Back in June, LWOS sat down with Oklahoma high school football coach Ben Clubb to take a look at the Green Bay Packers defense. Coach Clubb provided some great insight in the Packers scheme as well as what Packers fans should expect from the defense this coming season. Coach Clubb also sat down with Cheese Head TV and broke down the Packers linebackers for this coming season. LWOS thought it would be a good idea to do the same with Coach Clubb, but this time, taking a look at the Packers high powered offense. The Packers offense is the engine of their team and what makes the Packers go. Here is a breakdown of the Green Bay Packers offense from the coach’s box.
A Breakdown of the Green Bay Packers Offense from the Coach’s Box
LWOS: Good speaking to you again, Coach. In this installment, we are going to take a look at what drives the Green Bay Packers, their offense. As Packers fans knows, this team goes as far as quarterback Aaron Rodgers can take them. Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. From what you have seen on tape, what it the biggest attribute that Rodgers possesses?
Coach Clubb: It is great to be back speaking with LWOS and talking Packers football. As you know I’m a defensive coach, but do enjoy watching offense. I have to force myself to watch offensive tape at times so I can scheme against it. Rodgers makes watching Packers offensive tape very fun though. The first thing I really noticed about Rodgers is his footwork. He has some of the best footwork I have ever seen a quarterback possess. He has ability to extend plays with his feet. This is not to say that he is a scrambler type like Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young and Kenny Stabler. He has tremendous pocket awareness and can use that to buy time until he has receivers open. We really saw this in the NFC Wild Card round game this past season.
Another great quality Rodgers has is his vision. He can see the whole field and makes tremendous reads. Vision is one of the most underrated attributes that many people often overlook. With the evolution of the run-pass option (RPO) it has really changed quarterbacks reads. The RPO is basically a run play with built-in pass play concepts. Basically, you are meshing with a running back while reading the defensive end. If the end plays the run, the quarterback will pull and look to throw to his four receivers running routes. We see this more at the college level, but NFL teams, like Green Bay, have started to incorporate this scheme.
LWOS: In recent history, the Packers standard offense has been three wide receivers, one tight end, and one running back. With the additions of tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, it appears that will change. How do you see their standard offense changing, with these additions?
Coach Clubb: What I see from both Bennett and Kendricks are two big, physical guys who will really improve the running game. Tight end, in my mind, is one of the most difficult positions to play. It reminds me a lot of playing outside linebacker. Half the time you are blocking an outside linebacker or defensive end, other times you are running a rout. An outside linebacker, for example, is stunting half the time and dropping into coverage another time. I think with these two tight ends that it really opens up the playbook where the Packers can be more flexible in the run game. We might even see a few two tight end sets with these guys. I always admire a good tight end who is a physical blocker. Offenses must establish the running game if they want to be successful.
LWOS: Although most of the publicity goes to the passing attack of the Packers, it seems like every good NFL passing attack must have at least an adequate running game. Can converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery be the type of back that can make an opposing defenses honor the run game? What should Packers fans expect out of the Packers running game with Montgomery and the rookie running backs who are behind him?
Coach Clubb: First off, I think Montgomery had the potential to be one of the best all-around athletes that the Packers have. In my opinion, he could turn out to be one of the best draft picks that the Packers have made in recent history. It is really saying something when you take one of your receivers and convert him to a running back during the middle of the season.
When he came out of Stanford University, I was sure that he was going to be a solid all-around player. I think he will be a tremendous back. He proved to me during the Chicago Bears game last season, he is capable of great things. He has tremendous vision and his cuts are you would expect out of a highly productive running back. I like to see a back who can see downfield well enough and cut back when he needs to.
Green Bay hasn’t had a solid running back, in my opinion, since Dorsey Levens. We have seen a number of running backs come in the last few years, so I hope that Montgomery offers some stability at this position. I’m excited to see what rookie running back Jamaal Williams can do as well. While at BYU, he ran a lot of 21 personnel, which is what he will see a lot of in Green Bay. He’s a powerful downhill runner and has great lateral movement as well. I think he will be a solid third down back this coming season.
LWOS: The Packers have arguably one of the best tandem offensive tackles, in David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, in the NFL. But this off-season, the Packers lost T.J. Lang in free agency and their presumed starting center, Corey Linsley, is nursing an injury going into this season. The Packers will have veteran Jahri Evans replacing Lang but is that enough to shore up the middle of the offensive line? From what you have seen on tape, does the Packers offensive scheme cover up what could be a weakness in the middle of the Packers offensive line?
Coach Clubb: From what I have seen on tape, I believe the Packers have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. What helps is that these guys are really starting to gel together and play as a solid unit. There is no doubt that Lang was a big piece of the puzzle, but I like what I saw out of Evans in New Orleans. He is a solid guy with experience, which helps.
The Packers offensive line plays so well in zone schemes, which fits in with the RPO. Usually, their first step is lateral and they work up field, as opposed to big-on-big blocking which we are used to seeing traditionally. What will help is if all of the starters can stay healthy and stay with their original position. I do like that each player is flexible enough to play multiple positions. This helps when depth starts to become a problem, which we have seen in the past. Like Hall of Fame coach John Madden once said, the offensive line is the most important unit on offense. I would be shocked if this unit didn’t flourish in 2017.
LWOS: Finally, it was just a couple of seasons ago that the Packers offense, specifically their passing offense, that struggled. They were back on track last season, but Packers fans are always paranoid it might happen again. Do you feel, from what you saw of last season, that this won’t happen? If so, what leads you to believe that from what you have seen?
Coach Clubb: The passing game did struggle a few seasons ago, no doubt. One of the biggest reasons was consistency. The frustrating thing was seeing the offense play so well one week then struggle again another week. I am confident though in the play calling abilities of head coach Mike McCarthy. Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett also is a solid coordinator and I know he implements a great offensive system. What I like about McCarthy’s play calling is that he mixes in a number of underneath routes and gets some of his best athletes, like wide receiver Randall Cobb, in space. One of the smartest things that a coach can do is finding ways to get the ball in the hands of their best athletes. One thing that I liked seeing out of the offense was the tempo, which sometimes can be good and bad. You don’t want to get to a point where tempo is so vital that you start making mistakes, which is kind of what we saw when former NFL head coach Chip Kelly went to Philadelphia and San Francisco. I expect the offense to be more consistent in this area and that fans shouldn’t have much to worry about.