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New coordinator takes offensive

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packers Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    Nov 22, 2005
    Fontana, CA
    [email protected]
    Posted: April 16, 2007

    Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin isn't new to the team, just new to the position he holds, so when he conducted a complete review of the 2006 offense he was familiar with everything.

    New offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will look to improve the Packers' rushing offense.

    What's different is that Philbin now bears the responsibility of finding out what worked and what didn't and, most important, identifying what the offense can do better and how to go about doing it. During the weeks that followed the Packers' 8-8 finish, Philbin and the offensive staff pored over tape of every game.

    They evaluated the offense systematically, starting with the running game and going on to protection, passing concepts, route running and situational efficiency. Grades were given to players for just about everything they did, but especially for decision-making, so that when they returned for off-season workouts March 19 they could go to work on corrections.

    "We graded every decision that a running back made on every run he made," said Philbin, the offensive line coach in 2006. "We've got comments: 'Hey, we think you cut it back too early, you didn't press the hole enough,' or 'good decision.' We have every route, every throw the quarterback threw, gave him a plus or minus on the decision he made.

    "There's a lot of information for the players to digest. They enjoy watching themselves on film more than they do watching somebody else anyway. This was certainly an opportunity for them to do that."

    Naturally, some of the most comprehensive work was done in the running game, where former offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski installed a lead zone attack last year. The combination of being in the first year of the system and having three rookie offensive linemen start a combined 38 games led to a mediocre showing.

    The Packers ranked 23rd in rushing and 21st in rushing average, which should never happen in this system. The top two zone-blocking offenses, Denver and Atlanta, ranked eighth and first in rushing, respectively, last season.

    After examining every run play the Packers called last season, Philbin found three common themes as to why the run game lacked success.

    "The movement of the defensive end at the point of attack is something that at times we didn't do well enough," Philbin said. "That was No. 1. Then with the backs, especially the two-back attack in the zone game you have to have the right timing, and the spacing between those guys is critical. There has to be a little bit of separation between those two guys."

    The coaches talked all season long about the backside cut-blocking - away from the direction the run is headed - identifying it as a reason running backs were being dragged down behind the line of scrimmage. But the front-side blocking of the defensive end was something they came to focus on this off-season.

    Philbin said too often the front side end wasn't driven off the ball or down the line, crowding things for the running back and forcing him to make a premature cut. It becomes a domino effect because the fullback can't get to his man, the halfback doesn't have a cutback lane and the backside defenders, if not cut properly, are there to clean up.

    "Everything is interrelated," Philbin said. "It's not just one thing, but if that end doesn't get moved, if we get a stalemate or we get pads opened too fast by that tackle, then the back isn't going to get where he needs to go and it's going to impact the spacing between the fullback and halfback.

    "And the backside cuts become even more critical and the lane just shrinks. It's important to really move that guy."

    Philbin said sometimes the blame lay with the tackles - Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher and Tony Moll - whose primary role is to move the defensive end, and sometimes it was with the rookie guards - Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz - who are supposed to double-team the end before moving on to block a linebacker.

    Throughout off-season workouts and training camp, Philbin expects to emphasize that part of the game with his linemen.

    Another area he wants to work on is the spacing between the halfback and fullback. Too often, the fullback was getting in the way of the halfback, and the ability to make cuts was greatly diminished.

    Given that mainstays Ahman Green and William Henderson are both gone, it will be up to Vernand Morency and Brandon Miree to develop that chemistry, at least until a draft pick is added to the mix.

    Philbin said not much would change with the passing game, but there will be some adjustments with protection and there will be an emphasis on reducing the number of dropped passes. The Packers led the NFL with 43, which was part of the reason they completed an unacceptable 56% of their passes.

    "Overall, we have to catch the ball better, be more precise in fundamentals in terms of our route-running and make sure we're making proper adjustments based on coverages we're seeing," Philbin said.
  2. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

    Likes Received:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Gulf Shores, Al
    Every player, every play, every game?


    I guess that would be considered a fairly complete anyalysis now wouldn't it?
  3. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    Aug 15, 2005
    at least he's thorough.
  4. PackOne

    PackOne Cheesehead

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    Apr 23, 2006
    I don't know quite how - and I should be ashamed. As a Packer and NFL diehard - and overall way above average sports fan, I was shocked that for some reason I had forgotten the Packers even had a new offensive coordinator. Since I only browse this forum from March till September, I'm sure this topic has been hashed and re-hashed. Despite this - and even though I somehow dismissed this coordinator thing as forgettable in the numerous papers I read each day, my questions are as follows -

    1. Do we like this guy ?
    2. He obviously was promoted from within - did he do a good job last year in his former position ?
    3. Was there any fan outcry, or was there a reason we didn't go out and entertain any more experienced - ala 'big name' offensive guru's?

    I am confident that the technical Packer fans on this site will more than dissect the situation for me. Thanks in advance.
  5. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

    Likes Received:
    May 31, 2005
    Marquette, Michigan
    I'll do my best to answer your questions--in reverse order.

    3. There was no fan outcry. Because of the zone blocking scheme, it was expected that the Packers would promote from within, and Philbin was the most logical candidate. Hiring a more big-name coordinator would've meant scrapping the blocking scheme after one year, after having drafted linemen who were a good fit for the system.

    2. It's hard to tell how well Philbin did as O-line coach last year. He had a lot of young players, and it was a brand new scheme, so the up-down performance was probably inevitable. There was some improvement toward the end of the season, and hopefully Philbin had something to do with that.

    1. We don't know this guy yet, so most of us don't know whether or not we like him. Because McCarthy calls the plays, it may take us awhile to decide if we like Philbin.

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