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Packers HC breaks down Jordan Love’s 1st interception vs. Steelers

Head coach Matt LaFleur gave some insight into the details of route running on Jordan Love’s throw to Christian Watson that was intercepted late in the 4th quarter.

Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love has had an up-and-down season so far, starting out hot, fizzling out, and regaining some steam down the stretch. The box score from Week 10 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t show it, but Love made several high-quality throws to give his team chances to score while also missing some opportunities. Some were blamed on him at the end of the game though but head coach Matt LaFleur might think otherwise, as indicated by his words on Monday.

Overall, Love’s final stat sheet indicated the quarterback finished 21/40, 289 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. There were two dropped passes in there as well. And on his first interception, Christian Watson shares a good chunk of the blame for at least running a poor route. His second interception was a desperation heave to the goal line with 0:03 remaining on the clock.

Question: On the interception, was that not the right read on the first one?

On Love’s first interception, LaFleur again took the time to explain how these things occur and why it’s not always as simple or as black and white as blaming the quarterback for the end result of a turnover. “Yeah, you know I think if he [Jordan Love] throws a perfect ball, I think there’s an opportunity there. I think there’s a lot of things that could have gone differently on that play.”

The play call is a double move “Omaha and go” or “Omaha pump” to the offense’s left with a backside dig (basic)/spot route combination. Watson is running the “Omaha pump” double-move route and Luke Musgrave is running a stick-nod (double-move stick with an upfield cut).

Omaha is a quick out route by the outside receiver, usually a stick route on the inside. Across the board, its base install play is a mirrored 2x2 all quick out concept called “Omaha” with Omaha routes on the outside and stick routes on the inside.

Omaha and go or Omaha pump is the double move here. “We’ve got to make sure that when we’re running a double move, you always run the first move and put your eyes back to the quarterback to maybe get a defender to bite.”

LaFleur continued:

“If you’re running what we call an Omaha pump, a quick out and up, you want to make sure that you flash your eyes and run the Omaha portion of the route to hopefully get the defender to bite to open up the second portion of that route.”

The Steelers defense is in red zone quarters coverage.

Love drops back and pumps in the direction of Watson and Musgrave. Notice how Watson doesn’t get his eyes around. As a result, Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson never really bites on the out portion of the route stem and stays in phase with Watson, pressing him into the sideline with inside leverage as Love throws.

“Luke (Musgrave) did a really nice job of getting his eyes back on what we call a stick, when he ran the stick portion of the route to hopefully get the guy covering him to undercut the route and open up downfield so that’s where you would like the ball to have gone to him eventually. I don’t think the basic was coming open but the bottom line is you don’t want to turn the ball over in that situation.”

It would‘ve been a tough play to move off Watson and create out of structure but Love has to recognize the leverage and at least throw the ball up and over Peterson instead of throwing it inside. Watson doesn’t run a great route and gives Love no margin for error but Love still forced a pass he probably shouldn’t have.

To quote LaFleur after the Vikings game, if the process isn’t right, “Over time that’s going to lead to more poor results than it will be for one successful play. So it’s all those little details that are so important that in my mind really separate good from great in this league.”