Quality Control: Generating Explosive Plays in 2022

Dusty takes a look at how the Packers may look to generate explosive passing plays in 2022

Last week, we looked at the Packers explosive passing concepts from 2021. “That’s all well and good,” I muttered to myself while writing, “but what about this upcoming year, when Davante Adams and his 35 explosive plays (37% of their total explosive passing plays) are no longer in Green Bay? WHAT THEN SMART GUY?”

To understand what that aspect of the Packers offense may look without Davante Adams, it’s important to understand the areas where Davante Adams excelled. If I were to ask you to describe Adams’ greatest strength, you’d probably use the words “footwork” or “release package off the line” or "general attractiveness." So it’s no surprise that the top explosive plays to Adams came from concepts like Drift, Stick (as the backside vertical option) and Smash Fade; concepts that leaned on his ability to win at the line immediately, and create late separation due to his route-running.

Of course, if Adams is on the field with the offense, it’s impossible to totally separate his presence from the overall success of the play. And we can’t simply look at the games where he didn’t play, because that makes for an incredibly small sample size. What I opted to do was to look at the explosive plays that went to receivers other than Davante Adams, and build out a list of explosive plays based on the scheme itself. What was successful last year, why was it successful, and can it be successful without the presence of an all-world WR. Not the most scientific or comprehensive method, but we work with what we have.

I went through that process and grabbed a few key concepts that I expect to produce explosive plays in 2022. You ready? I’m ready.

PA Boot (9 explosives, 24.6 YPC)

I don’t know that anyone wants to hear me drone on about PA Boot for the 3rd straight article. If you’re curious about the mechanics, I did a deep dive back in April, and I would encourage you to check that out. Mainly because I proud of it, but also because it allows me to be a little lazy in this article.

PA Boot is a natural pick here, both because it’s a huge part of the offense and also because of the abundance of variations you can use with it. PA Boot itself is a constraint off the wide zone run, meant to live in the world of misdirection as the defense tries to take away the run. That makes the variations to it misdirections off a misdirection. When not targeting Adams, the Packers did a nice job of generating explosive plays off PA Boot variations. Whether a little tweak like Slam (releasing the boot-side blocking TE/WR into the flat after initially blocking down)…

…or one of their half-boot throwback options like Corner-Post or Leak…

…Rodgers was able to either exploit a mismatch down the field or hit a receiver in space and give him room to run. My love for Leak is well-documented, so it shouldn’t come as a shock when I say that I believe it’s something they should work into the offense more this year, but the entire constraint package has the ability to create some big plays this year.

Dagger (9 explosives, 24.6 YPC)

As much as I associate this concept with Adams, the truth is that he only had one explosive off this concept in 2021: the big play against the 49ers late in the 4th quarter in their Week 3 match-up.

While a few of these explosives came off of hitting the backside concept…

…or the result of an extended play…

…the majority of these came within the rhythm and structure of the concept. This concept works by having the vertical route push the safeties back, then have the dig work in all the space underneath. In other words, it’s a concept that can work well with speed on the field, and the Packers invested in speed at the wide receiver position this year. With the personnel the Packers have at that position, this concept could be taken to a new level in 2022. Speed helps create larger pockets, and Dagger is built around operating in those pockets.

All Go HB Seam (2 explosives, 24.5 YPC)

This is a concept I’ve been in love with for a while. It has provided some incredible plays over the years. And, while it didn’t register high in the number of explosives on the year, it’s one that I feel like could rebound a bit in 2022. And it’s the same reason I gave for Dagger:

I’ll use this concept to touch on an idea that can really help the offense open up as a whole. Let’s talk about MVS.

I love MVS. I hope you love MVS. On top of seeming like a legitimately good dude, he also has elite speed and helped open up the offense in a way that only elite speed can. Now, there are two things to talk about here:

  1. MVS was the only legitimate speed guy that consistently got on the field during his time with the Packers
  2. MVS was a long-speed guy and didn’t have much in the way of quick-twitch.

The Packers use a lot of jet/fly motion as a part of their offense. It’s a way to stretch the defense horizontally. Pair that with a vertical push and you can put a lot of stress on a defense. As you might imagine, the best way to do this is to have speed on both sides: one to stress horizontally, one to stress vertically. That’s a little tricky when you only have a single deep threat.

The other thing to note is that it’s helpful if the jet motion man has some twitch to his game. With passing concepts that use jet motion, the motion man typically camps in the flat after completing his motion, acting as the checkdown. If QB ends up throwing to the checkdown, you’d prefer it to be someone who can make a man miss in space, then make something happen with the ball in his hands.

Which leads us back to MVS. Running jet motion to compliment vertical routes is all well and good, but there’s only so much you can do with the personnel the Packers had. MVS would work as the jet motion man on occasion, but only rarely, and for the reasons we touched on above. If you’re using MVS in the jet motion role, you’re not getting the benefit of his speed to stretch the field vertically, but he’s also not the twitchiest guy so he’s not the best option as the checkdown man, either. You're basically burning your lone speed option and turning him into the last option in the concept, but his skillset isn't particularly well-suited to be that man.

