The Passing Chronicles: 2022 Week 5

Dusty takes a look at a few plays from the Packers loss to the Giants in London

That wasn't great, huh? I mean, it was at first, but then it wasn't.

And that's the kind of deep analysis you come here for every week. You're welcome.

As we do every week, let's take a high-level view of the passing offense overall, then dig into a few plays. Let's start with Rodgers' passing chart.

It has a real odd look to it. Once again, Rodgers leaned heavy into throwing behind the line of scrimmage, with those throws accounting for 23.1% of his attempts (per Pro Football Focus). When targeting that area, he was 9/9 for 41 yards (4.6 YPA) and 1 TD. That's mainly fine, but you can't build an offense that way.

The bulk of the attack was from 0-19 yards. Rodgers excelled in that area, going 16/21 (76.2%) for 181 yards (8.6 YPA) and 1 TD. The 20+ yard area is where it gets ugly. Rodgers was 0/5, with some of them not particularly close. Some of those were the result of a receiver getting chucked off course, or a heave late in the play because of some confusion on the regular concept, but 0/5 isn't pretty no matter how you slice it. Explosive plays are harder to come by across the league this year, and we certainly saw that with the Packers this week. You can pepper the short-to-intermediate areas all you want, but eventually you have to hit something over the top. Rodgers just wasn't able to connect on one of them this week.

His Average Intended Air Yards were 7.4 this week (per Next Gen Stats), which tracks what we're seeing in the chart. After sitting in the 5 yard range through 3 weeks, it's nice to see him pushing it a little more over the past couple of weeks, even if some of them haven't gone as hoped. I certainly don't want a mad bomber approach, but I'm all for targeting further than 5 yards down the field.

So how am I feeling overall? I dunno, man. On its face, I don't hate the approach, but the results aren't there. Some of the issue is that some of the shots operate as if they still have a guy like Davante Adams on the field who can win at the line consistently. They don't, so the timing on a lot of those is off. The other issue is just a lot of mental mistakes on the Packers. Too many receivers running the wrong routes. Too many guys breaking late on a timing route. Just a handful of little things that is throwing gunk into the machinery. It feels like they're so close to clicking, but we're also through week 5 and still seeing these issues. I hoped they would be mostly cleaned up by now. Will that get better over the next couple of weeks? Man, I sure hope so.

Alright. Let's get to the plays. Starting with...oh...is that an incomplete pass? Well then, after it!

Play 1: 3rd & 5, 11:13 remaining in the 1st quarter

Facing 3rd & 5 at the Giants 23 yard line on their first drive of the game, the Packers dialed up an old friend: Hank. Hank is widely used quick-game concept, involving a snag/curl route from the outside and a flat route underneath. The idea is to have the snag create a rub on the inside defender, allowing the flat defender a free release into space.

The Packers don't run it a ton, but they run it enough for me to have a good feel for how they run it. On this rep, it was different from what I've seen in the past, and I really liked it.

I'll preface it with this: the Packers had receivers in the wrong place on more than one occasion this week. I'm not entirely sure this was run how they drew it up, but, since it worked in terms of what the concept is designed to accomplish, I'll give it a pass.

The Packers are in an empty spread formation, with Robert Tonyan [85] outside of Aaron Jones [33] on the right. The Giants are showing a tight, single-high look, with a defender walked up over Jones at the #2 spot. At the snap, Tonyan angles inside on the snag route, but Jones pushes vertical for a couple steps before breaking outside. This has Jones cutting outside right on the body of Tonyan, giving no space for the defender. He is forced to go over Tonyan, giving Jones a lot of room on the release.

Running those routes so tight to each other causes huge problems for the defender. Whether it was intentional or not, I really like this twist on an old favorite. It's perfect. It's beautiful. It's incomplete off the outstretched hands of Jones.

It's incomplete because of the defender in Aaron Rodgers' face. The Giants are showing 6 rushers at the line. Since the Packers are in empty, that means they're showing one more rusher than the Packers have blockers, which is a problem. Rodgers doesn't exactly know who is going to come on the blitz and where the pressure will be coming from, but he knows he needs to get the ball out quickly.

Royce Newman [70] and Elgton Jenkins [74] are on the right side of the line. Two blockers for three rushers. Newman blocks down while Jenkins blocks out, opening a huge gap between them. The Giants end up dropping two of the rushers, but they don't drop the man in that gap. Rodgers has immediate pressure in his face. He's still able to get the ball out, but it comes out a tick quicker than he would like it, and it's just a little wide.

Play 2: 2nd & 6, 5:00 remaining in the 1st quarter

The Packers haven't run their Dagger concept very much this year. It has been a staple in their offense for a long time, but it has been largely absent this year. I think we're starting to see it creep back into the rotation, which makes me happy.

This particular version is something I typically group into the Cross-Country Dagger bucket. Dagger is a two-man concept that involves a vertical route from the slot and a dig behind it to work in the space created by the vertical. Cross-Country Dagger takes the vertical route and turns it into a deep crosser. It's something that can work well against single-high defenses, and can also work to clear the linebackers out a little more.

