Packers' offense to operate under "double call" system

-- With training camp less than a month away, the Green Bay Packers' offense is still very much a work in progress.

Despite strides being made during the team's offseason workout program, new head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are expected to iron out some of the kinks in their approach throughout the summer. But one of the more pressing questions that have loomed over the pairing is Rodgers' freedom at the line of scrimmage.

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer offered some clarity this week in his "Monday Morning Quarterback" column, referencing a "double call" system that has been implemented by Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams and Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers -- both of which descend from the same coaching tree as LaFleur.

"The idea is for the coach to give the quarterback two calls, and a read to make the decision on which one is in on a given play," Breer wrote. "It's great for younger quarterbacks, because it simplifies another element of the game, and safeguards them against snapping the offense into a bad call."

For a majority of his 13-year stint with LaFleur's predecessor, Mike McCarthy, Rodgers was awarded freedom and flexibility before the snap of the ball. That includes the ability to change the given play call to how he sees fit, or even checking out of a run call to audible into a pass.

It's presumably worked in the Packers' benefit through Rodgers' starting career, considering his otherworldly level of play and the model of consistency demonstrated by being a playoff team eight out of the last 10 seasons. Those two outliers, however, have been in each of the last two seasons.

The reality is, the Packers haven't been a playoff team since 2016. With Rodgers entering his age 36 season, the relationship he sculpts with LaFleur is significant -- especially if he plans on reaching the pinnacle of the NFL world for a second time.

LaFleur's offense is built around two things: the play-action passing game and the ground game. Both of which exist with the intention of making Rodgers' job easier than in the past, which also coincides with route concepts that stem from condensed formations. Receivers will be schemed into the open field and Rodgers won't need to survey through multiple reads and feel the habitual urge to remove himself from the pocket.

"It's a conversation in progress," Rodgers told Mike Silver of NFL.com earlier this month. "I don't think you want to ask me to turn off 11 years [of recognizing defenses]. We have a number of check with mes and line-of-scrimmage stuff. It's just the other stuff that really not many people in this league can do."

Much of the talk throughout the offseason regarding how the relationship between Rodgers and LaFleur will work has been predicated on the meshing of ideas and concepts. But drawing the imaginary line in the sand and finding the "happy medium" that LaFleur previously spoke about is just as important.

The double-call system is a perfect example of that. Rather than restricting Rodgers' pre-snap freedom, he'll have something of a range in which he can adjust. He'll also be able to make changes beyond the pair of calls he's given.

Breer mentions that the Packers are training center Corey Linsley to handle protection calls for the offensive line, entrusting him with that responsibility so that Rodgers is able to focus on one facet of the game at a time and play at a faster pace.

It's fairly obvious that LaFleur and co. recognize the analytical mind and savvy of the quarterback at the helm of their offense. It's also well apparent that they want to take full advantage of those qualities all while helping calibrate him to playing within the offense and having fewer opportunities to venture off-script. 

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (27)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PatrickGB's picture

June 28, 2019 at 11:02 am

Oh, I am sure that the QB and the coach will figure it out. If the system works Rodgers will embrace it. If Rodgers can make the right call at the line the Coach will embrace that too. The only hiccups will be learning the new system by the whole team. Everyone needs to have it down, Not just the QB and Coach. And if this “new” system is better and easier than the old one, So much the better.

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Since'61's picture

June 28, 2019 at 11:26 am

These are professionals, give them a chance they will work it out. In the meantime look forward to being amazed. Thanks, Since ‘61

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TheVOR's picture

June 30, 2019 at 09:03 am

Here's the deal, two plays on the table. Rodgers gives it a chance to work. Aaron Rodgers is a smart guy, if he gets to the LOS, the defensive looks say's we're not going to convert, or there's a TD for the taking, he changes the play.

What I really don't want to see is Rodgers coming up to the line constantly and changing the play, because then we're back to the MM era. That was not a good product last season.

I hope Rodgers really gives it a chance because we need a different look and to be unpredictable for a change. Man, it got so bad near the end of the MM era that at Key junctures of the game, I could tell my wife exactly what was going to happen, and the sad truth is I was right on the money like 95% of the time. That's not good.

