Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon made some dynamic plays through the air and on the ground while tallying 90 yards on just 11 touches for over eight yards per touch against the Philadelphia Eagles. Generally, the Packers will stress the perimeter on pin and pull or toss stretch with running back Aaron Jones and leave more of the inside work to Dillon. However, in their game against Philadelphia, Dillon had touches on wide zone, counter, toss stretch, and inside zone.
Dillon’s first touch of the game came on a wide zone call that went for a touchdown. In wide zone, the playside tackle will kick out the playside end man on the line of scrimmage. The interior is where the horizontal stretch comes from. You get guard/center combinations that work laterally up to flowing linebackers with overtakes, pushovers, and climbs. The scheme gets the backs going downhill a little bit more than outside zone and still gets some of the flow from the linebackers with the running back’s track at the playside tackle. Dillon reads his playside combos well and is a decisive runner once he makes his first cut.
Inside zone emphasizes vertical displacement with combinations from the offensive linemen working up to the linebackers. You can see in this clip how the impact of Dillon’s track affects the defense. He starts out with a wide track toward the tackle, which makes the linebackers flow in that direction. He then shaves his track to aim downhill to run inside zone and set up blocks for his offensive linemen.
Green Bay has run an increasing amount of counter this year. The Packers used to be an entirely zone-blocking team, but have taken a significant shift towards incorporating more gap scheme looks. On the first rep of counter, the Packers run a generic guard/tackle counter with the guard kicking out and left tackle David Bakhtiari wrapping through.
On their second time running the counter scheme with Dillon, the Packers use a motion from the sniffer, tight end Tyler Davis, as the kick-out blocker. Then, Josiah Deguara, lined up as a running back, is the one that wraps through under the kick-out block. That leaves the offensive linemen to down block and look for flowing defenders
RPO Pass Game
The Packers gave Dillon a couple of touches on the perimeter runs, but where he really thrived was on the Pony package RPO that Green Bay loves to run. They motion Dillon out of the backfield and if no defenders bump with him, the quarterback will throw the ball to him on the edge. That gives Dillon momentum as he receives the ball against smaller defenders on the edge.
Green Bay is finally starting to settle in on offense with now two of their last three games scoring over 30 points. The margin for error is still incredibly thin with the lack of talent outside, but there are flashes of what the offense could be if fully healthy.