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Utilize Green on third down

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by IPBprez, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Posted Sep. 18, 2005
    [​IMG]
    Pete Dougherty

    Utilize Green on third down to spark offense

    The Green Bay Packers can’t replace Javon Walker. They have no receiver who can stretch defenses like he did, and no receiver who can occupy defensive game plans to his degree.

    But they have to do something to try to compensate for his loss, and one place to look is halfback Ahman Green.

    Keep in mind that amateurs make game-plan suggestions at their own peril. NFL coaches spend countless hours every week watching videotape of their players and the upcoming opponent. They study coaching and player tendencies to the hilt. They take into account factors a layman never would consider, and factors that even coaches on other teams couldn’t know about. Their decisions, though often wrong, are educated. If anything, game-planners have to beware of information overload.

    Nevertheless, there was something glaring with Green last week in the Packers’ 17-3 loss to Detroit that has to change, especially with their best receiver lost for the season.

    Truth be told, Green has been the focus of the Packers’ offense for several years. Opponents began acknowledging that three years ago. So this isn’t about getting Green more carries. He had only 12 last week against Detroit, but that was an aberration, a function of the seven accepted penalties against the Packers’ offense as much as anything. Those penalties created passing downs and shortened drives, which meant fewer carries.

    What the Packers need is to alter is when they use Green. Namely, they need to make sure he’s available for more third downs. Third down, after all, is make or break; conversion keeps the drive alive, and failure means a punt or field goal. With Walker out, Green and Favre are the Packers’ playmakers, so they need to get the most from those two as they can without ruining either’s health for the stretch drive.

    For the past two-plus seasons, coach Mike Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley generally have taken Green out of the third-down passing package and replaced him with Tony Fisher. They have their reasons. Green suffers from asthma, so if he doesn’t get regular rest, he can’t function. Despite Fisher’s poor game last week at Detroit, he’s a reliable third-down back who catches well and is sound picking up blitzes.

    Don’t short-sell the latter point, the importance of blitz pickup in the NFL. It’s crucial. Blitzes come from anywhere and everywhere and are a major arsenal in most defenses. They can blow up a play and beat up a quarterback. The blocking back has to make snap decisions and be in sync with the offensive line. With Fisher essentially playing exclusively in the third-down passing package, he can practice and study those situations all week. He’s well prepared for each opponent.

    But he’s simply too pedestrian a runner, both after the catch and on handoffs, to justify playing extensively on third down. The Packers need their most explosive runner on the field on third downs, when a broken tackle could be the difference between a new set of downs and a punt.

    Unofficially, Fisher took part in 22 snaps last week against Detroit. Green suffered from leg cramps, so that likely added to Fisher’s total, but that’s nearly one-third of the offensive plays, which is far too many.

    No doubt, playing Green on some or most third downs requires a tradeoff. He has to rest regularly because of the asthma, which means he’ll need to take off some early downs. Sherman and Rossley prefer him on the field then, for good reason. A good first-down run offers a play caller options and favorable matchups galore.

    But the Packers have a competent backup halfback in Najeh Davenport. They’ll have to use him.

    Also, there are no tradeoffs in the passing game by playing Green on more third downs. He was the Packers’ leading receiver in 2000 (73 receptions) and ’01 (62 receptions), so he’s proven he can catch the ball. Rossley said this week that Green excels in blitz pickup.

    The biggest risk is fumbling, but Green will get his touches one way or another, either on handoffs or in the passing game. Regardless, with no Walker, the Packers need the ball in their best carrier’s hands as much as he can handle it.

    Last week, Fisher got the ball four times on third downs and converted only one, a shovel pass on third-and-3 in the third quarter. On another, a third-and-2 pass, he never had a chance for the catch over the middle because two defenders drilled him as the ball arrived.

