Packers Vs. Steelers - 3 Plays That Make You Go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from the Packers' last game.

After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons. In general, I try to focus on a theme, the less obvious, or things I didn't notice watching live. 

Gashed - Unfortunately, this has become a favorite word of Matt LaFleur, as he's forced to repeatedly stand at the microphone and admit that their approach didn't work. I'll delve more on the approach in my post tomorrow, but in this clip, let's look at a succinct example of how poor the Packers' tackling and decision-making on defense can be. We'll start with the good - Rashan Gary does his job and holds the edge, forcing the running back to have but one option - take it inside. That should make it clear where McDuffie, Valentine and Campbell should all be headed. McDuffie is first and has two options, blow up the blocker coming at him or slide inside where the hole has formed. He does neither. He chooses to engage the blocker, a dubious choice if you're just going to stand there passively and let yourself be blocked. Valentine makes perhaps the most egregious mistake, for some god-forsaken reason heading in the direction of Gary when the running back is clearly headed inside from the moment he took the handoff. Campbell has a tough assignment, having to deal with Broderick Jones. I can't fault him too much, but I'd like to see him be more aggressive in trying to get off the block or avoid it all together. Then you have Rudy Ford, who makes the right decision, but an absolutely feeble attempt at a tackle. In the end, it's his and Valentine's play to make, and neither so much as even slow down the running back. Touchdown. Really bad in all aspects.

 

Aaron Jones getting slammed - It was a rough day for the offensive line and Aaron Jones. They were the catchers and not the pitchers this game, getting blown up instead of delivering the hits.. The offensive line was bullied in the run game, and with limited space for Jones to operate in, it was pretty easy for the Steelers' safeties to know where Jones would be and fly to the spot and deliver vicious hits that stopped him in his tracks. I combined two examples in this video. Watching live on the second one, I though Jones might have been a bit woozy afterwards. He took himself out and Emanuel WIlson came in for him on the next play. Fortunately, Jones did return a few plays later.

 

Screen ineptitude - Broken record here. This offensive line has not been taught how to properly execute a screen. It's exceedingly obvious. Everyone is criticizing Runyan on this play for not making a block on the linebacker, and rightfully so. But what happens at the snap is what dooms this play. Runyan (and Myers) pretty much let the DL's straight through to Love. Little effort to engage and establish any pretense at all that they are pass protecting. This tells everyone on the field it's a screen pass and is why the linebacker is able to get out there so quickly.  Runyan letting his man in untouched at the line forces Love to have to throw the pass early. Myers letting his man in without the guise of an attempted block, allows the DL to realize what's happening and get out there to make the tackle on Jones. Timing and execution are everything in the screen game - and this offensive line could take a few lessons from film of my high school football team. 

 

 

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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12 points
 

Comments (32)

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

November 14, 2023 at 03:08 pm

Maybe change the title of this article to 'Three plays that make you want to say WTF!

All I hear about is how terrible the offensive and defensive lines are! It has to be coaching doesn't it?

5 points
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Tundraboy's picture

November 14, 2023 at 05:54 pm

WTF is right. I think we are far past Hmm these days. And 3 may be not enough anymore.

4 points
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JerseyAl's picture

November 14, 2023 at 05:59 pm

I only have so much time...

8 points
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Rebecca's picture

November 14, 2023 at 10:51 pm

They can’t seem to get out of their own or their teammates way on both offense and defense. I’m trying to see how this is going to amount to a competitive team with this coaching and management.

1 points
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Tundraboy's picture

November 15, 2023 at 03:20 pm

Don't worry Al, we would never put you through that or let you go down that endless rabbit hole.

0 points
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Lphill's picture

November 14, 2023 at 03:33 pm

In other news Bills fired their offensive coordinator after last night loss , only the Packers wait too long to make changes .

5 points
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SinceLombardi's picture

November 15, 2023 at 07:54 am

I think when rapid changes are needed the structure of the Packers “ ownership “ is a liability.
I love the fact that fans own the team ( my son and I are both owners) but it is a bit of a liability in some instances. I get the feeling MLF would be gone after this year if we had a traditional owner/ownership group.

