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Packers Film Room: Packers offense takes advantage of WFT coverage adjustments

The WFT schemed to limit Davante Adams but the Packers offense had adjustments for their coverage schemes.

Washington Football Team v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers easily handled the Washington Football Team 24-10 on the strength of their passing game last Sunday at home in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers played a near-flawless game completing 27 of 35 pass attempts for 274 yards and three touchdowns after the running game was unable to move the ball against an otherwise stout WFT defensive front.

It’s a short week so this week’s film room won’t have the same depth of breakdown and will instead break down the big throws from Aaron Rodgers to his various teammates and they are textbook examples of a quarterback finding the best possible matchups and throwing them for big plays.

First play, 1Q 7:20, 4th-and-3 at the WFT 17

This play is not so much about exploiting the best matchups on the field as it is just a super athletic play and great awareness to know where the receiver is in the scramble.

The offense is in a 3x2 formation with underneath crossers and seam up the hash from the number three in the trips. The receivers have the option to sit in the zone instead of carrying across the field because the WFT linebackers are walling off the interior of the field.

Adams sits in the middle of the field as Rodgers starts to scramble. The seam throw is bracketed by the safety and underneath linebacker. As Rodgers scrambled to the right, Adams stayed put as everyone traveled with the scramble drill. Rodgers pumps to give himself some space and freeze the defense for a split second. As he rolls right, he sees Adams and throws it across the field across his body and Adams does the rest.

Second play, 2Q 1:16, 3rd-and-2 at the GB 47

The WFT shaded a safety over to Adams whenever the Packers lined him up as the single receiver. The tactic was to find favorable matchups and exploit coverage deficiencies created by devoting a bracket to the best player on the offense.

The play call is “spin flat” in Shanahan lineage where two receivers in the three receiver bunch to the right are running a basic route (dig) and a short basic route (shorter dig route) and a third receiver sprinting to the flat.

Rodgers initially looks for the flat route, presumably because he wanted some quick and easy yards, but it’s not open. Now he has to buy time to find a receiver and comes back to the basic and short basic route progression, which would normally be the first two reads in the progression. The pass protection eventually lets a pass rusher through so Rodgers slides to his left to avoid while throwing Allen Lazard open away from the defender over the middle for a 13 yard gain.

The safety had eyes on the trips looking for a potential crosser but gained depth with Adams on the single receiver side and taking himself out of the throwing window to Lazard. Rodgers hit him between a triangle of defenders.

Third play, 2Q :19, 3rd-and-5 at the WFT 10

WFT again bracketed Adams to the left on this scoring play with safety over the top, leaving no top down coverage to the trips side.

The play call is 3x1 four verticals. Rodgers, seeing Adams bracketed in the pre snap, eliminates him from the read and chooses to hit the middle vertical to Lazard for the touchdown.

The defender has over the top inside leverage because he has no help behind. Rodgers and Allen see this and Rodgers places a perfect pass on Lazard’s back shoulder away from the defender as Lazard makes a nice adjustment to catch it.

Fourth play, 3Q 12:35, 3rd-and-3 at the WFT 20

After the WFT fumbled on the second play of the opening drive of the second half, the Packers were within striking distance to add to their lead. They did so on 3rd-and-3 from the WFT 20 yard line.

To the right, the route combo is a flat-7 smash combination, a high-low read on the flat defender in zone coverage or a 1-on-1 matchup in press man coverage with no over the top safety help and no defender sinking under the corner. WFT plays man coverage here due to shading the safety over to the trips side.

The trips side runs double moves by Adams and Cobb where they appear to switch release, trying to get the defenders to bite on the routes. Both defenders appear ready to pass them off when both receivers abruptly cut back outside.

Adams is wide open. However, Rodgers made his decision in the pre snap process to target Robert Tonyan on the corner route for the touchdown due to having no bracketed help over the top. Either decision would’ve been fine.

Fifth play, 3Q :04, 1st-and-17 at the GB 7

WFT had a fairly solid defensive gameplan to limit the explosive pass plays to Adams by shading a safety over to his side to bracket him. It’s just that the Packers have other playmakers elevated by a quarterback who can manipulate and place passes wherever he feels like.

The play call is a double stick concept and is designed to get the offense yards and away from their goal line. Adams is running the alert go route to the bottom of the formation as the single receiver. The WFT is in a 2-high coverage shell pre snap, prompting Rodgers to look to the double stick side of the concept.

The safety to Adams’ side buzzes down to the hook zone at the snap, leaving Adams alone with the corner. Rodgers sees no throw on his drop back to the left, sees the safety down, and throws down the sideline to Adams over the defender. Perfectly placed pass for a gain of 26 yards.

Sixth play, 4Q 13:38, 3rd-and-4 at the GB 39

With Adams singled up again to the bottom of the Packers 3x1 formation, the WFT stays in cover-2 coverage in case Adams gets vertical.

The other side of the formation is running a smash concept with a post from the number three receiver Tonyan. The play is designed to stress the safety from that side with corner and post combination.

Rodgers eliminates Adams from the progression in the pre-snap as Adams only runs a quick slant. Rodgers drops back and looks off the safety, opening the middle of the field for Tonyan. The throw is quick and on time and shields Tonyan from a potentially big hit as the safety comes across to tackle him.

The very next play got the Packers into scoring position as Adams drew a defensive pass interference on a corner route that likely would’ve been another explosive pass play.

Outlook

The Packers are going to be without Allen Lazard for the Thursday night game due to COVID-19 protocols and also likely without Adams due to the same issue unless Adams tests negative twice in 24 hours. As of Wednesday 10/27, NFL Network is reporting that Adams would need two negative tests Wednesday and game day to be able to play. He’d take the tests in Green Bay and would have to travel the day of the game to Arizona, making his status unlikely to be active.

They’ll have to rely on Randall Cobb and Equanimeous St. Brown as the primary receiver options. There’s also a chance Marquez Valdes-Scantling could play but the Packers won’t make a decision on his status until 4pm before kickoff. Translation: there’s a lot of unknowns up in the air right now as the Packers head into a crucial NFC game with the only remaining undefeated team.