Cheesehead Origins: Dusty Evely’s Road from Unlikely Fan to Twitter’s Favorite Tape Guy

Dusty Evely has carved out a niche in Packer fandom for his outstanding offensive analysis.

Welcome to Cheesehead Origins, an offseason series geared toward showcasing Packer fans with interesting fandom origin stories! CheeseheadTV is devoted to Packer fans worldwide, and we want to hear (and share) your stories. 

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By now, if you’re a regular reader of Cheesehead TV or follow anything Packers-related on Twitter, you’re well familiar with Dusty Evely. What you might not know is that he is not, and never has been, a Wisconsinite.

Born and raised in Michigan, Dusty was fortunate enough to be born into Packer fandom instead of Lions fandom, despite the family’s other sports teams all being Detroit-based (Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons). His dad grew up a Packer fan, and passed that on.

Dusty describes the Packer lineage of his family like it’s something of a legend.

“Here’s the story I’ve heard on that,” he began. “My grandfather too my grandmother to a Lions/Packers game in Detroit. My grandfather is a fan of the Lions, but has never been a die hard. It seems as though my grandmother did not want to go to the game, so she cheered for the Packers and bought my dad a Packers pennant. He hung it on his wall and became a Packers fan. I thank God for my grandmother, or I”d likely be a Lions fan.”

Fast forward some decades, and Dusty, now in his early 40s with a wife and two children, pumps out excellent analysis of the Packers’ offense regularly throughout the season and has developed an outstanding insight into the way the game is played.

But Dusty wasn’t always interested in the mechanics of football. It wasn’t until the Packers’ run to Super Bowl XLV that he really started to become more interested in how it all worked. 

A column by Mike Tanier in Football Outsiders investigated the Packers’ use of the full house position, and he found it fascinating..

“Up until that point, I watched to watch,” Dusty said. “I never really had a desire to dig deeper. But that article awakened something in me. I started reading more, but didn’t dig too deep in yet. After all, there are limits to how deep you can dig with the broadcast view.”

When the NFL finally made the All-22 film available to the public around the 2013 season, Dusty plunged in with a new iPad he had just received as a gift, rewatching the game in his chair with the All-22 film. 

“I’d watch each play over and over again, taking screenshots along the way,” he said. “I’d watch each play 10-plus times, and for each play I was curious about I had over a dozen screenshots. Then I’d flip through. Why did that guy move there? What caused that reaction? Extremely inefficient and pretty rudimentary, but it gave me a good base in terms of understanding the movement on the field, as well as the responsibilities of each player.”

If you’ve followed Dusty’s work, you know he’s developed something of a specialty in his analysis, focusing on passing concepts in the Packers’ offense. Part of the genesis of this niche was his curiosity in what happened outside of the frame on the broadcast. 

“You see the major pieces up front. How the offensive and defensive line move. The blocking for the running game. The pass rush. But the passing game? You rarely get a full view of the safety alignment or wide receiver movement past the first three or four steps.”

At the time he started, there weren’t a lot of people doing amateur film analysis online. Dusty began picking out a handful of plays on each side of the ball and would explain what he saw in the action of the play.

As more people started doing film analysis, Dusty wanted to avoid his insights being redundant. He received a recommendation from a friend to “find your lane,” and he soon knew exactly what his focus would be.

“Around [2018], the voices saying Mike McCarthy’s scheme was ‘stale’ were getting louder,” he recalled. “It was a common refrain. And yet I didn’t see anyone that dove into that. I wanted to know if it was just a parroted talking point or if there was something to it. And just like that, I found my lane.”

Dusty continues to provide regular insight into the passing schemes in the Matt LaFleur offense, and his weekly analyses on Cheesehead TV during the season are an absolute dream for nuts and bolts football lovers (and often come with great movie or music recommendations).

While he loves to get in-depth with his analysis and pick apart the sport, it should also be noted that he is very much a fan as well. He has experienced the highs and lows as much as anyone, and one particular moment that stands out was his first trip to Lambeau Field.

Dusty had been a fan for his entire life, but didn’t end up getting to Lambeau Field until week 17 of the 2007 season, a game against the Detroit Lions.

“The game itself was meaningless; Favre threw a couple touchdowns before giving way to Craig Nall,” Dusty remembered. “But the experience was incredible. We went up the day before and kicked around the city. It was amazing to me that Lambeau was in view no matter where we were. We couldn’t stop staring at it. On game day, we got a brat in the parking lot and I teared up when I saw the field for the first time.”

Dusty has made his way to plenty of other games over the years, including the 2014 Packers/Patriots game (one he counts among his favorite Packer-related memories). He watched the Packers win the Super Bowl with his family, and avoided injury when his brother leapt on his back when Tramon Williams knocked the ball away from Mike Wallace at the end of the game.

Despite not living in Wisconsin, Dusty has never had a difficult time catching games, whether it’s at home or at the bar. He makes a yearly trip to Lambeau with another diehard friend, and bonds with his siblings over the Packers as well.

