the season. The Vikes make the playoffs and the Packers go play golf. Not bad for a 3-13 team.

Just shows what happens when you draft quality players and acquire top pass rushers and DB's when they are available.

Mahesh's picture

Peprah's problem is eeltrniy that this year he is replacing Collins. Last year he replaced Burnett and had a pro-bowl safety (Collins) playing with him. This year he is playing next to a guy who is practically still a Rookie (Burnett played his 16th pro game today), and it shows. Why would you expect it wouldn't?But Peprah is still part of a team that has won 12 games in 12 tries this year. He's doing something right, and for all the fandom fear that other teams will find some sort of formula' to use our weakness' on defense to beat the Pack, teams still have to actually *perform* to carry out that formula.' So far no one has succeeded and only 2 teams even came close.

Corporate cheesehead's picture

Hey Mojo, the real issue is the packers Oline has shown it cannot consistently protect Arod against truly physical front sevens, this year and last. The defensive recipe for San Fran, the giants and kc (from last year) is get pressure up front and press the wr's off the line ... The packers Oline simply isnt physical enough to consistently win their matchups against these type of teams especially when mm keeps using deep drops and naked shotguns.

There is no quick fix to the Oline, talent wise. Mm adjusted his play calling in December of the Super Bowl run (ie the emergence of Starks, play action passes with rollouts).

Hopefully he does this December as well ...

Cole's picture

Hopefully McCarthy isn't stupid enough to think his offense will finally work now that Jennings is back.

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"The Bears still suck!"
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