We need a new offense, and Arod needs to execute it, and be allowed to let his HOF QB experience cherry pick TD's, mismatches, and big plays when they're on the table

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wildbill's picture

June 28, 2019 at 11:30 am

As fans I think we have been on a double call system for years, after a bad play we say they should have called a different one. Lol

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

June 29, 2019 at 09:26 pm

Funny..ha..ha

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Mark Gaedtke's picture

June 28, 2019 at 11:59 am

It's a slow time of year. Non Packer fans would love to create a controversy where there is none. I think MLF and Rodgers are going to mess some people up, starting around November.

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sam1's picture

June 28, 2019 at 03:35 pm

Hope it isn't us fans!

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NickPerry's picture

June 29, 2019 at 04:06 am

"I think MLF and Rodgers are going to mess some people up, starting around November."

Really? I think it starts Thursday, September 5th in Chicago or what we commonly call week 1.

The Bears still suck!

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flackcatcher's picture

June 28, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Well, under McCarthy the Packers have been running protection calls by the center since day one. Only difference is who made the adjustments in presnap reads. Under McCarthy that was the QB who sees what formation shifts are on going. That was a major reason for Rodgers not calling for the ball till literally the last second. The key is having a second person other than the QB to make the adjustment calls, but it is pretty much a luxury most teams in the league do not have. (since 2010 the Packers have had a series of backs who made the adjustment calls. with the lost of John Kuhn, the responsibility fell on Rodgers again.) Watch Pettine's defensive calls at the Monday night game last year against the 49ners, and that gives a clear example of what QB around the league face week in and week out. On play calling, Rodgers has had complete freedom to change the call to the point it became a suggestion from the sideline based on formation. Outside of Brady, Brees, not one other QB had the freedom that Rodgers had in calling the game. Hell, last year Rodgers was making the game plan with Philbin and bragging about it in interviews. (Which made his complaints about McCarthy not being there in forming the game plan pure BS.) With that background in mind, what MLF has to do may be even more difficult that what Mike McCarthy encountered when he took over in 2007.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 28, 2019 at 02:07 pm

After rereading this, I almost downvoted myself too.........-:)

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Lare's picture

June 28, 2019 at 01:11 pm

The Packers have had two losing seasons in a row. Whoever was calling plays those two seasons needs to let someone else do it.

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IceBowl's picture

June 28, 2019 at 01:30 pm

Lare,

Makes me think of how spoiled we have gotten.

There are four teams that have never even gotten to a S Bowl. Always losing.

I'll take the being spoiled option.

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nostradanus's picture

June 28, 2019 at 02:01 pm

This type of system will help get the other 10 guys in the offense on the same page which is really the main focus of this. Simplify it for them and Rodgers will be fine especially if his receivers run the right route every time.

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Community Guy's picture

June 28, 2019 at 02:12 pm

i got lost in this piece..

"The double-call system is a perfect example of that [finding the "happy medium"]. Rather than restricting Rodgers' pre-snap freedom, he'll have something of a range in which he can adjust. He'll also be able to make changes beyond the pair of calls he's given."

doesn't "double-call" clearly mean TWO calls? two. how is TWO calls "beyond the pair of calls he's given"?

this piece seems incoherent.

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NMPF's picture

June 28, 2019 at 05:48 pm

Totally agree Community, this guy needs to stick to his specialty, re-tweets.

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fastmoving's picture

June 29, 2019 at 07:37 am

NMPF......dont stick to try to be funny or smart because your are neither. But I bet you think you are.
So thats than really funny.
Guess to dont understand things is you specialty. And you are really good at it.

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irishgary's picture

June 29, 2019 at 09:40 am

wow, can you do that in English next time?

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murf7777's picture

June 28, 2019 at 02:20 pm

Zach, good perspective on what needs to happen this year and the problems we had over the past two years on offense. Far too many times the play was determined too late in the clock where it was hiked at the last second or we took a penalty. If Arod will adapt to getting the ball out quicker and our pass catchers get open right away this offense could be lethal. Of course, Arod will still have his improv but that needs to be the exception and not the norm.

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freddisch's picture

June 28, 2019 at 04:12 pm

When is training camp starting again? Went to the dentist yesterday, he said he had some good news and bad news. Good news he is going to pull my troublesome wisdom tooth, bad news he is going in thru my heels!