Looking to the future, Dusty is excited to watch the continued evolution of the Matt LaFleur offense.

“I can’t wait to see what they do next. There are likely going to be some personnel changes, so I’m looking forward to seeing how those are worked in. Crossing my fingers for a dynamic presence in the wide receiver room!”

When I asked Dusty to give some shout-outs, he had very, very many–too many for me to list here in this space. It’s indicative of a man who has made a lot of connections and influenced a lot of people with his analysis, writing, podcasting and his relentless positivity and jovial nature. 

“Just shout-out to everyone who tolerates me and has helped me along the way,” he said. “There are so many people that mean the world to me, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

Catch Dusty on Twitter at @DustyEvely, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for his CHTV columns and passing game explorations.

 

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Big props to Dusty for being willing to be involved and for sending me some fantastic answers to the questions I had. 

Next week’s feature is a lovely woman who currently resides in the Rockies and is wild about her Packers and Brewers. See you then!

 

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (11)

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Spock's picture

March 10, 2022 at 06:20 am

I love Dusty's articles and always learn something from them. So glad his grandmother started the family onto the right track! Off topic: I Just saw that two days ago the NFL increased the 2022 cap (this year) by $26 million to $208 million and the teams are allowed $284.367 for player costs. Is this enough to get GBP the cap relief they need for all the dominoes falling now?
https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl-salary-cap-2022-increases-154337842.html?fr...

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Spock's picture

March 10, 2022 at 06:28 am

Is that Maggie Loonie in that picture with Dusty and friends?

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 10, 2022 at 07:11 am

Those are four CHTV regulars. I'd name them all for you, but I've never met any of them in real life, so that would feel kind of creepy somehow.

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DustyEvely's picture

March 10, 2022 at 08:57 am

Yup! Maggie Loney, Perri Goldstein and Andy Herman. I was lucky enough to go to the Week 2 game against the Lions this past year with them.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 10, 2022 at 07:30 am

Probably not, but no one knows for sure until AR's contract details are known and revealed, and when or if Adams agrees to a long term deal. After that, I don't know which players GB wants back.

There are other assumptions as well. With cutting Z, Cobb, and Crosby, extensions to Jaire and Preston Smith, max restructures of Lowry, Turner, Amos, should get GB in compliance. Not sure what they do with Marcedes Lewis. A bill of about $2.6M comes due in May for draft picks, and another bill of about $3.5M for PS squad comes due in September and $5M to get through the season. Those bills total $11M or so. GB probably gets $15M to $20M from AR's new deal and $8M to $10M from Davante Adams' new deal, so $23M to $30M minus $11M.

That leaves $12M to $19M to spend on UFAs like Campbell, Douglas, Lazard, MVS, Sullivan/King replacement, and whatever they do with Tonyan, Lucas Patrick, Bojorquez or his replacement, and Dennis Kelly. Some of those guys in the last group probably won't be addressed in free agency, but by the draft and signing UDFAs.

The $12M to $19M is just for first year cap hits, not AAVs.

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Spock's picture

March 11, 2022 at 03:15 am

Thanks for the detailed explanation, TGR. I kind of figured this "new" figure wasn't going to do much, but it was the first time I saw a verified cap number for This Year.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 10, 2022 at 07:12 am

I didn't start reading Dusty until the MLF era. What was his verdict on MM? Just curious.

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DustyEvely's picture

March 10, 2022 at 09:08 am

In a nutshell, the plays he called were fairly in-line with what modern offenses were doing at the time. I had looked into McVay's first season with the Rams, and if you just looked at the individual plays themselves, it looked similar to what McCarthy was doing.
The problem was personnel & sequencing. Where McVay and the more modern offenses would have everything look roughly the same and build up to your variations & shots, McCarthy was just kind of throwing plays against the wall. Not a whole lot of thought put into the sequencing of it. "This play is cool, let's run this. Now let's run this." Obviously that's overly simplistic, but that was one issue. It also didn't seem like he always had a great feel for a play, because quite a few of the shot plays didn't have an underneath route pushing deep enough to move the safety, which is a crucial piece.
The other piece was personnel. He would throw guys out there, but it didn't always seem like he had the right guys doing what they should be doing to make the play successful. Not that you need one guy doing one thing all the time, but I didn't get the feeling that he put his guys in the best spot, or in the best position to succeed on a play-by-play basis.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 10, 2022 at 07:22 pm

Interesting. Would be cool to see you do a similar critique of MLF now that he is a few years into the role.

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Lphill's picture

March 10, 2022 at 08:36 am

Great work by Dusty one of the best features here !

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LeotisHarris's picture

March 10, 2022 at 06:08 pm

I'm a Dusty fan, for sure, and look forward to his contributions here and in his email newsletter. I always come away with a better understanding of football after reading Dusty's work. Plus, his writing style is a damn joy to read.

Thank goodness for grandma! Here's hoping the Packers pennant she bought still in the family.

Nice article, Tim.

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