The 2022 Call Sheet: 2nd & long

Dusty continues building out his call sheet by seeing what the Packers did well on 2nd & long

Welcome back! Today, we continue creating our call sheet based on how the Packers offense performed by down/distance in 2022. Last week we looked at 1st & 10, so today finds us digging into 2nd & long (where “long” is 7+ yards).

The offense was only able to manage a measly 3 yards on 1st down - or maybe they threw an incomplete pass - which whittles down the menu a bit. This section of the call sheet is a little more pass-heavy, as a run for a couple yards makes 3rd down a little tougher.

Once again, we’ll be using Football Outsiders definition for a successful play here. They define a successful play on 2nd down as one that gains 60% of the yards needed for a 1st down. So let’s take a run through that.

The Packers performed well on this down. In this range, they faced an average of 9.97 yards to go, and they gained an average of 6.8 yards per play, for a success rate of 47.6%. That saw them tied for 2nd in the league, behind the Chiefs and tied with the Bucs. If you’re into math (and why wouldn’t you be), that saw them following up a 2nd & 7+ with a 3rd & 3. Not too shabby.

Let’s look at how they were able to find success.


Stick (One-Man) (7.4 YPA)

Looking to get back on schedule after a lackluster showing on 1st down? Can I interest you in some classic West Coast ball control concepts? Good, because that’s what these first 3 concepts are, starting with Stick.

The one-man version of Stick is run from a two-WR side. The outside receiver will run a vertical/clear-out route, while the slot receiver will run a Stick route. Technically there’s an option here depending on the leverage of the defender. If the defender is shading outside, the route will be a quick comeback/hitch route at 5 yards. If the defender is playing straight-up or shading inside, the route will be a 5 yard quick-out. The vast majority of the time the Packers run this, it’s the out variety. Three step drop, hit the back foot and get the ball out. It’s as simple as simple can be. Rodgers is a master of the quick game, so this became darn-near automatic. We haven’t seen enough from Love to know how consistent this will be with him, but, for now, we’re keeping this.

Dragon (aka Slant/Flat) (6.2 YPA)

I touched on this concept a little last week. Another West Coast concept, designed as a quick-hitting call control concept. The outside receiver runs a slant while the inside receiver runs a flat underneath. Easy read that gets the ball out of the quarterback’s hand quickly. In its base form it’s not going to be a gamebreaker, but it’ll get us into a more favorable 3rd down.

Hank (6.3 YPA)

Another one I talked about last week. Nothing flashy, but it can be an effective little concept. The inside receiver will run a hitch while the inside receiver will run a flat route. If the hitch is run by a TE and the flat is run by the RB - which is often is - the hitch will work as a natural pick on a linebacker, allowing the RB to release into a nice bit of space in the flat.

Mesh (9.3 YPA)

Mesh has been a big problem area for the Packers over the last few years, but I desperately wanted an excuse to bring it back and a 9.3 YPA on 2nd & long was certainly that excuse. 

I’ve got a couple reasons for wanting to bring it back. For starters, it’s a beautiful and flexible concept. It was born in the LaVell Edwards BYU teams, and became a household name due to the efforts of Hal Mumme and Mike Leach. It’s a concept that involves all 5 eligible receivers on a play and can have answers against every type of coverage. At its heart are two dueling drags, and the rest is all up in the air. When it’s really working, it can feel like it’s nearly impossible to stop.

Since Love has his college roots in a very Air Raidy system, it’s a concept he would be extremely comfortable with. If they add some more speed in the draft (or see Bo Melton getting some snaps), this could be lethal. It worked well for them in this spot last year (in admittedly limited usage), but it could be a nightmare for defenses in 2023. 

PA Boot (17.4 YPA)

A core concept to the offense overall. It performed better here than it did on 1st & 10. It gets a place here because it was a solid call on this down & distance in 2022, but also because of how central it is to what the Packers do on offense.

Portland (39.0 YPA)

A cousin of the Mills concept: one of my favorite shot concepts. Portland revolves around a post/deep-crosser from one side of the formation and a dig from the other side. The idea is to put the deep safety in a bind. If he falls under the post, throw the dig. If the dig brings him up, you have an ability to take a shot over the top. (I say “deep safety”, but it’s also something that can work extremely well against two-high defenses, as the safety away from the post route out of a Quarters look will rotate down to pick up the dig, opening up a nice avenue for that deep shot.)

