The Passing Chronicles: 2022 Week 1

Dusty takes a look at 3 plays from the Packers week 1 loss to the Vikings

First week of NFL football is in the books! You hyped? Man, I'm hyped. So great to kick back and break down this great Packers game and...

/touches earpiece

I am now hearing that the Packers lost to the Vikings this week, and it was not the most graceful lost. I also heard that some idiots were way off in their predictions. Like this guy.

Anyway, as with all weeks, there's always something interesting to look at. It's always a bit tough to get back into my weekly routine in week 1. Combine that with a lackluster performance and there just aren't a ton of plays I tagged to look at today. Some of that is due to the game situation as well: when you're losing by a lot, you change the way you run the passing offense and it doesn't resemble much of what you actually wanted to run. That means more 4 Verts in the second half than they would prefer. 

So, today, we're going to look at 3 plays. Two of them bad - although with interesting things to look at - and one good. We'll end with the good, because I want you to come back next week.

You ready? Too bad, because we're rolling, anyway.

Play 1: 1st & 10, 9:17 remaining in the 1st quarter

We're gonna just rip the band-aid off immediately. This is the Packers first offensive snap of the game, and they were looking to take a shot. There's not really much here in the way of scheming anything up. This is just putting two speedy receivers on the outside and saying, "Run fast." Not a winning strategy for an entire game, but if you're looking to highlight some speed early, there are worse ways to go about it.

The Packers come out in 12 personnel, with Sammy Watkins [11] and Christian Watson [9] as their receivers, both isolated on opposite sides of the field. The Vikings are showing a two-high Quarters shell pre-snap. 

At the snap, Aaron Rodgers [12] looks to Watkins on the left, but he's really reading the backside safety (Camryn Bynum [24]). Instead of dropping back into a deep coverage, Bynum shuffles to the line. That gives Rodgers a piece of information during the dropback: he's likely not looking at straight Quarters coverage. As Rodgers hits the top of his drop, he moves his eyes over to the playside safety, who is in the process of rotating back to the post. That means there's no safety help for the speedy Watson, so Rodgers loads and fires.

It's a really nice route from Watson. He bends slightly to the post to flip his defender to the inside, then steps back out and explodes down the field. He does everything he needs to do, right up until the most important part.

I love that they opened with this. They went big on the first play, and opted to show off their shiny new toy. I hope we see more of this going forward...with a different ending, of course.

Play 2: 3rd & 8, 2:44 remaining in the 1st quarter

This is the sack from Za'Darius Smith [55], so buckle up. Yes, the result was bad, but I really like this concept. The Vikings have a lot of bodies on the line, with only one defender playing over the bunch. They're looking for someone to drop off the line, but they're not sure who it will be until the ball is snapped. 

Packers are in 11 personnel, with a bunch to the left involving 2 of the 3 wide receivers. Randall Cobb [18] is the outside man, Christian Watson [9] is the middle and Robert Tonyan [85] is the inside man. 

Watson is running a clear-out route, Tonyan is running a road-paving route and Cobb is running a drag underneath. The idea is to create commotion at the release point, then have Cobb emerge from the chaos. New. Unbroken. Shiny and chrome.

At the snap, the end man on the line of scrimmage (EMOL) drops back into coverage and immediately engages with Tonyan. Tonyan is more than happy to oblige, which gives Cobb a nice, easy release. 

Eric Kendricks [54] is lurking in the middle, so Rodgers can't let this ball rip as soon as Cobb emerges. He has to check the responsibilities of Kendricks. Kendricks ends up picking up Aaron Jones [33] out of the backfield, releasing through the line and to the left. 

With Romeo Doubs [87] helping clear the right, that leaves an ocean of room for Cobb. And Rodgers sees him. It looks great. But oh wait, what's that going on with Jake Hanson [67]? He's getting bull-rushed into oblivion you say?

If Hanson is able to muscle Smith a little to the inside, Rodgers could have stepped right and delivered a strike to Cobb on the drag. Alas, that doesn't happen. Really beautiful until it wasn't.

Play 3: 1st & 10, 14:11 remaining in the 2nd quarter

Like I said, we'll end on a fun one. I'm not a monster.

