Wide receiver Jordy Nelson isn't revealing any state secrets when he says that the Green Bay Packers plan to use a no-huddle offense against the touted Seattle Seahawks defense in Thursday evening's season-opening NFL Kickoff game.
"They play a physical-type defense. That's the way they are," said Nelson. "We're going to try to go out and do what we do best, and that's our no-huddle, speed the tempo up and try to be successful. We can control what we can control, and that's run our routes, get in and out of breaks and make plays."
The Packers have run the no-huddle in seasons past, and they've made no bones about the fact that they plan to continue to operate out of the no-huddle.
Even though quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't play in either the preseason opener or the finale, the Packers ran the no-huddle liberally in the second and third preseason games and moved the football with utmost efficiency nearly every drive Rodgers was in the game.
It will be no surprise when the Packers continue to run the no-huddle in the first regular season game on Thursday night, but the no-huddle will not be an advantage in and of itself. The Seahawks know what's coming and have an excellent defense to counter whatever the Packers do offensively.
Rodgers got an up-close look at the Seahawks defense, attending Super Bowl XLV in person at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, noting that they played pretty damn well against another prolific offense led by Peyton Manning.
"They played against a no-huddle team their last time out when it meant something, and I'd say they had pretty good success that night," said Rodgers. "I was there and watched that. It was impressive. They're a talented defense, who can come at you a lot of different ways. Very talented on the back end, great pass rushers and athletic linebackers, so it's the kind of defense you'd love to have if you were playing offense."
Rodgers and the Packers aerial attack, in particular, have to be ready to face the NFL's No. 1 defense against the pass last season, featuring a secondary that includes three Pro Bowlers: cornerback Richard Sherman along with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Just seeing the Seahawks defense with his own two eyes, however, hasn't given Rodgers some proprietary insight. With a touch of humor, Rodgers recalls his time at the Super Bowl watching coach Pete Carroll's crew but notes there are more important aspects to the Packers' preparation for their upcoming game.
"They're a talented team," said Rodgers. "They got into a rhythm there with their pass rush and with their coverages and made some good plays. It's about film preparation. Watching them in person is one thing, but seeing them on film is different. You get to see two angles, and you get to see some of the plays you missed when you're having some chips and salsa or hot dogs or whatever it might be up in box, which was nice."
Yes, running the no-huddle offense will be central to the Packers' gameplan, but as Rodgers points out, beating the Seahawks defense will be about exploiting what the Packers have seen on film.
That's one of the reasons why, throughout training camp while the Packers defense was practicing outside at Ray Nitschke Field, the offense would regulary hide behind closed doors within the confines of the Don Hutson Center, not wanting the public to see what they have in store for the Seahawks.
In the words of John Steinbeck, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. In other words, it still comes down to execution, even if the Packers have a superior gameplan.
"It's playing the way I want to play; It's trying to make good decisions; it's trying to be smart with the football and not turn the ball over," said Rodgers. "This defense thrives on turnovers and getting after you and hitting you and getting you off your spot, and you have to make accurate throws. The windows are even tighter with the amount of ground that they can cover."
While the Seahawks had the best turnover margin (+20) in the NFL last season, the Packers finished just 19th (-3), so avoiding interceptions and turnovers will be vitally important.
The Packers can only hope the inherent advantages of the no-huddle offense play to their advantage on Thursday evening, even if the Seahawks know it's coming.
"I don't think it's not much for the secondary, to be honest with you," said Nelson. "It's more of the big guys up front, trying to keep them on the field as long as possible, not allowing the substitutions. I think defenses have got better, but a couple years ago, made them stay very basic in what they do. Just the communication, they can't get into their specialty package."
Maybe that's all the advantage the Packers offense needs, assuming they take care of the football.
Not that it will be easy.
Playing in the home of the Seahawks and the 12th Man, which will be at a fever pitch, most definitely will not be easy.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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