1 points
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splitpea1's picture

November 14, 2023 at 03:49 pm

Play 1: Valentine looked like he was playing touch football out there. Maybe a weak attempt to strip the ball, I don't know. Pretty bad.

MLF: "We had a lot of calls designed to stop the run and they were still gashing us." The first part of that certainly didn't appear true in the first half. The Packers allowed over three and a half yards before contact on Steelers rushing plays throughout the game. Just another enigmatic approach from MLF's favorite assistant coach who he refuses to divorce.

9 points
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coolhand's picture

November 15, 2023 at 06:13 am

MLF was actually defending barry today. Incredible. I guess he doesn't watch the game the same way we do.

2 points
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Cheddarhed's picture

November 14, 2023 at 04:06 pm

To run an effective screen it takes a lot of practice. In the Holmgren offense they ran it so many times in practice the players were sick of it. But come game time defenses couldn't stop it, the Packers would run it back to back and defenses still didn't have an answer

11 points
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Vachio's picture

November 14, 2023 at 04:47 pm

That's the big problem, IMO. My sense is that LaFleur is trying to get the team to learn all 10,000 of his plays. Maybe just get really, really good at 50 of them. Once they have that 50 down perfectly, add another 25. As my old Kung-Fu instructor used to say, "Do not fear the man who knows 10,000 punches. Fear the man who has thrown one punch 10,000 times."

9 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

November 14, 2023 at 05:50 pm

" As my old Kung-Fu instructor used to say, "Do not fear the man who knows 10,000 punches. Fear the man who has thrown one punch 10,000 times."

Ah, and I agree, Grasshopper. I would add he's asking that of players who struggle with fundamentals. Every week we see lousy technique. The OL performs like they don't get reps to build muscle memory and timing. Poor coaching, Poor play.

8 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

November 14, 2023 at 07:35 pm

a small edit. poor coaching = poor play

2 points
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Tundraboy's picture

November 15, 2023 at 03:23 pm

So much for the continuity angle.

1 points
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jont's picture

November 15, 2023 at 01:09 pm

" As my old Kung-Fu instructor used to say, 'Do not fear the man who knows 10,000 punches. Fear the man who has thrown one punch 10,000 times.'"

Bruce Lee was your kung-fu instructor?

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White92's picture

November 14, 2023 at 06:49 pm

Holmgren was a professor, while MLF is a kindergarten teacher

4 points
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barutanseijin's picture

November 14, 2023 at 07:57 pm

Kindergarten is by far the tougher job. But you're right, Holmgren was a better coach than Lafleur.

4 points
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MooPack's picture

November 14, 2023 at 04:22 pm

Like I said in a previous post when the offense is practicing plays against a defense that doesn’t have much of a clue daily, you probably think your offense is doing well and therefore no additional reps are needed. The confused looks come game day are telling.

7 points
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Packers0808's picture

November 14, 2023 at 04:38 pm

Been a Packer fan since 1958 and would have thought I have seen it all. Some of these guys referred to here like Myers, Runyon, and DeGuara [sp]on that extra point don't even look like they want to be there, efforts are for shit. In all my years watching the Packers can't ever remember such less care and ineptitude.

7 points
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PeteK's picture

November 14, 2023 at 06:06 pm

I guess you weren't a fan in the 70s. LOL

2 points
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Packers0808's picture

November 14, 2023 at 07:36 pm

I guess I was, they were just not very good players BUT THEY TRIED> So I guess you don't know what a player and effort is!

0 points
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NJ-RICK's picture

November 14, 2023 at 05:32 pm

Don't want this group of coaches and MGT personnel making next years #1 draft pick... Time for changes in the front office ASAP. Poor drafting and lack of acquiring veteran free agents and then throw in salary cap hell for the next two years. Do you need anymore reasons why we need to clean house in the Packers front office...? Embarrassing...