The Packers have tried to solve this issue with a handful of options. Tyler Ervin. Kylin Hill. Allen Lazard. Aaron Jones. Amari Rodgers. They’ve all been effective to some degree, but to maximize the potential, you need speed on the jet sweep and speed down the field.

MVS is in Kansas City (now roasting the size of Kenny Clark's head from afar), but the Packers added speed at the receiver position, both from the draft (Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs) and free agency (Sammy Watkins). With multiple speed threats, the Packers can run the same concepts with the same personnel, but deploy them in different ways. You could have Watson on the jet motion and Doubs stretching vertically, or vice versa. You could have Aaron Jones on the jet motion and have Watson/Doubs/Watkins down the field, with Allen Lazard as the in-line blocker leaking out into the concept late and into space. The influx of speed gives the Packers flexibility and allows them to attack the field in ways they simply haven’t been able to do over the last few years.

Which brings us back to All Go HB Seam. In the realm of football concepts, this is a relatively new one. It’s believed to have originated at North Dakota State University. At its best, it's a three-man vertical flood concept. The Packers like to pair it with jet motion, with the motion man camping in the slot and working as the checkdown/flat control. The larger concept consists of a vertical route from the slot (typically a crosser or post), a vertical route from the outside, and a vertical seam route that is typically run from the backfield. When this concept burst onto the scene, it was a way to spring the seam route from the backfield into a big play. As defenses have adjusted, it’s a throw that tends to go to the checkdown in space more often than not.

With the speed the Packers have, they can force the defense to react in a way they haven’t been able to before. Step a little sooner. Sink a little deeper. If the defense pinches down, the Packers have the speed to hit them over the top. If the defense sags over the deep routes, they have the ability to put speed/twitchiness as their checkdown option on a consistent basis.

Put quite simply, this has been a good concept for the Packers over the last few years, but with the influx of speed at the receiver position, it could lead to quite a few explosive plays in 2022 and beyond. Of all of the concepts that could benefit from speed at multiple positions, this is the one that excites me the most.

As often happens when I get into All Go HB Seam, I spent entirely too many words on it. So, while I had some other concepts I wanted to get to, I guess I’ll stop here for the large analysis. Apologies. Apologies all around.

But I will throw a couple other concepts here, because why not. I like them and I expect them to generate a fair share of explosives in 2022. My reasoning for the expected success of these concepts in 2022 can be traced back to the screed I just threw down: speed kills, brother.

Portland (2 explosives, 61.0 YPC)

Smash/China (3 explosives, 32.3 YPC)

This post got away from me a bit, but I hope you enjoyed this attempted look forward half as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I don’t assume this offense is going to be amazing off the bat, but I’m really excited to see how all these new pieces work together. If everything comes together, it has a chance to be explosive and dynamic in a way we haven’t really seen recently.


If you missed the other pieces in this series so far, you’re in luck! I’ve got links!

The Packers use of their RPO game
A deep dive into PA Boot, it’s variations, and why they’re so effective in a wide zone rushing offense
The top 5 concepts the Packers used to generate explosive plays in 2021


Albums listened to: Bjork – Vespertine; Lykke Li – EYEYE; Young Prisms – Drifter; Tess Parks – And Those Who Were Seen Dancing; The Lumineers – Brightside; Harry Styles – Harry’s House; Ride – Nowhere

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

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Comments (18)

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

May 25, 2022 at 05:31 pm

Thanks a TON Dusty! Most is over my head, but the wealth of knowledge/detail you share is really educational. Plus, what I truly like are the video clips shared and the music info/links.

*a little bit of everything for the masses.👍

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 25, 2022 at 04:37 pm

On another note: We claimed Chris Slayton DL off waivers today... ; )

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 25, 2022 at 04:44 pm

Yessssss! B-dog, come here please (I whisper in your dog ear), "who is Chris Slayton?"

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 25, 2022 at 05:55 pm

He's had a cup of coffee with a lot of other teams but he has some intriguing measurables. Faster 3-cone than Enagbare and he's 50 lbs heavier. Supposedly a decent run stopper. He's got a steep uphill climb to make the team but maybe a PS guy that can come in and eat some snaps if someone misses a game or two. They don't play 3 man enough to keep 6 on the roster I wouldn't think. Maybe they're thinking about having contract talks with Lowry in a few days?

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 25, 2022 at 06:38 pm

Ahhh, thanks LLC...I will search the information highway on this big fella.

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

May 25, 2022 at 07:49 pm

Not sure why you think Lowry is expendable as he had probably his best year last year. If he can duplicate last years performance I want him on the roster this season . Next year they can deal with his cap hit but for now I'd say he's worth it

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 26, 2022 at 01:41 am

I'd rather see him on the team but I could see them asking him to reduce his salary. Lowry had 674 snaps last year, Reed had 659 for the Chiefs. Lowry had more sacks but Reed had more QB knockdowns and pressures. Maybe Barry is planning on playing more with 3 IDLs with the added talent but if not Wyatt and Reed could easily take Lowry's snaps. It would be nice to have them all for a deep playoff rotation.

