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!
  2. Big Announcement Coming for 2015 Football Season!!

    Be on the look out for a big Packer Forum announcement when the schedule is released. Full details coming soon... Update: Announcement to be released on MONDAY!

Packers Red Zone Problems

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by FrankRizzo, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    Messages:
    5,889
    Ratings:
    +1,679
    This has been the big topic since yesterday, but also much of the year.
    Rodgers' TD's are down, Crosby's had to kick many more FGs than you'd like.
    We want him to kick XP's, not FG's.

    In my opinion, they forget about the serious height mismatch J-Mike has in there.
    Remember the games vs the Cardinals down the stretch in 2009 and the Steelers?

    Defenses have adjusted to the routes Jordy, Cobb and Jones do down there... but to our fault, we have forgotten about this way too often down there:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  2. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,286
    Ratings:
    +1,453
    boils down to poor play calling. One could say lack of execution, but the players have to deal with bone headed plays being called in and have to make the best of it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    2,576
    Ratings:
    +1,000
    Maybe these images stick in the coach's and QB's minds. Finley is capable of making the great catch, then dropping the next one in the numbers.


    [​IMG]
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Funny Funny x 1
  4. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    Messages:
    791
    Ratings:
    +324
    Seems like we're using Finley in the middle of the End zone a lot when he should be working the deep corners on those jump balls.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  5. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    Messages:
    5,889
    Ratings:
    +1,679
    Exactly. Utilize the size mismatch out on the edge.
     
  6. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,521
    Ratings:
    +1,441
    I'm all about using mismatches too, but I'm going to push back on your images above. Seriously? You found four images of Finley jumping while the other guy was on the ground. Darren Sproles would look good jumping when nobody else is doing the same!

    To your original point, we've scored 118 points so far this season which. For comparison we only scored 85 points through four games last season, 148 in the unicorn 2011 season, 106 in 2010, and 104 in 2009. Yes we struggled on Sunday but our scoring is UP. Our defense has allowed more scores than usual but I'm not surprised with two starters missing in the secondary. You can say what you want about records so far this season, but we've played four quality opponents this season with top defenses (except the Lions) and top QBs.

    We are about to enter the easier part of our schedule. As usual, I'm not starting to rub the panic button as fast as everyone else.
     
  7. buggybill2003

    buggybill2003 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,152
    Ratings:
    +1,797
    I`m just checking, are we Findley bashing again ??? He isn`t the only one missing balls. Come on guys, give the guy some respect here. He`s improved a lot this season so far. JMHO
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Messages:
    4,942
    Ratings:
    +2,241
    I think this is the one area where Jennings is missed. Nelson's and Jones' strengths are on the perimeter; they don't have Jennings' skill or fearlessness on inside routes. Adjustments need to be made. Cobb needs to be more productive out of the slot in close quarters.

    While I've generally been a supporter of Finley (if not his mouth), he's not a great route runner. He still plays on physical talent, he's a workout warrior and puts in the time on the physical aspects of the game, but he needs to be a better student of the game. That said, as noted previously by others, we haven't seen one of those sideline jump balls in a while where you have to like Finley's odds.

    In general, the offense seems more risk averse.

    My biggest complaint about MM's play calling is those runs with a full house backfield, or inverted wishbone as it were, or an 8 man line, on first down. Unless and until he can show an imaginative pass play out of those formations, defenses will continue to sell out on the run with the usual result...losing yards as we saw twice in the second half against Detroit. It seems to me the film sets up a play action roll out to single coverages...I think I've seen it once with only one receiver option. Get Finley crossing with WR on a go and he might have something.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  9. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,521
    Ratings:
    +1,441
    I'm fine with him holding back on some of those imaginative plays until the playoffs, or when it's absolutely needed
     
  10. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Messages:
    4,942
    Ratings:
    +2,241
    If you break pattern with success and get in on film, then you can benefit from defensive uncertainty for the balance of the season and into the playoffs. When you're running a 10-6 operation, as this continues to appear, you need to grab an edge when you can get it. Further, an idea that is never field tested getting dragged out in the playoffs has a much reduced chance of success.

