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Packers Film Room: Execution issues plague the offense in Week 7, pt. 1

Part 1 of this film room looks at the run game struggles and failed screen passes in the loss at Denver.

Green Bay Packers v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers lost another game largely to bad execution on offense from all 11 players. The result: 19-17 loss in Denver in Week 7 and a 2-4 record. Yet again, at least for the offense, this was a winnable game but several players made too many critical errors in blocking, route running, etc., for it to be a different outcome.

The execution nightmares that have plagued the offense virtually all season continued from the very first drive in this game to the last one where a costly interception thrown by Jordan Love gave his receiver no chance at a play on an underthrown ball. In the first three quarters of the game, when the Packers struggled to get anything going, they ranked 22nd out of 26 teams in success rate on first and second down due in large part to these errors.

Missed run blocks

In run blocking, the offensive line and tight ends continue to miss critical assignments blocking up front, due largely to poor technique and some injuries. This combined for a negative overall EPA of -.063 on first and second down running plays through the first three quarters too. In 25 total plays on first down, the Packers ran the ball 17 times. On 2nd down, they faced an average of 8.2 yards to go, due primarily to run-blocking issues.

The little details are killing the running game. Here Elgton Jenkins is nowhere near ready to catch that defensive tackle on a back door slant versus the Packers outside zone weak. His feet get crossed up, he has too much forward lean, and the defensive tackle is able to swipe his hands away. Running back Aaron Jones doesn’t even have the ball yet before the defender is in the backfield. Jones loses a yard.

On the next drive, on what ends up as a positive play on the stat sheet, a 5-yard gain on first down, Jon Runyan Jr loses ground to the defensive tackle and limits a potentially explosive run play to just five yards.

The defensive tackle is playing gap-and-a-half technique on Runyan here. His primary gap is the B-gap so he shoots his inside arm to Runyan’s inside shoulder and holds his gap while the run develops. As soon as the running back declares his intent, Runyan is tossed aside and the defender makes the stop. DJ Jones never allows Runyan to get up on him and Runyan’s hands are too high to affect this blocker. It goes for five yards because the Broncos were in a lighter box here.

In the second clip, the Packers are running inside zone with Runyan missing a block on Mike Purcell because he did not get his head to the outside of Purcell. This is a tough reach block for a lineman on this play and in the Shanahan system, the offensive line is taught to get their head to the outside of the defender to keep the illusion of the wide zone running game. The second they don’t, the defensive tackle reads inside zone and can shed the block and that’s exactly what Purcell does.

Ineffective screen game

The Packers ran several screen passes but only had one positive gain, a 14-yard quick jailbreak screen to the right in the 2nd quarter.

For the most part, of all the called screens except for that one were busts due to missed blocks on the perimeter.

In the first clip, a tight end screen to Musgrave, the design is kind of wonky with the fast motion to the screen side. The motion bumps the linebackers over and LB47 is able to flow outside the blockers and make the play in the alley. In the second clip, Watson is the motion man who catches the screen but Rasheed Walker (No. 63) can’t stay engaged with the defensive end who ends up making the play and forcing Watson out of bounds.

In the third clip, the defensive tackle stops his pursuit upfield when Runyan lets him go. Jones, trying to leak out, gets caught up with the defender and the pass falls incomplete.

Part two will look at some other glaring issues that deserve its own post and it will primarily be centered on the wide receivers and their lack of attention to detail, a common theme in many games this season.