Tyler Goodson carving out gadget-like role in Packers offense

Green Bay Packers running back Tyler Goodson (39) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Green Bay, Wis.
Green Bay Packers running back Tyler Goodson (39) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Green Bay, Wis. /

Pre-snap motion is going to be an important element within the Green Bay Packers offense this season, and second-year running back Tyler Goodson is someone who could carve out a role.

Through the first handful of training camp practices, Goodson has been doing a little bit of everything within this Packers offense. He’s been both a ball carrier and a part of the passing game. We’ve seen him lined up out wide, in the slot, and in the backfield as well.

Goodson has also been utilized as the pre-snap motion man fairly consistently as well, similar to how Green Bay used Tyler Ervin a few seasons ago. He has been motioned out of the backfield, from one side of the formation to the other,  as well as on jet sweeps and end-arounds, where sometimes he gets the ball, and other times he is a decoy.

"“Potentially,” said Matt LaFleur when asked if Goodson could fill this gadget role during the season. “I think we are going to experiment with a lot of these guys to see who can adapt and adjust, and give us the best opportunity to move the ball down the field.”"

Putting a man in motion, specifically when there is the threat of that player getting the ball, can do a number of things for an offense. For one, it can create explosive plays by getting the ball in the hands of a playmaker while he’s in space. It can also open up opportunities for others in the offense as well.

Sending a man in motion before the snap forces the defense to make last-second adjustments and may give the offense a clue about what type of play they are running. With Jordan Love being a young quarterback, defenses may throw a lot of disguised coverages at him, but motion and the subsequent movement that follows, is one way to combat that.

At the snap, motion can also lead to a split-second of hesitation, which in the NFL, is all it takes for a passing lane to open or for a blocker to get into better position.

The culmination of all of this hopefully takes some of the playmaking burden off of Love at times as well, with either the motion man creating the big play or opportunities opening up because of the attention he’s drawn and movement that the defenses are forced into.

Not that motion wasn’t utilized in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but he also made it well known that he wasn’t a big fan of it, either. Motion likely takes on a bigger role in the game plan this season with Love at the helm, which means a larger role for a gadget-type player. In 2022, Miami and San Francisco used motion at the second and third-highest rates in football–two offenses that mirror Green Bay’s.

Along with Goodson, we’ve seen Jayden Reed and his 4.37-speed used in this capacity as well.

With the third running back spot for grabs, as the old football saying goes, “the more you can do,” which Goodson is certainly doing with all of the responsibilities he has taken on, along with being able to fill a role that could see more opportunities this season.

"“I just think that philosophically,” said LaFleur, “the more you can do as a player, it definitely enhances your chances of making our football team and making an impact on our team.”"