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Packers Film Room: Green Bay’s use of motion to create space

The Packers' offense found success using motion on 18 pass plays for Jordan Love, most of which involved the Dolphins' “cheat” motion, to create space for the receivers.

Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins under head coach Mike McDaniel have revolutionized offensive football this season with their use of speed motion with their fastest players to create space and open throwing lanes. The Green Bay Packers have recently started utilizing this same motion with some of their core concepts and did so to great effect Sunday versus the Los Angeles Rams.

The fast motion is one the Packers have already used this season, where they will fast motion into a stack or bunch to get their receivers a free release and create space. Usually, the defense can’t bump fast enough, causing them to hesitate for a split second until they sort out their coverage rules. At that point, receivers in the pattern are already open because they essentially get a running head start.

This is an adjustment to the league-wide trend of defenses adjusting to jet motions across the formation. With jet motion, the defense has time to react and adjust accordingly. With a fast motion to a bunch or out wide on the same side, the defense has less time to adjust, leaving them vulnerable to coverage busts and blown assignments.

It’s unclear what the Dolphins are calling this motion, but Kyle Shanahan has dubbed it “cheat” motion because “It looks hard to stop people like Tyreek and Deebo and stuff with a running start. That’s usually only in the CFL. So it’s cool to get them running sideways and still find a way to hit it vertically.”

The Dolphins used Tyreek Hill on the motion to get him open early in the season on dig routes and used other receivers on the motion to get him open.

Then the 49ers began using it after Week 1 with their stars.

The Rams also started using it after week one as well.

The motion is a way to get the receivers a running start. You can see the advantage this has for someone with Hill’s speed. It messes with the defense in two ways: 1) it creates potential mismatches by getting faster receivers on slower defenders and 2) it can open space by pulling the coverage apart horizontally.

The Packers have been using short fast motions into the formation from the outside since Week 1 to get receivers open across the middle.

Here, the Packers are running a dagger concept against the Bears' cover-3 “site” or cover-3 “mable” coverage. The dagger route is coming from the #1 receiver outside behind the deep crossing route from the #2 receiver in the slot. The tight end, #3 is the checkdown in the flat. The progression for Love is the deep crosser to the dagger/dig route, to the checkdown.

The Bears try to pass off the motion of the as the #1 receiver, Jayden Reed (No. 11) outside becomes the #2 receiver post-snap, who then becomes the final #3 receiver across the middle. The Bears don’t adequately pass them off as Tremaine Edmunds at that point should carry the final #3 across on the crossing route.

Here’s all the Packers' fast motion to the formation from Week 1.

In Week 9, this is the first week that the Packers have relied extensively on the cheat motion with their core concepts.

Jordan Love threw an explosive pass off the cheat motion to the outside on a concept that put stress on the intermediate coverage and got Musgrave open on a deep crossing route.

It looks like the Rams are playing quads/quarters coverage and no one picks up Musgrave on the crosser. This isn’t Troy Reeder’s (No. 59) responsibility, it should be Christian Rozeboom (No. 56) as the middle hook/final #3 defender. But the formation already dictated this match-up and put the Rams' defense in conflict even before the motion. The motion further stretched them apart. Love lofts the pass over Reeder who is trailing underneath.

The Packers ran the motion eight times, six on passing plays. Here’s a cut-up of all their passes and runs using the fast motion/cheat motion.

Overall the Packers averaged 6.1 yards per play while using motion versus the Rams in Week 9 and Jordan Love finished 16/18, 147 yards, and one touchdown on plays with motion. Head coach Matt LaFleur has to find a way to continue to manufacture a cheap offense for his young quarterback and receivers going forward.