    In the mean time, those run plays don't work. Continuing to use them to set up a playoff surprise is putting the cart way in front of the horse. The larger the portfolio of successful plays on tape, the better, since it forces defenses to account for more possibilities.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,286
    Ratings:
    +1,453
    what chapped my arse for play calling was when we had a 3rd down and 3 yards to go, MM calls a fake hand off to the left, rodgers roll out to the right (typically a deep ball play), then Arod throws it long for an incompletion.......???? HELLO !!!! It was 3rd and 3, no need for the home run ball, you need 3 yards.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. Hjalmar Davidson

    Hjalmar Davidson Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Ratings:
    +64
    Finley was suppose to be focal point of the offensive game plan for the Cincy game but was lost early in that game . I'm sure they planned to use him much more than they have. Finley will make a lot of plays this year, but you have to take what they give you too. Frankly, I think the focus on the running game is having an effect on his touches and I like it.
     
  13. Bensalama21

    Bensalama21 Ben

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,564
    Ratings:
    +606
    I agree completely. Up until Finley was injured in 2010, we would literally throw it to Finley every time within 10 yards.. With Rodgers accuracy and Finley's height, you would think we would do it more often.

    Fun Fact: The last time we attempted a fade for Finley was in 2011, the Panthers game. It was ruled that he was out of bounds, but replay showed that it was a touchdown (even though it wasn't challengeable)
     
  14. Shanghai Pack

    Shanghai Pack Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Ratings:
    +27
    I said after the Cincinnati game that one of the three things I was concerned with in the season so far McCarthy’s inconsistency in being aggressive, specifically how he won't go for 4th and ones deep in the opponents territory but does go for 4th and longer in the middle of the field. I really think his decision making in the red zone, particularly on when to go for it that has been the root of our problem in producing FGs and not TDs these last two games.

    On the plus side, McCarthy has gone for it on 4th and about 5 from around the 40 in both the Redskins and Lions games. It's a super aggressive move I love as you're in a situation where a punt is probably going to be a touchback meaning you're only risking about a net gain of 20 yrds, and by putting the ball in the hands of Rodgers, one of the best QBs in the league you have a great chance to continue the drive and get points. It worked in both situations (in the Lions game because a penalty salvaged a bad Finley drop; thanks Jermichael, good to see you're back) and in the Redskins game it ended up as a TD and against the Lions it was a FG.

    But for the second game in a row he passed up a 4th and 1 inside the red zone to kick a super short FG. In the case of the Lions, this was to put us up 9 to 3 in the third quarter, a fairly meaningless point addition given how much time was on the clock still and that we'd be down if the Lions got one TD. The statistical evidence (for more I'd recommend reading Bill Barnwell on Grantland) is very clear on this point, if you have a 4th and 1 inside the opponent’s twenty, you go for it, with the rarest of exceptions. McCarthy's decision making has been particularly baffling as a 4th and 1 conversion is a lot simpler than a 4th and 5 and getting a first down inside the 20 is much more valuable than getting a first down inside the 40. It’s especially disconcerting considering that we’ve run the ball very well this season and we presumably invested a second round pick in the running game in order to be able to go for and pick up the first down in these kind of situations. In comparing the two situations relatively, McCarthy is taking the choice with the lower reward and higher risk only to pass on the one with higher reward and less risk. That's simple wrong. And what's the reason for doing it? Increasing our lead to 6 points with so much time left in the game? Just ensuring we get some amount of points on a drive? More confidence for Crosby? I hate this particular inconsistency and really feel like it will bite us in the *** at some point (I wouldn't argue with you saying it did already in the Bengals game).
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Shanghai Pack

    Shanghai Pack Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Ratings:
    +27
    I also would like the idea of putting Finley on the edge inside the red zone to try and use his height mismatch but also to free up someone like Jones or Nelson to run a crossing route and try and create more space to throw it in.