    But on two others, he caught passes and didn’t have the burst or elusiveness to challenge for the first down. On a third-and-11 dump-off, he was tackled after 8 yards and fumbled. And on a third-and-15 screen, he was caught for a 5-yard gain. Perhaps Green wouldn’t have converted either play, but his explosiveness and power would have given him a much better chance.

    No doubt, the biggest factor in how well or poorly the Packers compensate for losing Walker will be the play of Robert Ferguson and to a lesser degree, rookie Terrence Murphy, at receiver. Though Ferguson won’t be at Walker’s featured flanker position, he still should get chances to make plays, despite his suggestions to the contrary this week. After all, Donald Driver, who moves over to flanker, had 84 receptions last year playing primarily split end.

    It very well might be a pipe dream for the Packers to think they can remain among the NFL’s elite offenses without Walker, but it’s worth noting they finished sixth in the NFL in points scored (and only 12th in yards) in 2002 with Driver and the brittle Terry Glenn as their starting receivers. And that was with right tackle Mark Tauscher missing 14 games and left tackle Chad Clifton missing seven because of injuries.

    Green was second on the team with 57 receptions that year but also broke down in the final month because of the beating he took. So Sherman and Rossley will have to a walk a fine line between milking him and wearing him out this year if they make him a third-down staple.

    ========================================

    So where was Rossley's head today.....?
     
  2. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    It should be on a damn pitch fork.


    TT Please, I beg you. Please dig us up a coach with some intensity! I hate to blame the coachs because they are not the ones missing tackles, but I really believe the coaching staff makes the team, see Patriots.
     
  3. ORRELSE

    ORRELSE Cheesehead

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    Patriots? Bill Belichik? The dude looks like the sidelines is the LAST place he wants to be. You don't ever see him yell. You don't ever see him do anything but frown and look bored out of his skull, yet the Patriots win. You guys (not just you Slick) need to get past this idea that just cause Sherman isn't intense on the sidelines means his teams aren't going to win. These Sherman teams have gone 53-28 in the last 6 years. That's pretty F'in good.
    Put aside the obvious erosion of the roster during Sherman's GM tenure, Sherman cannot be judged by his sideline gestures. Give me a break. :roll:
     
  4. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    I didn't say anything about sidelines lol I could give two kahkahs less if he lays down on the sideline as long as the team plays with intensity. What I AM saying is I feel the team needs new coaching staff. One that will light a fire up under the teams ***.
     
  5. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Slick's right - mistaking the Coach's lack of intensity on the sideline as a separate activity not at all related to how the Players are motivated is just off-kilter.

    As far as Belicheck is concerned - How many other HC's out there are conning Players into taking less $$$$$ and re-signing with a "SuperBowl winning" Team? Did they spend time on the sidelines working that out?

    Belicheck takes care of business in the Locker room where they either get it, or they are gone. I have no doubt that he's mentioning how he won't embarrass them on the field as long as they prove they don't deserve it...

    I'd rather have Lombardi's intensity on the sidelines any day...
    It's what made the Packers great and made the SB Trophy named after him.

    Sherman is NO Lombardi.. He's just been the recipient of the leftovers from the Nineties Players, mentality & attitude from the previous Administration. What's more.. he's squandered it.... including a 3xMVP, especially!
     
  6. ORRELSE

    ORRELSE Cheesehead

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    Is it REALLY Mike Sherman's job to get players fired up to play? Do you guys honestly believe that?
    What about a few of these players stepping up and being leaders?

    Sherman can only do so much, IMHO. He isn't the one making stupid penalties and missing tackles.
     
  7. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    Okay here is a fine line I'm gonna try to walk on here. As a professional athlete I don't think you should NEED to be motivated, your love and passion should be enough for that. That's straight from Barry Sanders, he didn't believe anyone should have to motivate him. Another reason I enjoyed watching him play. Back to my point. I don't see the Packers as having a roster full of self inspiring athletes and some of them if not most need a swift kick to get going. That is where the coaching staff comes into play. Everyone goes through slumps in life and through their jobs, its the upper managements job to get them back on track and motivated and I jus do not see it with our current coaching staff.

