Two weeks in a row the Green Bay Packers offense called their corner post concept, once versus the Washington Commanders and once versus the Bills. In the first game, the pass fell incomplete after receiver Romeo Doubs did not adjust his route after Rodgers was forced to scramble. The second time, Toure adjusted his route and Rodgers fired one down the middle of the field for the touchdown on Sunday night.
Both play calls came on the Packers' corner-post concept. I have written extensively about the play-action passing game concept in the past. The play is a designed shot play in the Shanahan coaching tree system that seeks to take advantage of a secondary that might get overly aggressive in chasing the deep crossing route with the backside corner or cutting it with the safety, allowing the offense to hit the shot play over the top.
In Week 7 versus the Commanders, the Packers tried to hit this shot play to Doubs down the middle of the field but Doubs was unable to adjust his route as Rodgers was forced to scramble. Head coach Matt LaFleur said the Monday after the loss to the Commanders that Doubs ran the route called on the play but that he should have adjusted his route when he recognized the coverage bust and ran the corner route instead.
First play, 1st quarter, 1st-and-10 @ GB 25, 2:04 remaining
The Packers go under center on first down here with the shot play called. Doubs is the number two receiver in a trips bunch formation to the right running the corner post route.
The Commanders are playing a 3-deep-3-under fire zone.
As Doubs gets upfield, he breaks to the corner where the safety lets him go as he jumps the underneath routes coming into those zones. Doubs is open over the middle of the field as he breaks to the post but the back side corner is racing deep to cut the post route. It is in this sequence as he clears the safety that LaFleur says he should have seen that coverage bust. I am not sure I agree with that.
The play was doomed from the start as Rodgers had pressure and was forced to roll to his right instead of setting up after the play action fake behind the line of scrimmage. Nowhere in the route does Doubs even have a chance to feel the quarterback scrambling with his back toward the line of scrimmage though it is reasonable he should have seen the coverage bust.
That’s a veteran instinct he just as of yet does not possess. And typically, the route in this offense is not adjusted to stay on the corner stem, it is only adjusted to run the corner post based on the leverage if that specific route is not called. Either way, it is a good lesson learned for the young receiver and young receiving corps that would pay in week eight.
Second play, 4th quarter, 2nd-and-10 @ BUF 37, 6:24 remaining
This is the same play but it is run from the shotgun with a nearly identical formation to the right with the trips formation. The only difference is they are a bit more spread out and in less of a bunch formation.
The other adjustment on this play accounts for the backside corner where the receiver, Sammy Watkins, runs a “Miami” route where he sits over the middle of the field at a depth of around 15 yards and can work back outside away from the corner in man coverage.
The Bills are in Tampa-2 coverage with a deep middle-of-the-field zone dropping linebacker between two safeties in a two-deep shell.
Rodgers and the receivers likely worked on this during the week, knowing where and when to recognize the need for a route adjustment after what happened the week prior. It paid off. Rodgers executed the play action fake and rolled right to set up. He wanted to throw the post portion of the route stem to Toure but the safety was sitting in the deep half and in a prime position to affect the play.
Rodgers bought some time as he shuffled back to the middle of the field and when Toure recognized that the ball was not in the air and the safety was sitting in the deep half, he reversed his track and worked back to the middle of the field where Rodgers placed a perfect pass to him in the back of the end zone.
Doubs also had a great night, reeling in four passes for 64 yards and one touchdown.
Persistence pays off for the rookie Romeo Doubs, who's struggled with drops recently, makes a nice adjustment on this pass from Rodgers in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown catch. pic.twitter.com/BRq2XD2WyS— Rich (@richjmadrid) November 3, 2022
The receiver room is thin right now with injuries and on Sunday they were without Lazard and Cobb. Watson also left the game early giving the other rookies a chance to step up and both Doubs and Toure did in big ways to help the offense. Unfortunately, it was not enough but both showed promising signs to take with them into the second half of the season.