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hobowilly's picture

June 28, 2019 at 04:48 pm

very germain and interesting subject! From my prospective, AR understood his past offense and scheme better than MM for a number of reasons. I've never heard the game plan was done by AR & Philbin however-how do you know this Flackcatcher? Now, MM is gone (thank goodness) AR will again show the NFL his capability (uh, under new mgmt) that his physical & mental abilities are still top notch; we'll just see how GB's new offense will perform, i'm excited that most of the principles will be given the opportunity to "change things up"; fascinating to guess how things will work out throughout the season with different "language" usage, yet i'm thinking a noticeable spin should take place and hopeful it'll mean more W's! Hopefully GB will have an advantage out of the gate (lack of tape) as their first 2 games are critical division games to set the tone.

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BoCallahan's picture

June 29, 2019 at 04:21 am

Hobo, Flackcatcher may be referring to Tyler Dunne’s lengthy article on Bleacher Report (4/4/19) “What Happened In Green Bay” which blasted MM for skipping meetings, along with a boatload of other accusations. Numerous articles and interviews spawned off of Dunne’s piece. It was in that melee of statements/rebuttals that AR was cited as saying MM wouldn’t attend the offensive meetings and then would be out of touch when he called the plays. If you haven’t seen any of those articles, they are worth the read. Tim Backes wrote a good response to the article here on CHTV on 4/4/19.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 29, 2019 at 02:22 pm

Correct Bo. But this goes back longer than the Dunne piece. McCarthy in interviews with Silverstein and later with Jason Wilde talked about how much of the offense had changed to give Rodgers more freedom on completely calling new plays at the line in 2011. The big blow up in 2014 was not only about checking out of the run call, but calling plays that were not in the game plan that week. What most of us fans did not know, was since 2011, Rodgers was an active member in the coaches room drawing up the game plan week to week. When Rodgers had his weekly show with Wilde, he was very open about how how he was one of the group making up the Packers scheme on the offense. In many ways, this was Rodgers offense, and to blame McCarthy solely for it's failure last season lets Rodgers off the hook far too easily for his failure to execute it.

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Bure9620's picture

June 28, 2019 at 10:12 pm

This is true of most offenses actually, Peyton Manning had a 2 run checks and a pass play. Most offenses have a run check audible, it's really not that unique, particularly out of 12 personnel. Also, I am confident Rodgers did not have as much autonomy outside of a 2 minute offense as many may believe. He was not completely checking out of plays as often as many believe, he did check out of runs and those set were audibles with a designated pass play to check to.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 29, 2019 at 02:42 pm

No. Rodgers had far more freedom than you think here. Couple of coaches on the offensive side of the Packers made it very clear to me and the beat reporters in 2016 that Rodgers could check out of any call and run any play as long as it was on their play sheet that week. This was Rodgers calling his game. That's Bart Starr stuff, that this league does not do anymore. I am hard on Rodgers for not taking responsibility of his failure to adjust to what was happening of the field. I can only hope that Rodgers has learned from last year, and changes his mental approach, or as I stated, MLF, could have a difficult road in his first season as HC for the Green Bay Packers.

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GreenInMo's picture

June 29, 2019 at 03:46 pm

If QB can't manage to work with tempo, then we are in for a repeat of the past couple of years. The Pack's offensive predictability came from his complete indecision while looking for the perfect play every single time. Defenses could just watch the clock to know when the ball was going to be snapped and pin their ears back. They'll do the same thing this year unless the tempo game is used.

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Ponderthis's picture

June 29, 2019 at 05:07 pm

One huge problem with the McCarthy system with Rodgers under center is that they did always take the clock down to less then 5 seconds. Defenses were able to settle in and more accurately predict the snap count. Now if the Packers can snap the ball at any moment it places way more stress on a defense and why not snap it before they can create their desired matchups! New England does this all the time when they need a play and it almost always causes a receiver to be 10 yards wide open on 3rd down!

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Tim Cihlar's picture

June 29, 2019 at 05:22 pm

Rodgers really wants his freedom at the line of scrimmage, but it seems like too many pass plays the last couple years have been Rodgers running and holding on the ball as long as he can. We need to get away from whatever we were doing the last couple years.

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