Opposing defenses are playing Aaron Rodgers like a fiddle

One of my greatest problems with the Green Bay Packers‘ offense this season is simply how a lot it’s letting opposing defenses dictate issues. For a median NFL group, they’ll learn about movie all week, establish weaknesses within the opposing defenses, and resolve which in their same old performs is perhaps to take advantage of the ones weaknesses. They will typically cross the additional mile and work out what changes the protection is more likely to make to catch up on the ones weaknesses and what spaces might be uncovered as a outcome. This procedure all makes a lot of sense.

The Packers then, are a more or less insane. They as a substitute run their same old performs, which contain a lot of RPOs, and react to what the protection presentations them. There is, in idea, not anything fallacious with making your play name in accordance with the perceived weak spot of the glance that the protection is appearing you. The downside arises for the reason that Packers are SO very predictable in how their RPOs paintings, after they run, and the way they’ll react. We’ve noticed examples of this the final two weeks, and it’s frankly getting ridiculous. Back in 2019, the Packers ran RPOs 11.2% of the time. That higher to 17.7% of the time in 2020, 19.2% of the time in 2021, and the entire approach as much as 26.8% of the time this season. That’s a lot of RPOs!

And the RPOs the Packers are operating aren’t nice RPOs! I might extremely suggest this video from Dusty Evely breaking down of a few of Aaron’s RPO performs from Week 5.

One fascinating factor that Dusty mentions is that on RPOs, Rodgers prefers to make his learn pre-snap, now not post-snap. Here, I wish to be transparent to tell apart my opinion from Dusty’s:

Dusty as it should be issues out that their RPO operating recreation is healthier than their non-RPO operating recreation, and as it should be notes the restricted upside. I for my part assume Aaron’s pre-snap philosophy and that restricted upside create extra problems than they are value.

For something, if Dusty is aware of that Rodgers is making pre-snap RPO reads, it manner Packer combatants realize it too, because of this that they are able to each are expecting what Rodgers’ learn might be, and much more than that, pressure him into both a run or a move. I consider we noticed this very factor at the 4th and a pair of play in opposition to the Giants, the place a run virtually indubitably choices up a first down. The Giants as a substitute loaded the field, making sure a move, and took their probabilities with press protection and robust drive. Instead of the Packers forcing the motion, the Giants have been ready to inform the Packers what to do. And the Packers did it! That’s now not a great place.

If you assume I’m overstating my case, there are a number of different signs of the similar factor. One of the strangest info about this season is that Aaron Jones has run into precisely one 8-man field (or larger) all season, according to NextGenStats (and kudos to Zach Kruse for first elevating this.) That’s unhealthy!

Yes, at the floor it will sound excellent that you just’re most effective operating in opposition to mild bins and most effective throwing in opposition to heavy ones, but it surely’s now not! It’s too predictable! It’s like a poker participant who most effective remains in with a sturdy hand and not wins any cash as a result of everybody can inform he has a sturdy hand. These dispositions give away the sport, and put you in a unhealthy spot. You wish to run into heavy bins sometimes simply to stay a group truthful. Outliers like that may every now and then be excellent, however they are able to even be proof of a mistaken procedure, particularly in a recreation idea state of affairs. Which that is.

And in spite of everything,

This is all very dumb, particularly with out a Watkins/Watson at the group. This may be kind of the other of the Aaron Jones level. It makes sense to take the occasional deep shot on 3rd/4th and brief to stay the protection truthful. It’s completely now not a excellent thought to be on the most sensible of the league in passes and air yards right here. The downside is that on 3rd/4th and brief, you’re necessarily dealing with a turnover state of affairs. Your odds of operating for a first down or throwing a shorter move for one are a lot better than your odds of hitting that bomb. Yes, the bomb has a large payoff, however the extraordinarily prime failure price makes an eventual punt very most likely. Most defenses are completely prepared to make this tradeoff to close down a Packer force, and will simply achieve this via loading the field, the place Aaron will exchange to a move.

With over a quarter of offensive performs now coming by the use of the RPO, it must in idea be a extremely environment friendly play, and on any other group with any other quarterback, it could be. The indisputable fact that Rodgers is so predictable, makes use of pre-snap reasonably than post-snap reads, and will’t even run anymore must the location name for it, creates a state of affairs easiest for any opposing protection. Every opponent enters understanding that during key scenarios they are able to dictate precisely what Rodgers will name, and regulate to that decision. Royce Newman has been atrocious at guard. AJ Dillon has been unhealthy at operating again. The receivers have underperformed, and gotten harm. All of this is true. This predictability – this telling the protection precisely what’s coming – is worse than it all.

Leave a Comment