Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 14 vs. Detroit Lions All Green Bay Packers All the Time

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.

 The Aftermath: QB Rodgers knows that he’s got the touchdown.  With WR Jennings drawing the safety away from Rodgers, there’s no one left to stop the TD once Rodgers clears both linebackers.

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


21 thoughts on “Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 14 vs. Detroit Lions

  1. You really need to package your Cutler analysis (Jay Cutler = Grumpy Cat) into a single image and post it here, so we can go viral with it.

    I am dead serious, that’s flippin’ hilarious! Make it happen! I want Packers fans to post it EVERYWHERE

  2. This is what the NFL will not allow you to see on a live game. In this case that every receiver was covered. The announcer may tell you they are covered, but you rarely see the entire field. Since all teams get game film what difference does it make? The Lions did a nice job of covering our receivers and No 12 took advantage of it. At the time I was amazed that Rodgers was able to run it in from 37 yards out – not the original line of scrimmage but where he begins to go North South in the third picture down from the top.

    Great analysis – thanks

    1. I think the all-22 film wasn’t released because it would give teams an advantage (since they’ve had the all-22 film forever) but because the NFL couldn’t/didn’t think of a way to make it profitable. With the popularity of internet streaming it became an option. But I agree, you can often see things in the all-22 film that you simply can’t during the broadcast. DB play was especially hard since you almost never saw the safeties and only really saw the first 5-10 yards of coverage from corners.

  3. great analysis Thomas but…
    20 miles per hour are you sure??
    Rodgers 40 yards dash in the combine (’05) was 4.70 s that means he had a average velocity of 17.5 mph. Seeing the footage seems unlikely that Aaron was even near of the velocity he had in a track speed test 7 years ago.

    1. Yah, I wasn’t too sure about that either. so I looked for some context, and apparently Usain Bolt can run a 100 meter dash with an average of 27 mph, tho I bet Bolt is running faster than 30 mph in the middle of the run (like after he gets to top speed and before he slows down for the finish) Does 20 mph make sense in that context? Frankly I’m not sure. I will say that I don’t have access to slowmo or the actual frames so my timing is very inconsistent.

    1. That’s a pretty surprising considering Fridays are typically walk-throughs. I’m also guessing that they weren’t in pads, which either means Sitton isn’t nearly as hurt as every is worrying, or it’s one of those freak accidents (like Mike Neal’s), where stuff just happens

    1. Neither McCarthy nor Sitton seem too worried, take that as you will. I’ll stick to my previous statement that since chances are good that the practice was in shells or maybe just a jog through, hopefully that means the injury isn’t too serious.

  4. He doesn’t get many chances for it, but why did AR feel the need to stick the ball out there before crossing the line – Stafford could have told him it was slippery.

    1. From the interview I think it was unintentional/unplanned. Rodgers commented that he had said to Graham Harrell on the sidelines previously that Mike Daniels probably shouldn’t have held out the ball when he got the fumble recovery for a touchdown, only to do exactly what he said not to do on his own touchdown. Rodgers probably just got caught up in the moment and decided to stick the ball out.

      1. Once the ball breaks the plane its a TD whether it slips out of his hands or not. If he tucks it and an LB manages to catch him from behind (Rodgers doesn’t know how far back they are), it is not a TD.

        You stick the ball out when you are sure doing so gets you the score.

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