The Packers are in 11 personnel, with Randall Cobb [18] and Romeo Doubs [87] in a stack on the right. At the snap, Cobb releases under Doubs and runs the deep crossing route, while Doubs pushes out at the boundary defender before cutting on the dig.

The Giants don't send a defender with Cobb, so that route doesn't clear out the boundary. However, the Giants are in a spot-drop zone. Spot-drop zone is exactly what it sounds like: instead of matching the coverage based on the routes, the defenders will simply drop to a spot and be responsible for that zone. That doesn't necessarily mean they're tied to that zone, though: they're reading the eyes of the QB, and the QB does not give anything away on this play.

Cobb's route helps drag the linebacker out of the middle of the field and Rodgers just stares directly down the middle. He never so much as glances at Doubs, so the defender has nothing to break on. Rodgers hits the top of his drop, bounces to stay in the clean part of the pocket, then fires to Doubs in the middle of the field.

I always love seeing this call and Rodgers does this about as well as you can do it. Packers pick up 22 yards on the play.

Play 3: 2nd & 8, 13:41 remaining in the 2nd quarter

We'll end on a relatively small play, because small plays need some shine, too.

The Packers are in 11 personnel in an empty spread look, with trips to the right. The Giants are showing a split safety look and are allocating their defensive resources towards trips. On the right, Allen Lazard [13] is the outside receiver while Josiah Deguara [81] is in the slot. Rodgers gives a check at the line after going into a hard cadence, and the Giants respond by shifting their defense a little. They still have Deguara on the right with no immediate coverage over top. The most likely culprit is the man who eventually picks him up: the linebacker to his side in the box. The Packers simply run Deguara on a flat under a blocking Lazard. 

Deguara catches the ball, gets upfield and picks up 12 yards.

Offense doesn't always have to be hard.


I know there are a lot of people critical of the Packers performance from this past weekend. And, while I'm certainly one of them (to an extent), my goal in this space has always been to dig into a few cool things from the previous week. I'm also finding it harder and harder to get into the overall idea of a sequence or an idea by writing about it: it always takes more words than I want, and I know it can sometimes be hard to follow when I get wordy. I'm trying to do more video breakdowns, which I have over on my YouTube channel. If you're looking for a clean, polished look, you will not find it there. But if you're looking for my dumb voice talking while awkwardly trying to look at the camera while also breaking down a play on another screen, buddy, you'll be very happy with it.


Albums listened to: Broken Bells - Into the Blue; Alvvays - Blue Rev; The Black Angels - Wilderness of Mirrors; Daniel Lanois - Player, Piano; John Carpenter - Lost Themes

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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].

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Comments (7)

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PatrickGB's picture

October 12, 2022 at 03:16 pm

Thanks. It’s odd but I don’t remember any go routes this last game. If there were I missed them. Wouldn’t that have messed up their defense on some of the crossers?

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croatpackfan's picture

October 12, 2022 at 04:29 pm

Dusty it is alwys nice to read your work and get more familiar with concepts.

Long shots missing is not always on WR. I remember one deep shot to Lazard, I think on first or second possesion in the 2nd half. Lazard was covered ba CB and have S over him. Lazard run by right side line and curve inside widely open. Pass came few yard behind and out of field. Lazard reaction was like he is pissed off with the throw. That was not wrong route. WR was open and juked 2 defenders. That was errant throw from QB.

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PackyCheese500's picture

October 12, 2022 at 05:02 pm

I thought it was funny how Aaron Rodgers reacted to the talk in the Packers' locker room. He said, "I'm a firm believer in the piwer of words and manifestation."

Oh really 12? What about when you yelled to Myers to "Snap the F-ing Ball!" vs. the Patriots? When ACR can actually take his own advice then I'll consider taking him seriously.

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 12, 2022 at 05:32 pm

Thanks, Dusty. As a text-loving geezer, I have no objection to you continuing to lean heavily on the written word. I appreciate the opportunity to think and process what you explain, then see it in the videos. I've said it before, your text reads like a conversation with a friend, and I never find it padded with words that aren't essential to what you're working to help your reader see. Keep bringing it, please!

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pacman's picture

October 12, 2022 at 09:14 pm

What strikes me most on play #1 is that Mr Let's Burn a Timeout didn't recognize the overloaded front and take a timeout. There was no time to set up a play. That had to be an immediate pitch to 1 of the wideouts with the coverage cushion.

Got to give the Giants credit on this one. They weren't afraid of our WR's. We didn't give them any reason to be.

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PeteK's picture

October 13, 2022 at 10:08 am

Or Jenkins following the O line rule, inside out. He knew it was a quick throw, so always block the inside defender first as he can get to the QB faster.

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T7Steve's picture

October 13, 2022 at 09:32 am

Thanks Dusty. I don't know how you do that stuff so well. Real professional and I again learned a lot. I thought I knew it all?

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