You don’t want to build your entire 2nd & long package out of shots, or you’ll be facing 3rd & long more often than not. But a man cannot live on quick-game concepts alone, so we’re gonna look to take a least one shot off of this. After watching Stick and Dragon and Hank, you may very well catch the defender on their heels a bit with this one.


Wide Zone/WR Screen (9.4 YPA)

This RPO didn’t do that well overall, but it shined in this spot so it stays in. This is a simple pre-snap read. Look at the numbers on the pass side. If you have one more player than they do, pull up and throw. If there are even numbers on the pass side, that means they’re a little light against the run, so hand the ball off.

Inside Zone/Bubble (7.5 YPA)

Same basic idea here. Total pre-snap read based on numbers. It had limited usage by this down & distance in 2022, but it was effective. It’s an easy read for the QB and a nice way to get some much needed simple yards on 2nd & long.


Wide Zone (5.0 YPA)

As I mentioned last week, I’m pretty generic with my run tags. We’re going to be seeing a lot of Wide Zone calls in this series, because it is effective and central to the Packers offensive identity. 

Power (8.7 YPA)

For the Packers, Power didn’t always involve a lot of pulling offensive linemen. They tried to lean into that a little early in the season but, with the issues on the offensive line, they scrapped it. Instead, they married some of those ideas with their Wide Zone base and found some really good success with it. 

This series is still a bit of a work in progress, but I hope it’s working for you all. I wanted to include these play diagrams last week as well, but time conspired against me a bit. I think we should be good on that front going forward.

If you missed the first couple parts of this series, you can go back and read those. I promise they're not completely terrible.

The Intro
1st & 10

Albums listened to: The Tallest Man on Earth - Henry St.; Feist - Multitudes; Temples - Exotico; Fenne Lily - Big Picture; Kid Koala - Creatures of the Late Afternoon; Crocodiles - Upside Down in Heaven


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].

3 points

Comments (9)

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

April 19, 2023 at 03:16 pm

Hey Aaron,

Just started watching the show and enjoying your thoughts on the Packers.

Born and Raised Packer Fan!

Mike Prib.

1 points
croatpackfan's picture

April 19, 2023 at 03:37 pm

Nice and educative, Dusty. Let see how they will use those concepts and how Love will perform it.

Keep doing what you are doing Thank you!

3 points
SoCalJim's picture

April 19, 2023 at 05:47 pm

Awesome job, Dusty! I really am enjoying your call sheet series!

1 points
LeotisHarris's picture

April 19, 2023 at 05:36 pm

"Since Love has his college roots in a very Air Raidy system, it’s a concept he would be extremely comfortable with. If they add some more speed in the draft (or see Bo Melton getting some snaps), this could be lethal. It worked well for them in this spot last year (in admittedly limited usage), but it could be a nightmare for defenses in 2023."

Now, that's an exciting thought! Thanks for the weekly dose of brain food. My strategy is to skim first, watch the clips, and then return for more in-depth focus. Really appreciate the time and thought you put into these, Dusty.

4 points
Coldworld's picture

April 20, 2023 at 10:12 am

Love to see more speed. Having Doubs and Watson out there together would be a start of course. However, an offense with Watkins, Cobb and Lazard as the mainstays was incredibly speed challenged. Even when Watkins was out for and Doubs/Watson, 2 of the 3 were slow. It shouldn’t be hard to add speed, fortunately. A little variety in routes and personnel would go a long way too.

3 points
jannes bjornson's picture

April 20, 2023 at 03:33 pm

Bring David Yost in to run the offense. Love would approve.

0 points
jont's picture

April 20, 2023 at 12:38 pm

I'm loving this series, Dusty, but it can be painful sometimes. "In this range, they faced an average of 9.97 yards to go...." So last year 1st down brought either a decent gain or nothing at all. Reminds me of how rarely the offense got into rhythm.

And the mesh was weak last season. In Kurt Warner's piece on the Packers' passing woes, it seemed he showed this more than once; like the slot guy blew his route, and half the secondary ended up crowded around a tight group of receivers.

I love the strategy, but it really comes down to execution, doesn't it?

2 points
DustyEvely's picture

April 20, 2023 at 01:22 pm

Sorry. I maybe didn't phrase that well. The 2nd and 9.97 average was specifically in the "2nd & 7+" yards to go category. So the absolute minimum number of yards they would need in this section would be 7. I don't have the average distance on 2nd down as a whole in front of me right now, but I can pull those.

Mesh certainly comes down to execution, and they were not good at that, which really dings that concept. Too many times early in the season saw guys running into each other.

2 points
jont's picture

April 21, 2023 at 11:57 am

Keep it up.

0 points