1. Welcome to Green Bay Packers NFL Football Forum & Community!
    Packer Forum is one of the largest online communities for the Green Bay Packers.

    You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

Max(imum) Protect(ion)

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TJV, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Feb 22, 2011
    One of the interesting developments so far this season IMO is the number of “max protect” pass plays I’ve seen, not just by the Packers but around the league. It’s no doubt part of the ever-evolving chess game between OCs and DCs. Or maybe it’s just the Packers’ innovative use of max protect plays that has caught my attention and I’m paying more attention to them. In either event, the Packers offense is so diverse they can go from threatening defenses by sending 5 dangerous receivers into the pass pattern to going max protect and sending out just 2. McCarthy has called a particularly potent and innovative max protect play out of play action. It works because from their run to, and through the playoffs last season to date, the Packers have established their running game as a threat. Going into today’s game, they’re about in the middle of the league in rushing attempts and both of their RBs are averaging over 4 ypc. They aren’t dominant running the ball but they’re good enough so opponents have to respect their running game.

    The Packers’ first TD vs. Denver is an example of the play I’m talking about but it isn’t the only way they go max protect, of course. As you may remember, the Packers had the ball at the 50. They lined up with WRs to each side, both in fairly close. The TE (Crabtree I think) lined up strong right and Kuhn was in at FB. Pre snap it looks like a running formation. Rodgers does a great play action fake to the left of the offense, and then rolls to his right, going about 12 yards deep in the backfield before stepping up as the play developed. Kuhn, after faking left as if to block for the RB, comes back right and blocks in front of Rodgers. Only the 2 WRs are out in the pass pattern – the RB, HB and TE stayed in to block. Nelson motioned to a wider spot just before the snap and had enough time to fake a long pattern curving toward the flag before “weaving” (more a weave than a cut) back inside toward the post. Rodgers protection is so good by the time he threw the ball he was only about 8 or 9 yards deep in the backfield - he really stepped into the throw and hit Nelson at about the goal line in stride. Nelson was doubled with a CB and S but it didn’t matter. He left the CB in his dust upon his second weave and probably because the CB thought he had deep help. In spite of being very deep, the safety was caught back peddling as Nelson was running full speed by him as he turned the pattern toward the middle of the field. A beautifully designed play, very well executed. Even if Rodgers has to throw the ball away or check down to Kuhn, for example, releasing late the D has been stretched and threatened very deep. That has to open up more routes underneath.

    How does this relate to today’s game? With the Viking’s secondary as beat up (and on the police blotter) as they are, I expect to see some variations of max protect today. I’m not wild about the idea of 5 out in the pass pattern against the Viking’s pass rush and if we see that I expect it’ll be a three step drop. The certainty for defenses who play the Packers is they’ll see multiple, and I mean multiple, formations. And they’ll see plays run out of formations they haven’t seen before. If the Packers can protect Rodgers, let the Vikings double Jennings and/or Finley and/or Nelson or Jones. Much better that than to leave Newhouse on an island against Allen. Our best receivers against their second and third team DBs in a fast track, controlled environment which our MVP QB loves? Sounds good to me. If they can protect Rodgers it should be almost like the Lombardi Packers announcing a sweep is coming and defenses still not being able to stop it. If they can protect Rodgers. If they can protect Rodgers...

Share This Page