5 points
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PeteK's picture

November 14, 2023 at 06:11 pm

Eight rookie players have made a substantial amount of positive plays. Remember what some, including me, said about Gary's development, I believe Van Ness will progress in the same manner.

5 points
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bjkdad44's picture

November 14, 2023 at 07:40 pm

🤞🏻

1 points
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White92's picture

November 14, 2023 at 07:26 pm

💯. You don't "go young" in purpose, it's a result of crappy drafting, developing, and cap management. There is no guarantee that this crop of receivers aren't the next Amari, EQ St Brown, and MVS. This front office should be gone the day before yesterday

1 points
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Untylu1968's picture

November 14, 2023 at 08:21 pm

Sorry, but these receivers have easily surpassed that group. Those guys had Rodgers throwing to them, and they still sucked, With the exception of MVS, he was ok.

3 points
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coolhand's picture

November 15, 2023 at 06:16 am

We went all in trying for a SB with AR. But it didn't happen because of, in my opinion, terrible coaching decisions against Tampa.

0 points
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Since'61's picture

November 14, 2023 at 08:00 pm

Packers are being manhandled on both sides of the LOS. Al your comment about your high school team is spot on. The Packers don't even execute at a high school level on some plays. No excuses. It's on the coaches and the players. Poor execution, poor tackling, poor decision making, dropped passes, bad penalties, it's all there week after week. Difficult to stay positive in the current environment. Thanks, Since '61

4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

November 14, 2023 at 09:15 pm

"Difficult to stay positive in the current environment."

You and I agree on what the NFL has become and where we think it's headed. Like so many others who post here, we also love this team. It is excruciating to watch talented, young players perform so badly. Close to the top of the frustration list for me is LaFleur's inability to make his coaching staff better. His strategy seems to be rooted in inaction.

We can go back to Jimmy Leonard and his decision to stay at UW. That somehow led LaFleur to hire and then *retain* Barry even when proven, experienced DC candidates were available. I'm not convinced Leonhard would have been a savior (remember, he continued to use Dave Aranda's system that the interim carried over when Aranda went to LSU - it wasn't "Leonard's System.") Who knows what success Jimmy would have as an NFL DC. Brian Flores? That we know. Joe Barry? Um, yeah, that we know, too.

Anyway, I hear ya '61.

5 points
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T7Steve's picture

November 15, 2023 at 08:11 am

Leotis, "for me is LaFleur's inability to make his coaching staff better."

He's afraid to make improvements to the coaching staff even if he could lure one to come to his team. If they're good, they get poached by other teams.

So, he's found a way to short circuit the system and keep continuity. Even if it's low voltage.

1 points
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Minniman's picture

November 15, 2023 at 03:58 am

"We'll start with the good - Rashan Gary does his job and holds the edge"

Actually, let's examine that - Rashan Gary gets completely neutralized by the TE (#80 Darnell Washington).

That guys is the second coming of Marcedes Lewis - 6'7" and 265lb of intent.

That gives the Steelers OC the courage to pull the RT inside - and they did that several times (and both rushing TD's!).

Joe Barry HAD to see that they effectively had 3 Tackles on the field and adjust with more beef up front - again... limited ability to adjust.

2 points
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wollner27's picture

November 15, 2023 at 11:09 am

Everytime LaFleur calls a screen, it feels like at least two of the opponents defensive lineman see it coming and are tracking the running back down early. I'm not sure if its a look from the lineman or the quarterback that's giving that away, but it's something I see on a weekly basis at this point.

Also, this two down defensive lineman thing/nickel needs to get cleaned up. Matt Schneidman has a great still of one play, opponent in 11 personnel, so the Packers trot out their nickel personnel and the edge/defensive ends are lined up about 3 yards outside of the tackle/tight end box leaving about 6 yards of room between them and the defensive tackle. I don't know why they can't see this on a weekly basis on film and move their edge defenders in to at least shrink the gap they are naturally creating and tell the defensive tackles to start occupying the offensive lineman and quit swimming/slanting to the backside of the lineman across from them leaving Campbell/Walker/McDuffie to deal with two to three offensive lineman coming downhill

1 points
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