    Basically, I feel athletes shouldn't need motivation, passion paychecks etc should be enough. Facts are facts though and thats simply not how it is. It's human nature that some of us need a swift kick in the butt to get going. We do not have a swift *** kicker as a HC. He's too nice.
     
  8. Chamuko

    Chamuko Cheesehead

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    "It very well might be a pipe dream for the Packers to think they can remain among the NFL’s elite offenses without Walker, but it’s worth noting they finished sixth in the NFL in points scored (and only 12th in yards) in 2002 with Driver and the brittle Terry Glenn as their starting receivers. And that was with right tackle Mark Tauscher missing 14 games and left tackle Chad Clifton missing seven because of injuries."

    So what we need is good game planning and good coaching, a good chef can make a feast out of leftovers and a bad one can have the best ingredients and being unable to make a quesadilla...
     
  9. rabidgopher04

    rabidgopher04 Cheesehead

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    Thank you. It's about time someone else says that. Like I said in another post, anger and temper tantrums are not the keys to success. Enthusiasm, discipline, hard work and dedication are.

    If someone was yelling at me I wouldn't want to play for them.
     
  10. paxvogel

    paxvogel Cheesehead

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    Sherman is also suffereing from his own bad decisions as a GM. The cupboard is almost bare and we have wasted a lot of draft picks. The decline on defense started with the loss of McKenzie.
     
  11. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    I'm not sure where these are coming from. I'm not sure if I've read anyone stating they wanted 'anger and temper tantrums ' from our HC. So why say it?

    It's often said how a team plays is a reflection on how the coach(duh! right?). Our team is a slow starting, no discipline, no intensity do what you feel you have to jus to barely keep your job team. to me that pretty much sums up Sherman.

    Another note, considering Bill B doesn't fly off the handle with 'anger and temper tantrums' I'm really not able to follow the point or reasoning of this comment.

    Okay well instead of me further coming off like a jerk here lets just get back on track in which I think I took us off of.

    Utilize Green on third down to spark offense

    I would have to agree. Screens or Run plays.
     
  12. ORRELSE

    ORRELSE Cheesehead

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    That is MOST CERTAINLY true, every word of it.

    But, I don't see how Sherman can be held responsible for a professional athlete's demeanor on the football field. That is what team leaders do. And we have very little leadership on this team.
     
  13. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    A coach is who should be responsible for how a player conducts themselves on the field. We hear 'you wouldnt see one of my players doing that' whenever you see someone pulling a stunt like say Moss did in the playoff game last year.
    Question for you, do you feel a parent should be accountable for their childrens' actions?

    If you are saying we need leaders, I completely agree with that.
     
  14. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Nice one... Slick's on top of his game today, I see...

    A Coach is very much responsible for his Team and how they achieve... or not. If they aren't, then why are they all gettin' fired all the time... You'd think that with that mentality, we'd see Lifer Head Coaches all over the place. It is what it leads to...

    If a Player figures all he has to do is win a spot on the Team and then sit down... what do you have... ? JOE JOHNSON! Does Mike Sherman bear some rsponsibility over how the Packers suffered with the presence, or lack of by JJ...? Oooh you betcha! Hence, a Coach is responsible for the Team.

    Utilizing Green on 3rd downs might actually work, for a time...
    Hopefully, one positive would sure become of it.. and that's the ratio of fumbles would lessen... almost immediately.
     
  15. Philtration

    Philtration Cheesehead

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    You are correct ORRELSE. Tom Landry was as dry as toast on the sidelines but he did nothing but win for 30 years. How about Chuck Knoll or Bud Grant? Having a hissy fit in front of your players is not the answer. That is how Mike Ditka lost it in Chicago and John Madden in Oakland. By the way, Madden and Ditka were damn good coaches before turning into a cartoon characters.
     

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