    One other specific scheme adjustment I would really be interested in seeing them try in the red zone is a package that has Cobb lined up in the backfield. The series in the third where we tried it was the most alive the offense looked all day and while you wouldn't want to try it consistently for fear of injuring Cobb on a run, I'd love to see it be something we use near the end zone on occasion. Spread out the defense and have Cobb streak out in the flat in space or take a handoff and burst up the middle and try and score. I think there's a lot of intriguing possibilities here.
     
  16. Bus Cook

    Bus Cook You're never alone with a schizophrenic

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    464
    Ratings:
    +226
    With most teams playing some version of the cover two against us, the best way to exploit that is with a tight end or WR able to get into the middle. So I think using JF there is his best use. The cover two breaks down in the red zone as there is no "deep" to cover, so I agree that JF should get some jump balls
     
  17. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,521
    Ratings:
    +1,441
    I generally agree with your points about going for it on 4th down in certain situations, but I disagree with this one....and I've read Barnwell's stuff. Statistics are statistics. When your team is clawing for points you take 3 of them when you can. Statistically this season you've got a 100% chance of Crosby getting you 3 points and a 1 in 3 chance of Rodgers converting on 4th down. Take the points.

    The problem with statistics dictating coaching is that statistics don't take situational factors into account. That's why coaches coach and statisticians (like myself) sit on the sidelines
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Messages:
    4,942
    Ratings:
    +2,241
    I have mixed feelings on this. We can all appreciate the virtues of ball control, burning clock and wearing down the opposing defense..."matriculating down the field" as it were. I myself was critical of Rodgers last season for looking past a wide open Finley for a first down on several occasions in favor of the deep ball.

    On the other hand, lets look at some other missed opportunities in this Detroit game. Taylor dropped that down field seam ball in the first quarter with what looked like clear sailing ahead. We settled for a field goal. Then there was the sideline TD ball to Jones that was called back for not getting his second foot in bounds. Another field goal. Those plays would have brought us to a total of 3 quick-strike pass TDs for the game, resembling the 2011 method of winning. Would we then be so critical if those other plays had these down field passes been executed?

    In the end, this is a big play offense with a big play QB. My feelings are mixed because I lean a bit toward taking the bad with the good, while on the other hand, when facing a tough defense, as we surely will again, the virtues of "matriculating" are obvious. A lot has to do with the opponent, the match-ups, the game situation.

    Here's an alternative thought worth considering when ball control is dictated. How often per season has McCarthy called a run on 3rd.-and-a-long-3 in the post Ahman Green era when not trying to run out the clock? Once, twice, none? How about spreading the D with a typical pass formation in that situation...3-wide, 4-wide, and giving Lacy the ball? An earlier post rightly noted a pulling guard on one play, an uncommon sight in GB in recent years. Well, how about the draw, also rarely seen is recent times? We have a three-down back now (albeit requiring some polish) who can get the job done, not some wannabe third-down player like Jackson or Alex Green who were space players unable to break tackles or fall forward in tough going.

    My biggest concern in MM's play calling is predictability. A token "show" a couple times per year that fails is not "mixing it up". These things have to be field tested with serious intent in practice and on the field. Showing something when it doesn't matter or fails with consistency accomplishes nothing. Introducing variety, a measure of unpredictability, to get a defense off balance requires some imagination and risk. MM is risk averse in a peculiar way. It doesn't seem that he is because of our predilection for the deep ball. But he's not afraid to go down the field because of Rodgers' relatively high level of success while avoiding picks...the deep ball has the advantage of getting quick points with a low risk component.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  19. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,286
    Ratings:
    +1,453
    Dont get me wrong, I wasnt saying that a pass on 3rd and 3 was a bad idea, it was the long ball shot he took. I'm sure if I went back and looked at the game on DVR, I could find an open man past the 1st down marker that was in a more high percentage catch situation. My main point was why go for the home run when all you need was 3 yards? Now if it was a blown coverage and our guy was all alone, then yes, but this was not the situation.
     
