Passing Chronicles: Jones TD (aka, H Choice Buffalo)

While the rest of the football world focuses on the draft, this space is going to ignore it completely. Every offseason I try to think of fun ways to look back on the previous Packers season and look at it through a slightly different lens than we can during the season. Last season we did a deep dive on what worked for the Packers by down/distance/situation and built a call sheet. It was remarkably fun and I learned a lot, but it took a lot of time and energy and those things are in short supply right now.

So instead of that wide look, we’re going for a more focused approach. Every week we’re going to be diving into one play from a game from the 2023 season and trying to get into as many details about it as we can. I thought it would be an interesting way to revisit some memorable moments from the season while also learning a little more about the game we all love.

We’re going to try to dig up the actual playcalls, route names and options, line protection, etc. I’m pretty excited about it, so let’s get to it.

We’re kicking things off with a fun one: a 35 yard touchdown from Aaron Jones in Week 1. The Packers were facing 4th & 3 at the Bears 35 yard line, up by a score of 17-6. This was the score that really put the game out of reach. Kudos to Matt LaFleur for being aggressive in this situation, which is something he has been doing since taking over in Green Bay (he was 8th in the Aggressiveness Index in 2024, per FTN Fantasy).

The call itself was Gun Trio RT Open 2 Scat H Choice Buffalo

All calls in his offense are structured to hold the following information, in this order:

  1. Motion/Shift
  2. Formation & Strength
  3. Formation Variation
  4. Motion
  5. Run Concept or Pass Pro
  6. Pass Concept

From there you have the Snap Count, but I’m not adding that here. There’s no motion on this call, so this makes for a slightly shorter call than you would have with a motion or shift involved. In this game, 75% of the Packers plays were run with either a motion or shift, so we’re rolling with one of the 25% that didn’t. 

Here’s a diagram of how this playcall maps out, with my handwriting that I tried very hard to clean up (get used to that during this series, by the way):

Formation: Gun Trio RT

This is a 1 back, 3x1 formation, with the back opposite the strength (the strength being the right side, as indicated by the “RT”). The base call has the TE (Y) in-line and on the line to the strength, with the other two wide receivers off the line and spread out.

Formation Variation: Open

Open is an adjustment call for the Y, and calls for him to be split 5 yards out from the OT.

Pass Pro: 2 Scat

This is a 5 man protection with an RB in the backfield, but without the running back having a responsibility in the pass pro. In Scat protection, the RB is immediately releasing to his route. Because of this protection, there are a couple built-in hot reads on this play, which we’ll see in a minute. 

Scat calls for the offensive line to block “4 down to the 2 widest,” which means they read the side with the two widest on-the-line defenders for the opponent and slide 4 men that way, leaving the backside lineman to take the wide rusher to his side.

Pass Concept: H Choice Buffalo

This calls for the Buffalo concept (a full-field concept consisting of the Pick Curl, Now Slant, Thru and Comeback) to be paired with a Choice route from the RB out of the backfield.  

(As I will be doing all series, I used Coach Dan Casey’s Play Caller’s Club Field Diagram Notebook as my template. Dan does great work and I’ve had a ton of fun doodling in this book. Check out his website here.)

The RB (H) is running a Choice route, pushing vertically to a depth of 2-4 yards then breaking either in or out, depending on the defender's leverage. 

The backside X receiver is running a deep comeback route, which converts to a go route vs. Cloud coverage. You’ll see a “MOR” notation at the bottom. That stands for “Mandatory Outside Release”. So, no matter how the cornerback is shading him, that receiver’s job is to release outside.

The Y is running a Thru route: a deep crosser against MFC (Middle Field Closed) or a post against MFO (Middle Field Open). Basically, if the defense has a single high safety, the TE will run across his face. If the defense has two high safeties, the TE will split them.

The F is running a Curl Pick route, which works as a way to create a natural rub for Z on the Now slant. He can take an outside or inside release, as long as he ends up in the same spot.

The Hots are the RB (H) and the Z. The Z is running a Now slant regardless, which works as a hot. If there’s a blitz, the RB will break off the choice route to run a flat at 1 yard.

That’s a lot of words. How does that look on the field? Let’s start where the playcall does: with the protection. As a reminder, the 2(00) Scat protection blocks 4 down to the 2 widest defenders.

The two widest defenders are on the right side, so the 4 linemen slide to that side while David Bakhtiari [69] blocks out on the left.

For the Pass Concept itself, we see Aaron Jones [33] running a choice route out of the backfield. As he gets to the break point, the defender is playing outside, so Jones breaks inside on the route and finds a wide open middle of the field (aided by Luke Musgrave [88] on the Thru route and the linebacker clearing the middle to crash on the Now slant). 

Jordan Love [10] makes a nice read and puts the ball out in front of Jones, allowing for a nice catch-and-run opportunity for Jones. No one caught him and it goes for 6.

Hope you enjoyed this kind of in-depth look. Just due to the nature of what we’re doing here, there will likely be a tendency to get a bit lost in the muck of terminology at times, so I’m going to do my best to translate what I can into a language that makes a little more sense. I’m still trying to find the best way to go about doing this series, but I’m sure we’ll all settle in. After all, it’s the offseason. What else are we gonna do?

Albums listened to: Waxahatchee - Tigers Blood; The Gaslight Anthem - History Books: Short Stories; Dead Man’s Bones - Dead Man’s Bones; Middle Kids - Faith Crisis Pt. 1, Mike Knott - Life of David




Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].


7 points

Comments (9)

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pantz_bURp's picture

March 27, 2024 at 04:05 pm

Thanks Dusty! You are a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate the effort you put in to make this available to us.

A lil' fun prize is always the music you choose at the end. I recently can't get out of my craniuman an oldy but a goody...Babys Got Her Blue Jeans On by Mel McDaniel. Damn, it is a catchy tune for my simple mind.



3 points
PeteK's picture

March 27, 2024 at 04:26 pm

Just read an article about the Cheat play that started in Miami.

2 points
DustyEvely's picture

March 31, 2024 at 09:23 pm

Jourdan Rodrigue does some amazing work. She did the Playcallers podcast series for The Athletic last year that was tremendous.

2 points
T7Steve's picture

March 28, 2024 at 07:56 am

Thanks Dusty, good to have you back!

This one play dissection is a great idea. I thought I knew all about football till you started proving I know nothing.

You going to do anything with John Kuhn in the offseason too?

2 points
DustyEvely's picture

March 31, 2024 at 09:25 pm

Nothing with Kuhn this offseason, unfortunately. He's got a lot on his plate and my schedule is kind of all over the place, so we'll just take the offseason off.

1 points
Spock's picture

March 28, 2024 at 10:00 am

Dusty, always appreciate your in-depth knowledge on these plays. The one thing about this NOT being a fun play to watch is where A. Jones grabs his hamstring just as he goes over the goal line. :(

2 points
keelert's picture

March 28, 2024 at 10:52 am

Thanks for going into the details. It gives me an even greater appreciation of what the offense has to do nowadays to be successful.

2 points
jont's picture

March 28, 2024 at 04:09 pm

excellent essay

1 points
GB@Germany's picture

March 29, 2024 at 11:33 am

Keep going. Second only to your sessions with Kuuuuhn

1 points