The Passing Chronicles: 2022 Preseason Week 1

Dusty takes a look at the Amari Rodgers TD from the Packers preseason loss to the 49ers

We did it. We successfully navigated the offseason and now find ourselves here, on the precipice of the regular season. And we already have one, honest-to-goodness preseason game in the books. I know the preseason isn't always the most thrilling product, but I've always loved getting a chance to watch some of the young players I've been reading about for the bulk of the preseason. In this first game, we finally got a look at camp darling Romeo Doubs, and saw him kick off his Hall of Fame coronation with a touchdown catch from Jordan Love.

We'll get to Doubs in a second, but first I wanted to highlight a guy who hasn't quite had the fanfare of Doubs: Amari Rodgers. As we all know, Rodgers is entering his second season, after a less-than-flashy rookie season. He struggled in the return game and didn't see many snaps on offense. When he did see the field, he was mainly used as a jet motion guy and never a true option on the play. I didn't expect a ton from a 3rd round rookie, but I certainly hoped to see more production than 4 catches for 45 yards. 

I'm a big believe in Rodgers, mainly due to his make-up. He didn't test as the most explosive athlete, but he is, by all accounts, a tireless worker. And not only on the field, either: he is known to be a diligent student of the game, spending a lot of time with his playbook to really get the nuance of the offense. Not that it means he's going to absolutely be a success or anything, but I believe in him. 

He came into camp slimmer and looking more explosive. Still, between Doubs' name popping up every 30 seconds and reports of the defense dominating practice, we didn't really hear Amari Rodgers' name crop up too often. He seemed to always be in the background, but certainly not the standout performer.

However, he did some nice things in this preseason game, and I hope that it's a sign of things to come. Let's take a look at his touchdown catch from Danny Etling.

Play 1: 2nd & 9, 13:20 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers trailing 20-14

The Packers are running mirrored Dragon (slant/flat combo on both sides of the line), with a sit route coming from the in-line TE on the right. Rodgers is in the left slot, running a flat route under the slant from Ishmael Hyman [5]. The 49ers look like they're playing man coverage across the board, with a back-end look that could be either two-high or single-high, depending on the post-snap rotation. 

The safety over Rodgers is the key. He's playing closer to the line than the other safety, but they could easily spin to a two-high look.

At the snap, the slot defender over Rodgers blitzes and the safety over Rodgers picks up the coverage assignment, while the other safety spins to a single-high look. With five men going out into routes and the slot blitz coming off the edge, Etling needs to get rid of the ball quickly.

His first look is to the left, so he sees the blitz and the change in coverage. With Tariq Castro-Fields [36] following Hyman on the slant, Etling is able to flip the ball out to Rodgers in space. The safety is closing, but Rodgers is able to catch the ball, turn and burst upfield. The safety looks to be aiming at the back hip and Rodgers is able to fly by him. (Perhaps as a result of all the offseason training?)

There's still the issue of the single-high safety who is coming over to make the stop. Rodgers is pinned to the sideline, but he gives a nice fake to the inside to freeze the defender, before breaking for the front pylon.

The ball gets tipped by the slot blitz, but there's still enough on it to make it into the loving embrace of Amari Rodgers.

Good read by Etling, and great job by Rodgers to make something happen with the ball in his hands. Here's to hoping it's a sight we get used to seeing in 2022.

While we're here, I also talked about the Love-to-Doubs TD. So if you're interested in checking that out, feel free! I talked about the concept overall, the idea of mirrored concepts, what Love's first read likely was and why he went to Doubs, etc. I had fun digging in a bit. Football is back!


Albums listened to: Danger Mouse & Black Thought - Cheat Codes;Phil Keaggy - Sunday's Child

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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 (10)

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michael562's picture

August 15, 2022 at 03:43 pm

Awesome work Dusty, thanks.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 15, 2022 at 03:58 pm

“ He didn't test as the most explosive athlete, but he is, by all accounts, a tireless worker.” I think that he needs to be more than a hard worker. Of course working hard is good but one needs to have the athleticism to go with it in the NFL. He was overdrafted in my opinion. “ less-than-flashy rookie season” is one of the biggest understatements you have made. Dusty, I love your stuff but I don’t buy it today.

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DustyEvely's picture

August 15, 2022 at 08:32 pm

I'll be clear about this: I'm not selling anything. That's what I believe about Amari Rodgers. I think a guy with his make-up & intelligence will be a useful player in this system. Obviously time will tell and his first season was not good, but I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 16, 2022 at 07:19 am

Thanks for the clarification. It sounds like you like to do the understatements. I admit my bias. I did not think much of him coming out. And that was before his rocky rookie year. The team drafted Montgomery to be Cobbs replacement and I think they did the same with Rodgers. Both were a reach.

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splitpea1's picture

August 16, 2022 at 11:16 am

But something still doesn't add up with Amari. If he's a hard worker, studies the playbook, and of all things, the son of a pro WRs coach, then you would think this would be paying more dividends by now--at least within the offense. Maybe he should study the opponents' defenses so he could get open a little more, I don't know. Or maybe Gute was right in saying he'll make that second year jump when he gets more comfortable in the offense and lets his talent take over. We'll see.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 15, 2022 at 04:06 pm

Thanks Dusty, always informative!

In other news...
https://packerswire.usatoday.com/2022/08/15/packers-c-josh-myers-was-pff...

Creed Who???

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 16, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Really? You're going to compare half a preseason game to a whole season of being the best center in the league as a rookie? Seriously hope that's a joke.

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henny123's picture

August 16, 2022 at 02:40 am

It’s back to the grind for the Eagles as they set their sights on a second straight Super Bowl title. They finished off a perfect season in 2018 with a thrilling overtime win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, but have yet to taste the ultimate success. However, they did get some good news in the offseason as they locked up starting quarterback Nick Foles to a four-year extension.

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 16, 2022 at 12:50 pm

WTF?

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Coldworld's picture

August 16, 2022 at 12:48 pm

It is nice to see Rodgers trim. He’s certainly more shifty. That said, this is exactly the type of play he ran at Clemson. A schemed in space dump off for him to run with.

As evidence of growth it’s completely irrelevant: it’s what he could do when drafted and doesn’t show he’d mastered a route tree or him functioning as a true WR. Here’s a question to ponder, swap in Goodson, Dillon, Jones, Doubs, Toure, even Lazard and what happens on that play?

The play does give a strong reason to ask why we haven’t used him primarily in these type of plays. I really don’t doubt that, even last year, that would have helped him settle and contribute. Instead we used EQ chiefly.

So, looking at this, I see a better version of Rodgers and a better example of how he should and needs to be used, but I see no evidence of a capacity to contribute more widely on offense or that he should be in the first 3 or 4 players we would want to get those balls to.

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