Green Bay Packers’ offense needs new schemes, packages

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams still looking to break loose. Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams still looking to break loose. Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Green Bay Packers offense in a nearly yearlong slump, the time for change is now.

Aaron Rodgers’ play has been an issue, but it’s not the only thing hampering the Green Bay Packers‘ offense these days.

It appears the coaching staff is intent on letting guys try to win one-on-one matchups and rely on Rodgers to “make a play.”

That strategy clearly isn’t working, nor are the consistent packages they’re using – namely the three-receiver, one tight end set.

Of the Packers’ 123 offensive plays this year, 95 have featured that package.

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Eighty-four of those 95 utilized the same three wide outs: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.

That’s 77 percent of the same package, with 88 percent of the same people.

Mike McCarthy needs to take actual to find solutions, either through personnel or scheme.

It’s rare for teams to make wholesale changes in-season because of the complexity of offenses and the preparation.

But if McCarthy truly believes in “his offense” and in his ability coach, he needs to fine tune what they’re doing.

In terms of personnel and formations, McCarthy has options to mix and match in a variety of ways.

One obvious move would be to rotate guys like Jared Abbrederis and Ty Montgomery in more frequently.

Use those two to spell the aforementioned trio or go to more four and five-receiver sets. It’s important to use the variety of skills players bring to the table.

There’s certainly an issue of trust between the QB, head coach and the receivers that may be hindering their perspectives. That needs to go away.

Green Bay Packers
Sep 1, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis needs to see more of the field. Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

They’re good enough to be on the active roster, so use them.

Brett Favre got 74 receptions and 1,051 yards out of Bill Schroeder in a season. Put some faith in Abbrederis and Montgomery.

McCarthy can also go with more formations, like using two tight ends to utilize Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers simultaneously.

As their prized free agent pickup, the Packers especially need to get Cook more involved. Five receptions for 38 yards in a pair of contests can’t be what coaches had in mind.

Playing both tight ends at the same time could be valuable in both the run game by adding beef to the line or in the passing game to work the middle of the field more.

Another option that most teams ignore today is the use of a fullback.

Aaron Ripkowski has proven to be effective in his limited role, lead blocking for Eddie Lacy and helping protect Rodgers.

Once again, McCarthy would be giving the offense a more balanced look where runs and passes are both viable.

There also need to be adjustments to the scheme and routes the Green Bay Packers are running.

It appears Rodgers if often overthinking plays, looking for the home run ball, and passing up short options.

Green Bay Packers Jared Cook
Jared Cook has just 5 catches for 38 yards in 2 games. Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Why not simplify what you’re doing and take some of those issues out of Rodgers’ hands?

Go back to basic routes with the receivers playing off each other to compromise defenders.

Quick outs, slants, posts, flags and drag patterns can be extremely effective when the routes are run in tandem.

Rodgers has often relied on his football IQ, so put the onus on his to do this pre-snap instead to recognize where the holes in coverage may be.

Some of the conversation also turns to the Green Bay Packers’ pass-catchers failing to get separation, consistently losing one-on-one battles.

Motion, misdirection and deception need to be included more frequently.

These give offensive skill players an edge at the line and creates confusion to help Rodgers pick apart the defense.

Starting Cobb in the backfield is a prime example of this mentality, and it seems to have a positive impact in the pass game. Though I’d prefer not running the ball with him.

Forcing defenders to move before the snap and cover guys in unusual spots can open up the field.

The combination of pre-snap movement and a simplification of post-snap thought processes for the receivers puts an emphasis on their physical skill.

Meanwhile, you can rely on Rodgers to read the defense and anticipate where the throwing lanes will be.

I think of Antonio Freeman with plays like this. “Free” was a master in small, quick movements.

He wasn’t the most physically gifted receiver, but they had him constantly moving pre-snap to give him a slight advantage for Favre to hit him.

For example, if you’re keeping Adams to a simple slant when lined up static on the right, there’s a good chance he’s not beating his man or burning the safety.

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A full sprint to the right (prior to the snap) by Adams can set up the defender in man coverage, to lose a step as Adams plants hard on the snap, then cuts left on the slant.

Now Adams doesn’t need to be perfect in his route since he has an early edge.

These pre-snap movements can also cause confusion in zone coverage by flooding a side or changing assignments for the defense.

McCarthy wouldn’t need to change much in terms specific plays, but instead have a basic call to designate the player in motion.

If the play calls for Cobb slot left, it’s simple enough to start him on the right or in the backfield, but have him motion to the correct spot before the snap.

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Implementing these items may be too much to ask of the Green Bay Packers’ staff this week.

The Detroit Lions are in town Sunday, but then comes the bye week. That would be an ideal time to tinker.

In the end, the players need to execute, and that includes Rodgers. Still, there needs to be accountability on the coaching staff to find ways to set up favorable matchups and situations.