One of the concepts the Packers have loved over the years is a beauty that goes by the name of All Go HB Seam. The problem with it is the same thing that becomes a problem for all beautiful concepts: eventually defenses figured out how to take it away. Such buzzkills. The Packers still found scattered success with it in 2021 (it averaged 7.6 YPA for them), but the explosive plays just weren't there. Defenses started throwing an umbrella over the concept side, so most of the yardage ended up coming from a backside route.

The concept itself is designed to flood one side of the field with three vertical routes: a crossing route from the inside, a vertical route on the outside and a seam route that splits those routes and typically comes from the backfield.

With the defense sitting over the deep routes, it seems as though the Packers are looking for different ways to attack defenses with this look. This play gives us a good look at that. Two of the routes are in-tact: Sammy Watkins [11] is running the crosser/bender from the right, while Jones runs the outside vertical route off jet motion. That leaves the seam route, which would typically be run from AJ Dillon [28] in the backfield. But they don't release him.

They show a power run look up front, with Hanson pulling across the formation and leading the way. The rest of the line is looking to downblock, including Tonyan as the in-line TE on the run side. The idea on the run would be to wall the defense off to the inside, then have Hanson as the pulling guard kick out to the run side.

All of that action triggers a reaction from the linebackers. Tonyan simply sifts his way through the flotsam and jetsam and finds the green.

With the defense falling back over the All Go side, there's a lot of room on the boundary for Tonyan to work with. He ends up with a cool 23 yards.

I got a little excited and did a video on this play, and why I loved it so much. So if you want some more drawings and feel like listening to me talk for a few minutes, have at it.


Thanks for joining me! Feels good to be back, even if the game itself didn't go quite as expected. For my part, I really enjoyed seeing some of the new wrinkles the Packers put into some of their core concepts this week. All offseason I've been pondering what the offense could look like. And, while it was certainly ugly at times, I like the approach. It gives me a nice sense of optimism going forward.


Albums listened to: Anathallo - Hymns; Brian Fallon - Night Divine;The Andrews Sisters - The Magic of the Andrews Sisters; The Innocence Mission - Christ is My Hope

-------------------------------

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].

6 points

Comments (16)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
splitpea1's picture

September 14, 2022 at 04:08 pm

Play 1: The problem is the Packers only attempted to get the ball to the shiny new toy four times (three when it actually mattered) throughout the rest of the game. Punishment or neglect? Get this fixed because the offense is going to need all the juice it can get going forward.

Play 2: Maybe it wouldn't have mattered because of the protection, but Doubs racing down the sideline also looked like a good option. The safety might have been a little too close for comfort, I don't know.

1 points
1
0
Ritzy's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:01 pm

I

0 points
0
0
Ritzy's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:05 pm

It just goes to show you how we need better offensive line play. If it doesn't improve, the Packers are in for a rough season.

1 points
1
0
Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:56 pm

Nothing works on offense if you don't get guys blocked.

For the time being, we're playing backups. We only kept like 10 OL, three of our top 5 are out with injury, and we're down to the bottom of the order and we're calling up practice squad guys in case somebody gets hurt during the game. Yes, Caleb Jones could be protecting Rodgers' blindside this weekend if Nijman gets hurt.

Unfortunately, I've had to play games with a bad line and it really limits what you can do, and if LaFleur is smart, we're going to try to protect Rodgers better than we did last week.

1 points
1
0
LLCHESTY's picture

September 15, 2022 at 12:07 am

Runyan is the 3rd best lineman? 🤣

1 points
1
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 15, 2022 at 06:03 am

Bakh, Jenkins, then Runyan is the order I'd use. If Bakh and Jenkins are out, it would be Nijman, Runyan, and hmmm, probably it does not matter since they are all below average. I suppose Myers by a nose over Newman as a RG.

0 points
0
0
LLCHESTY's picture

September 15, 2022 at 11:34 pm

I'm not down on Runyan but I don't think he's good enough that some competition is out of the question. I think it's pretty clear Nijman is the 3rd best OL but finding a spot for him to play could take some time.

One of the writers got me hyped on Myers coming out of camp by saying he looked so much better in training camp and was going to make a big jump in his 2nd year. Didn't happen on Sunday but Dalvin Tomlinson is a really good big DT. I do think Myers has more upside than Runyan but unfortunately not as much upside as Creed.