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murf7777's picture

May 26, 2022 at 08:28 am

Yes, Philly did a great job at going all the way the SB by rotating DL often. I can see something similar with GB. Keep’em fresh so they can dominate late in games.

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dobber's picture

May 26, 2022 at 09:15 am

Yep. We will need to look at the DL in total, not just individual player stats, to assess how this unit performs in 2022.

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

May 25, 2022 at 09:19 pm

Excellent analysis and videos, although I like Adams and appreciate his skillset, I think he was a bit overrated. Would he have had those kind of numbers if it was anyone other then Rodgers or 3-4 others throwing him the ball? Derek Carr is not as good as Aaron and I doubt Adams ever catches that many balls again. The Packers Win loss record without Adams in the Lafleur era is 7-0, this also tells me they can survive without him. Of course the others will have to step up. If Cobb can stay healthy he and Rodgers are on the same page so I see more receptions here. No reason Lazard wont get more as well, Sammy Watkins could surprise us with his speed and we know they will test the Rookies as well. Spread the wealth and keep opposing defense's guessing, as where before, they knew the ball was going to Adams. Diverse and not predictable should be the goal of this years offense and yes of course run the ball down their throat with the two headed monster we have at RB. No it may take a short transition but I think our passing game will be just fine, Rodgers has seen multiple stud WRs come and go and he has always got on track with them when he had to.

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dobber's picture

May 26, 2022 at 08:37 am

"although I like Adams and appreciate his skillset, I think he was a bit overrated. "

In GB and with #12 is all that really matters, and under those conditions, Adams had a case for being the league's best. It generated a pretty significant return and sizable cap relief when he was dealt. What he is with Vegas--with a lesser QB and more viable weapons than what played around him the last two years in GB--is immaterial at this point.

"The Packers Win loss record without Adams in the Lafleur era is 7-0, this also tells me they can survive without him. "

They did, yes, against some decent teams and some poor teams. But throwing out unscouted looks for 2-3 weeks at teams of varying quality is a lot different from playing 17 games and putting it out there on film from week 1. I hope I'm wrong, but people make a lot more out of those 7 games than is likely really there. I think AJones will be the initial beneficiary of Adams' departure (as evidenced by his usage when Adams was out before), but the Packers will need a lot more than that. If Sammy Watkins makes an early connection with 12 (and avoids the soft tissue injuries), he could have a career year. The guy can still run.

In this vein, I absolutely agree with your later comments: this will test LaF's ability to put together diverse, unpredictable, and laser-focused game plans...it will also test 12's ability to execute them and not revert to relatively predictable 11-personnel, McCarthy-esque, isolation football.

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Gee's picture

May 26, 2022 at 02:11 pm

I'm with you in regards to people putting too much weight in the Packers record without Adams. You just don't replace that type of player, without a little regression. Hopefully we see the entire MLF playbook, going forward. I still think Jones will be his favorite target going forward, and I just can't shake Jones flirting 1000 yards receiving. Loved the misdirection and constant motion, from defenders calling out plays, like in the past. On the T.C.

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Lphill's picture

May 26, 2022 at 05:41 am

Wonderful work as always Dusty , let’s not forget having an accurate QB helps .

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Johnblood27's picture

May 26, 2022 at 06:14 am

I hope AR takes it to heart to get on point with the speed at WR now available to him.

He is accurate on many deep throws, but on throws when the receiver has a slight angle to his path AR seems to under estimate their speed and make them slow down to make the catch resulting in some PBU as well as immediate tackles after the catch where it could have been a TD with a better leading throw.

Camp will look a bit ragged on these type of throws, I am guessing. This season will undoubtedly be one of continuous growth and development of the offense as all the new parts begin to mesh and strengths and weaknesses become apparent.

It will be incumbent upon MLF to keep a close eye on everything and tailor the weekly game plan to exploit the areas of fastest development while minimizing the pain from slower development, all the while hopefully accumulating a list for individuals to work on in the off-season and next years camps for complete development opportunities. This is year ONE with this version of the MLF offense.

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murf7777's picture

May 26, 2022 at 08:31 am

Good point JB about the deep throw. For some reason, he didn’t seem to be able to get a good connection with MVS downfield like he could with Nelson. Let’s hope he finds that magic with Watson this year.

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dobber's picture

May 26, 2022 at 08:47 am

"It will be incumbent upon MLF to keep a close eye on everything and tailor the weekly game plan to exploit the areas of fastest development....This is year ONE with this version of the MLF offense."

I think you've just summed up the 2022 season in one paragraph.

This will be the season where we find out what kind of offensive mind LaF really has, and whether he can get 12 to follow him.

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PeteK's picture

May 26, 2022 at 05:50 am

PA Boot is a very tough play for the defense to cover. It floods the side with 4 receivers and looks like a run because the O line blocking down. Love it.

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Ya_tittle's picture

May 26, 2022 at 05:08 pm

Looks like you have the play against the Cardinals where Tonyan blows out his knee.

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