  20. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Messages:
    4,942
    Ratings:
    +2,241
    I got what you were saying. With my "mixed feeling" I thought I expressed some agreement. On the other hand there are other factors...the strengths or our long game, situational play and the benefits of introducing variety within a give set.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  21. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    3,824
    Ratings:
    +2,927
    IMO with a few exceptions we fans just don’t know enough about the intricacies of the schemes on both sides of the ball and the constant "chess match" of matchups to intelligently criticize the play calling. Of course there are exceptions – like the fourth and short against Cincinnati where the options were somewhat limited, but we should keep in mind McCarthy’s options on that play were also limited. Starks, Lacy, and Kuhn were unavailable – he had exactly one option at RB and that RB had had a fantastic day running the ball up to that point.

    The other problem I have with criticizing play calling is second guessing is so easy. McCarthy has been very aggressive going for it on fourth downs except for “gimme” FGs. If he goes for it deep in enemy territory and they don’t make it, it’s easy to scream ‘take the points’ particularly if it ends up being a close game. BTW, that reminds me of Lombardi’s only playoff loss (1960 championship game). He eschewed FGs deep in Eagles’ territory on more than one occasion and the Packers lost by 4 as time ran out with the Packers at the Eagles’ 22 yard line. After the game Lombardi said, “When you get down there, come out with something. I lost the game, not my players.” Anyway I think it makes sense to go for it on 4th and 5 or fewer when a punt into the EZ would only gain 15-20 yards in field position. It is not (what I consider the crazy) “never punt” but it makes sense IMO.

    IMO when play calling is criticized it is usually a matter of execution, not the play call:
    Rodgers was the one with the options on this play. He could have audibled to the run, run the ball himself, or selected a closer target.

    Whether or not you “count” Cobb’s long run (I too don’t know how one excludes it), how about that play call? I only bring that up to say we very seldom see praise for the play call when plays are successful. A better example was Jones’ long TD. That play isolated the Lions’ safety Delmas, number 26. He was the one that took the embarrassing angle on Cobb’s long run. On the TD pass, Jones was lined up wide left and Cobb was in the slot on that side vs. a 2 deep alignment, with Delmas lined up deep on that side. Both Jones and Cobb ran vertical routes and both had a step on their defenders when Delmas had to decide which to double. He chose Cobb and Rodgers’ perfect pass was all that was necessary. The play design against that D was great because Delmas was in a no win situation: If he would have doubled Jones, there was no way the other deep safety would have been able to get to an open Cobb in time. The play design and call made the difference against the defensive alignment.

    For those thinking I’m just making excuses for McCarthy consider that ultimately he’s responsible for both the play call and the execution of plays. Finally, looking at the production of McCarthy’s Packers offenses should give Packers fans pause in going overboard criticizing his play calling.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  22. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    1,039
    Ratings:
    +368
    I've said this before and I still believe it, for whatever reason Rodgers doesn't throw those high passes very often. Most of the passes targeted towards Finley in the endzone tend to be at chest height, the kind of pass he would sneak in to Cobb or Jennings. I don't know if it's just not practiced or if Rodgers is just a guy that likes to throw to guys running in stride.
     
  23. I_am_smoked_cheddar

    I_am_smoked_cheddar Guest

    Ratings:
    +0
    It's not so hard of a problem to figure out. The red zone plays of the Packers are known by the other teams. They've been seeing these same plays for years. Fresh ideas/plays are the answer or vintage plays that teams have not seen the Packers run for a long time and will not be expecting. Plays that line up as familiar, then develop in unexpected ways. Sometimes it's magic to change your M.O. .
     
  24. buggybill2003

    buggybill2003 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,152
    Ratings:
    +1,797
    TJV, I read your comment, and as usual I respect your opinion greatly, but I would take issue with one tiny bit. I TOTALLY accept that McCarthy is responsible for the play calling, but he`s hardly responsible for the execution. Thats down to the players surely ?? Just a small point :tup:
     
  25. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    3,824
    Ratings:
    +2,927
    That's why I modified it with "ultimately" responsible. If a player is inconsistent in the execution of plays (like Ross), it's up to McCarthy and his staff to let him go. But if a player is usually dependable and fails on a particular play, I agree with you, that's on the player.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page