0 points
0
0
JohnnyLogan's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:27 pm

Just rewatched the game. Jake Hanson still hasn't blocked anyone. He was pushed back, tossed aside, taken to his knees... one weak link like that can ruin an entire offense. Same as last year in the championship game by not playing Yosh. Hard to understand how the coaches didn't see how bad Hanson was even after only a series or two. If he starts this week it will be totally baffling... but not surprising. LaFleur just doesn't hold players accountable.

Oh, and btw, the equivalent on defense, as far as weak link, was Reed. He was shoved aside on a lot of Cook's runs. Stokes may have visibly been the worst player on D, but Reed quietly was just as bad.

On a good note, Walker looked really impressive despite a few mistakes, and Wyatt had a couple of good plays. I think he'll replace Reed by mid-year. He showed good hustle and speed. Looks a little like Gary, hope he turns out as well.

2 points
2
0
Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:49 pm

Ok, so what's your starting lineup on Sunday without Hanson?

Nijman, Rhyan, Myers, Newman, Tom? You think that's a stronger group? I guess we'll probably see. We only have a finite number of guys. What happens if somebody gets hurt during the game?

The offense had a bad showing last week, and Hanson was part of that. He was our weakest offensive lineman. But he was healthy enough to line up, which Bakhtiari, Jenkins, and then Runyan weren't. In a perfect world, he'd be on the bench. We're not in a perfect world.. And we're not going to wave a magic wand and make a guy appear who's going to be an instant improvement on Hanson.

For this week, I'd be working with Hanson to make him a better player. I think we're probably going to have to start him at RG again, with Tom at LG and Newman shifted over to RT. I don't see clearly better options, unless we can play Rhyan at LG and let Tom play RT and Newman play RG.

0 points
0
0
LLCHESTY's picture

September 15, 2022 at 12:22 am

You're so foolish I curse myself for arguing with you in the first place. Why would they put Rhyan at LG when he didn't play there all preseason? If Runyan can't go it would be Nijman Tom, Myers, Hanson and Newman. If Hanson is getting trucked again you don't wait til the end of the game to make a change. I'd go with Walker personally and move Newman to G. In any case I'd make sure they understand any blown responsibilities will not be tolerated.

It doesn't matter, I think Jenkins plays this week.

2 points
2
0
pacman's picture

September 14, 2022 at 10:32 pm

No, not surprising at all that Packers don't adjust to the obvious until it's too late. That's MLF's calling card.

1 points
1
0
LLCHESTY's picture

September 15, 2022 at 12:14 am

Steno owned up to that miscalculation in the playoff game. It was up to LaFluer to agree or disagree with his assessment. Mistakes were made.

Did you mean to compare Enagbare to Gary? Hard to compare a DT to an OLB.

0 points
0
0
PatrickGB's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:33 pm

Nice job as always. I can learn as much from what doesn’t work as I can from stuff that works. I understand the game better after looking at your stuff.

0 points
0
0
Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2022 at 06:39 pm

Dusty, I like these opportunities to look at the plays . If I could make a suggestion, it might be nice to have some corresponding data on protection, because that's certainly as big of a part of the passing game as the formations and patterns. I'm under the impression that there were about 20 times that Rodgers got rid of the rock without pressure, but there were also about 20 times that he was sacked, hit, or hurried.

1 points
2
1
pacman's picture

September 14, 2022 at 10:43 pm

Looking at the first throw, AR throws the ball before Watson is even past his man and it was on the money. So at least we know AR can still make those throws.
Watkins might never get chance to be that open again as the safeties will now shade towards him. Let him go deep every play and take 2 defenders with him. That should open plenty of space for others. Lewis was wide open for the outlet pass.

0 points
0
0
LLCHESTY's picture

September 15, 2022 at 12:31 am

"Watkins might never get chance to be that open again as the safeties will now shade towards him. "

That's the whole idea! They didn't miss MVS against the 49ers because he would catch 3 long TDs, they missed him because he was the only WR that could stretch the field. Leatherhead doesn't think explosive plays mean much but they do, so much so that the very THOUGHT of them changes DC schemes. MVS didn't have to catch a ball to influence the outcomes of games. Watson needs to catch a couple long ones to garner the same attention but the principal is the same.

0 points
0
0