The Packers are fortunate to have a very smart head coach, a quarterback who is as well-prepared as any in the game, and a defensive coordinator known for his innovation and scheme adjustments.
When Mike McCarthy’s offensive brilliance, Aaron Rodgers’ ability to read a defense and Dom Capers’ knack for confusing offenses all comes together, it’s a beautiful thing.
But there were times last season when I wondered if perhaps they were too smart for their own good.
Exhibit No. 1 is the all-too-familiar scene of two Packers defensive backs staring at each other in bewilderment and pointing after giving up a big play. This scene typically comes after the defense scrambles around pre-snap like a bunch of worker ants.
“You were supposed to be there!”
“No, you were supposed to take that guy and I was supposed to be here!”
What happened to just lining up, covering your man or your area, and beating the guy who lines up across from you or enters your zone?
Rodgers sometimes drove me a little crazy last season as well with all of his pre-snap maneuvering. Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game. He’s got a group of elite wide receivers and a freakishly athletic tight end.
Run the play that was originally called and let your talent carry you to victory. You don’t always need to try and create a mismatch in order to gain an advantage. Sometimes the mismatch is just there because you’re better than the other team.
Is this post over-simplifying the issue? Of course. I have no idea what the Packers are doing pre-snap. Maybe they’re talking about the latest episode of The Walking Dead and all that pre-snap activity is just a cover-up. I don’t know the Packers playbook, I’m not in their meetings and I’m not on the field.
However, I’m not saying that the Packers should morph into a predictable team that other teams can easily scheme against. All I’m saying is that it might be time for McCarthy, Rodgers and Capers to trust the Packers talent a little more.
You don’t always have to try and scheme to get an unblocked pass rusher. Line up and beat the guy across from you.
You don’t always have to try and get a receiver matched up against a linebacker. Line up and beat the guy across from you.
You don’t always have to try and predict what the defense is doing and change the play at the line of scrimmage. Line up, run the original play, and beat the guy lined up across from you.
I think we’ll see the Packers’ pre-snap stuff simplified a bit in the upcoming season. I’m not saying the offense will consist of three plays — run right, run left and pass — but I think you’ll see Rodgers reigned in a little bit pre-snap and not given as much freedom to change the original call or try to create the “perfect” matchups.
I also think you’ll see more simplification on defense, especially if the draft or free agency yields more pass-rushing talent on the defensive line.
Whatever it takes to never see two defensive backs in green and white jerseys pointing at each other in confusion, I’m all for it.——————