The big trend on offense in the NFL is speed—as in speed of getting plays off.
The Green Bay Packers want to join that trend, as coach Mike McCarthy said that his goal is for the Packers to run 75 offensive snaps per game in 2014.
According to ESPN.com, McCarthy first hinted at the plan to speed up the offense over the winter when he said he wanted running back Eddie Lacy to be a three-down player in order to limit the need for situational substitutions, which slows down the pace of the offense.
“You want to be able to get players into the flow of the game when your offensive philosophy is to get as many plays as possible,” McCarthy said in February at the NFL Draft Combine. “Limiting substitutions is obviously an asset to accomplishing that.”
Last season, Lacy would often come off the field on third-down situations, with fullback John Kuhn used as a pass protector in the backfield.
The Packers weren’t far off McCarthy’s goal, at least when Aaron Rodgers was under center. In the games he finished last season, Green Bay averaged almost 69 offensive snaps per game. Overall, the Pack was 11th in the NFL with a shade more than 67 plays per game.
Part of the philosophy is to take advantage of Rodgers’ experience and his ability to think—and operate—on the fly.
“We play pretty fast, but you always want to play faster,” McCarthy said last month during organized team activities in June. “With a guy like Aaron, he plays faster than anybody I’ve ever been around.”
If Lacy can improve in passing situations, it would afford Green Bay the opportunity to play a faster tempo.
“I’ve always been of the belief as getting as many shots as you can, so we’ve always emphasized playing as fast as you can,” McCarthy said. “When you have as many three-down players as you can possibly have, obviously your substitution patterns are cleaner. You’re not subbing because you have to, you’re subbing just when you need to.”
Rodgers has been terrific in no-huddle situations and is chomping at the bit for a chance to do it more often.