If they did that thing they do ESPN where they track how many yards that you actually run, and the speed…I hope they wouldn’t put the speed up on there but maybe the distance that I ran; had to be close to 50 yards, that’s a long sprint, I haven’t been doing a lot of those lately. – Aaron Rodgers, Tuesday’s with Aaron 2012/11/12
Challenge accepted! But first the hobbjective analysis.
The Situation: The Packers are trailing the Lions 14 to 10 with 12 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The Packers offense has been a little off, while Rodgers and company have managed to move the ball fairly well against the Lions, they haven’t had many opportunities, several 3 and outs, a fumble and some clock-killing drives from the Lions means that the offense hasn’t had much of a chance of getting settled.
The Formation: The Packers come out in a 3-1-1 formation (3WR-1TE-1RB) with WR James Jones (89) split out wide left followed by WR Randall Cobb (18) in the left slot. WR Greg Jennings (85) is split out wide right while TE Jermicheal Finley (88) is about a yard outside of the offensive line to the right tackle. Finally, QB Aaron Rodgers (12) is in the shotgun with FB John Kuhn (30) to the right of him. The offensive line is composed of LT Marshall Newhouse (74), LG Evan Dietrich-Smith (62), C Jeff Saturday (63), RG Josh Sitton (71) and RT Don Barclay (67). In response the Lions come out with a 4-3 cover-2 defense that everyone has been playing against the Packers offense. Take a notice of how far back the Lions safeties are set, a good 20 yards away from the line of scrimmage. In this case, it looks like the mike linebacker is going to rush through A gap instead of dropping into coverage.
The Snap: Things don’t go smoothly for the Packers. Needing only 4 yards for a 1st down, QB Rodgers first read is probably TE Finley who is running a flat pattern (1), but either trips or gets caught up with the defender which causes the play to fall apart. Both DEs manage to get great penetration into the backfield and at this point, Rodgers is getting ready to take a hit. Take note of what the secondary is doing, no one has left their man and the safeties are still covering their halves.
The Escape: QB Rodgers has managed to elude the first wave of defenders and has rolled out to his right (his preferred side) and his head is up looking for a receiver. The Lions secondary has obviously been told to stick to their men because Rodgers likes to throw on the run and often can catch DBs in transition. Again notice that every Lions defender in coverage is staying with their man.
The Run: At this point, QB Rodgers has about 5 yards on both sides of him all to himself. Of the two closest defenders, MLB Stephen Tulloch (55, covering FB Kuhn at the top of the screen) and SLB Durant (52, covering TE Finley at the bottom of the screen), MLB Tulloch appears to see that Rodgers is going to run, but is being slowed down by Kuhn while SLB Durant is so focused on TE Finley that he doesn’t realize Rodgers is going to run for it until TE Finley starts to block him out of the play.
Conclusion: What’s interesting about this play is that everyone in the league knows Rodgers has the legs to score a rushing touchdown, but in this case, the Lions seem a little caught off guard that Rodgers would take off running. To their credit, not much of Rodgers’ game this season would seem to dictate that he would run; Rodgers has often taken a roll out, faked the run and then thrown it to receivers who are open because Rodger’s running sucked defenders away from their assignments. Add to that Rodgers penchant for keeping plays alive for longer than he probably should and I can see why the Lions chose to defend the pass over the run. I guess the interesting question is is Rodgers leaving running plays on the field in an attempt to throw the ball?
ESPN Challenge: Basically all I did is time Rodgers on his 10 yard splits using the game tape. I gave him about 4 yards to pick up steam and straighten out his “route” to make the calculations more accurate.
- From the 30 yard line to the 20 yard line: 1.6 seconds (12.78 mph)
- From the 20 yard line to the 10 yard line: 1.0 seconds (20.15 mph)
- From the 10 yard line to the endzone: 1.15 seconds (18.59 mph)
- Average (30 yard line to endzone): 3.8 seconds (16.12 mph)
For the second part of the “request” it was necessary to plot where Rodgers ran during the course of the play. Initially, Rodgers is lined up in the backfield on the left hash mark, due to the Lions pass rush he drops 4 yards further back before running essentially parallel to the line of scrimmage to the center of the numbers on the right side of the field, after that he then runs basically straight for the endzone, which in total equals 58.5 yards, so give yourself some credit Aaron Rodgers, not only did you run 10 yards further than you thought, but you hit 20 mph for a 10 yard split
Bonus Analysis: As this is Bears week I decided to do some analysis of Jay Cutler as well and this is what I came up with
I rest my case.
UPDATE: A kind Packers fan named Koda has been kind enough to make the Jay Cutler analysis into a picture.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.