Year of the Takeover: Five Things the Packers Must do to Win
YOTTO: Year of the Takeover.
If Jermichael Finley or the rest of the Packers hope to live up to the hype many people are giving them they will have to do many things.
There is no doubt that they are very talented and have the pieces that can bring another championship to the real Titletown, but there are still some things that I feel need to be done during the year to ensure success.
By no means am I a football guru or have any concept of gameplanning or scheming however, I have an idea of how teams can win games.
Here are 5 things that I believe the Packers MUST DO in order to be successful in the 2010 season.
1. They need to do Screen Passes
There is nothing better to do to a defense that puts constant pressure on you than a screen pass. Considering the Packers and Aaron Rodgers tied for the most sacks taken last year there is no question teams will continue to bring the heat. However well Rodgers and the line handled the pressure the last 8 games are meaningless to defenses. Adding a premier pass rusher to the Bears also calls for more of this play.
Going back to the days of Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett the screen pass has been a staple in the West Coast Offense. The Packers and the series of play callers over the last 12 years have run away from that play. It is okay for teams to do the screen pass on more downs than 2nd and 3rd and long.
Dumping the ball off to your running back with 3 offensive linemen ahead of him while the front 7 are caught rushing is a great thing to watch. Big yards and keeping the pass rushing under control are keys for this years team.
2. Defense Must Limit the Big Plays
Kind of like beating a dead horse here but this is something that the Packers struggled with the last couple of years. The Packers defense can work like a well oiled machine or like a rusty tricycle. Their bend but not break style defense can drive some people crazy but in reality it IS much easier said than done.
Limiting big plays on defense obviously does not allow the opposing offense to score easily (DUH) but more importantly it helps win the momentum battle. There is no debate whether momentum is good or bad as far as sporting events go. Keeping the opposing offense from getting that 50 yard heave or the 35 yard run helps the whole team immensely, both offensively and defensively.
If the Packers defense, with quite a few question marks in the secondary going into the final preseason game, can limit big plays and disallow the opposing offense from getting in a rhythm they will be finding it easier to get out of bed on monday morning.
3. Another Play That'll Work
Run the naked bootleg!
Might sound crazy but at the appropriate time the naked bootleg can mean HUGE yards. Get Jermichael to do a drag route to the bootleg side to give Aaron Rodgers an option if he cannot run and a deep threat out of the slot and the Packers can find some yardage there.
It may lack some logic but when you have a mobile quarterback who is exceptional at throwing on the run you have a concoction for success. Maybe the play will not be a go-to play for big yards but this play will also keep the ends from crashing the edges and keep the pass rush down. You have to be careful as a defense not to let the QB escape the pocket. Running this play would only help take pressure off of our line as well as give our amazing quarterback a couple options as to picking up yards.
4. Spread the ball around
Aaron Rodgers is as good as anyone to spread the ball around. There is no question about it. Two strait years of 1000+ receivers and 4000+ yards throwing is a great way to begin a career. With 5 or 6 legit options for spreading the ball around I believe that Rodgers will once again eclipse the 4000 yard mark while connecting with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings for a big chunk of it. There are other options however that can prove to be big parts of this years explosive offense.
James Jones: Getting better and better each year. Working his butt off to ensure that he can handle numerous routes and can catch tough balls is something we are seeing game in and game out. It isnt easy to be in on 3rd down and running a 10 yard slant and catching it from a true gunslinger.
Jordy Nelson: Liked from the very minute he was drafted. Sure handed as sure handed can get, will drop the ball at times but who doesn't? He has deceiving speed and is a good route runner. I believe he will be used in more packages than 3 or 4 wideouts. Maybe put him on the short side or the slot to use his versitility.
Jermichael Finley: He is no secret anymore. With a huge contribution from him the Packers won the last 7 of 8 games of the regular season. He has the largest hands I have ever seen and the speed and agility of a wideout he is a force to be reckoned with. I am very excited, as are the whole Packers organization, to see what kind of damage this guy can do. Look for HUGE numbers from him.
Others Receiving votes: Donald Lee (better blocker than pass catcher, but he can be an option in the red zone), Spencer Havner (secret last year, ended up having an above average year and is a huge asset on special teams.) Andrew Quarless (Another Jermichael Finley we are told here in titletown, big body and extremely athletic, really hope he gets some reps and we can go two tight end sets and see what our receivers can do).
5. Special Teams need to be Special
Well they don't necessarily need to be Special but I think they should be above bad, what they were last year.
That picture above was taken the first regular season game Crosby kicked in. That kick actually won us the game versus the Eagles, in 2008.
I wish I could say the same about him this past year as he was average at best and missed several opportunities to put us ahead or extend our lead, namely the Steelers game where Big Ben won on the last throw.
Crosby needs to get his head out of his butt and find his form of 2008 and kick with the upper echelon of kickers.
Also, the Packers return coverage teams need to contain the opposition to ensure they do not have good field position. Obviously there will be big plays and returns however being able to limit those will be key for the Packers. Field Position is a battle that begins at the first kickoff and is a large part of a football game. Special Teams needs to be above average if we want to go to the promised land.
Remember Desmond Howard?
Done and Done
Of course these 5 things are not the only things they need to do to win but these are things that I think will help them immensely. I am no football analyst or an experienced football player however I like to think I know my stuff. I am limited to watching high school, college, and professional football games and Madden. And if any one play is deadly in Madden its the screen pass, namely with Chris Johnson, but thats another sad...very sad story.
Lemme know what you think..who knows...maybe we'll see a naked boot or two in the opener on Sept. 12th...
GO PACK GO...YOTTO!