The Passing Chronicles: This is Getting Good Now (aka, Arches)

Dusty takes a look at an early 3rd down conversion against the Chiefs in Week 13

For a handful of reasons, this was my favorite game of the year. In a bit of a whirlwind trip, I was able to be at this game. No matter how many games I go to, walking up to Lambeau while snow flurries descend around me will always be an amazing moment. There was a tremendous energy to the crowd throughout and the Packers responded by coming out of the gates on fire. The offense was humming, finishing off their first two (long) drives with touchdowns. It was a great gameplan from LaFleur and the offense executed it well.

There were a few different directions I thought about going with this one. My mind initially went to the second TD to Christian Watson off a great throw-and-catch.

Ultimately, I went with a 3rd & 4 play from the 1st drive. Partly because that first drive was an important one, but mainly because it came off a concept I’ve wanted to see in Green Bay for years and they finally started running it a bit this year. That’s right, we’re talking about Arches.

We’re looking at the call itself and the responsibilities. As a reminder, this is how the Packers structure their calls (although not every section is used in every call):

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

Playcall: F Mo Gun Bin RT 3 Jet F Arches Y Corner

Here’s how that may sound when called in the game:

Motion: F Mo

This is a call we haven’t seen up until this point. “Mo” is a shift that calls for the tagged player to align away from the call, then motion across the formation to the final formation called. So this is calling for the F receiver to align opposite the formation call, but shift over to his spot in the formation when the QB signals.

Formation & Strength: Gun Bin RT

This is a 3x1 bunch formation, with the Y TE aligned as the point man in the bunch. The F starts on the left initially, but shifts over to the inside man in the bunch.

Pass Pro: 3 Jet

Against this front, 3 Jet calls for the left side to slide left, the right side to slide right and the center to help the right guard with the man between them. The H (running back) is reading inside-out starting head-up on the center. If he’s not needed in pass pro, he will release to the flat.

Pass Concept: F Arches Y Corner

(As always, I used Dan Casey’s Play Caller’s Club book as a template for the above image. It’s a really fun book to mess around with.)

The main job of both the Eliminator and the Corner is to create space for the Arches route. It’s great if the Eliminator wins and gets free over the middle, but the true goal is to cause a reaction in the coverage and force a defender to follow, thus clearing for the follow.

And yeah, it’s cool if the Corner route is super-sharp and the TE wins that route, but the true goal is to be a bull in a China shop off the line; wreak havoc, cause general confusion and create a natural pick for the Arches to find room under.

To the play.

Dontayvion Wicks [13] is the F, starting on the left side and shifting before the play to be the under man closest to the line in the bunch. Out of that formation, Tucker Kraft [85] is running the Corner/pick, Christian Watson [9] is running the Eliminator and Wicks is running the Arches. They all do their jobs well.

Kraft does exactly what he needs to do: puts his head down, draws contact then just pushes the defender all the way up the field, making sure to get in the path of the deep boundary defender. That last piece is crucial, as it ensures he can’t drive on the route from Wicks.

Watson does a great job initially pushing upfield to draw the deep inside defender, as well as the linebacker in the middle. With Kraft bullying his way down the field and Watson occupying the inside of the defense, it’s all on Wicks.

Wicks does a great job slow-playing the route. He slowly pushes out vertically, widening the deep boundary defender while also holding him on that same plane. That’s what allows Kraft to be able to get in the way. Once Wicks sets it up, he gives a little shake then breaks to the middle and looks for the ball.

After initially setting to the middle, Love quickly shifts and hits Wicks out of the break with a dart. Everything does exactly what they’re supposed to do. The Packers pick up 7 yards and score a touchdown on the opening drive 2 plays later.

As I mentioned in the Pass Pro portion, Patrick Taylor [27] is reading inside-out for his pass pro assignment. Jack Cochrane [43] is feigning a rush up the middle pre-snap, so that’s where Taylor’s eyes are. Cochrane bails at the snap, so Taylor does a quick check-and-release into his route.

Also, while we’re here, please watch Jon Runyan Jr. [76] absolutely dominating Chris Jones [95].

One last thing: I just want to point out Love’s feet on the reset. Initially set to the middle to sell a throw there, then a quick reset-and-fire.

If you want to go back through the rest of this series, I thought I'd gather all the links up here. Hope you're learning half as much reading this as I am writing them.

Week 1: Gun Trio RT Open 2 Scat H Choice Buffalo
Week 2: Motion Sink LT Zoom Z Fly P19 Waggle Z Dagger
Week 3: Shift Gun Trips RT G Open H D 3 Scram Z Shot Bow
Week 4: Gun Dyno RT 2 Jet Coco Stitch
Week 5: Bunch LT FK 19 Keep LT
Week 7: Shift Crush LT Z Insert 12 Dos Shield
Week 8: Shift Gun Crush RT Z RT 365 Shield Return
Week 9: Motion Gun Trips RT F Behind FK Mirror Swinger Y Cross
Week 10: Motion Gun Crip LT Open F Counter 2 Jet Coco Swab
Week 11: Motion Gun Bin RT Z Fly 2 Jet Y Surge Z Dagger
Week 12: Motion Gun Trio RT Clamp Y LT P18 Weezy Z Strike X Blaze Out

Albums listened to: The Bony King of Nowhere - Everybody Knows; Cush - Super G; The Vaccines - Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations




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].


3 points

Comments (2)

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GB@Germany's picture

June 13, 2024 at 02:05 am

Good choice, great game.
The rhythm and timimg was there and the offense overall was cooperating much better.
Just looking forward to next season with this kind of offense in sync and with a defense able to hold up.

1 points
T7Steve's picture

June 13, 2024 at 07:30 am

As I've pointed out in a bunch of other plays, there's almost always someone else wide open. If something happened to Wicks, Kraft was open to the corner of the end zone, as Dusty mentioned as a relief valve. This is so exciting to look forward to this season.

Thanks for the bonus with the Watson TD too. You picked a good game to attend.

I ate up this "ARCHES" play. For some reason it makes me hungry for a Mac and cheese.

I bet after watching this, Cochrane wished he'd have kept coming to challenge Taylor and get in Love's face for all the good it did dropping back. Wonder if you can show an "Arches" play where the back does have to stay in to block and see how it worked out? Does Love slide away from the pressure a little more or get rid of the ball?

1 points