Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagle Eye: What's Up With The Packers?

When the Green Bay Packers come to town for Monday night's matchup, they bring a potentially explosive offense and a defense that is able to create pressure on the quarterback and force turnovers. The offense is led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, an All-Pro who is posting great numbers even though, on film, he hasn't executed the offense at the level that we're used to seeing from him. Still, with his arsenal of weapons, Rodgers and the Green Bay offense are capable of dropping 40 points on any given day. It all starts with his go-to target, wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

Shot 1 - Rodgers has a ton of confidence in Jordy Nelson 1v1, whether it's fades, back shoulders or tight windows. Contested catches galore pic.twitter.com/xQVM7OUuTs — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Nelson lines up both in the slot and out wide, but wherever he lines up Rodgers has so much faith in his No. 1 receiver to win battles one on one against corners. Whether it's on back-shoulder throws (which are a big part of what the Packers do), fade balls against single-high coverage (a favorite of Nelson's) or just fitting in throws into tight windows, Nelson is so effective at going up and fighting for the football. He consistently comes out on top.

Shot 2 - #Packers like putting Nelson in the slot to get matchups. Purposely get him matched up on S Keanu Neal for big play here vs Cover 3 pic.twitter.com/VkvZKkoYgJ — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Green Bay loves to line up Nelson in the slot to create favorable matchups, whether it's against man or zone coverage. We broke down this play a few weeks ago on Eagles Game Plan because the Packers put Nelson in the slot to run a deep over route knowing full well that it would get him matched up on rookie safety Keanu Neal. Nelson has been a thorn in the Eagles' side in the past, and he's certainly a player that the secondary must be accounting for on Monday night.

Shot 3 - Jared Cook was a HUGE part of #Packers game plan vs WAS last week. Featured in a number of ways. #Eagles must be ready for his role pic.twitter.com/I23ckycZhC — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Another player who Green Bay likes to get creative with is tight end Jared Cook, who signed this offseason as a free agent from the Rams and has become an integral part of the offense. After missing eight games due to injury, Cook returned against Washington last weekend and was a featured part of the game plan. On this play, he is the "point man" in the bunch formation at the top of the screen, as Cook defeats press coverage quickly and wins on a corner route for a huge gain. Cook was also a factor in the red zone. He was lined up all alone out wide as a receiver, and he was able to win matchups in the middle of the field. Jaylen Watkins was the primary defender on Jimmy Graham last week, so I expect that he will be the main person responsible for Cook in those situations on Monday night.

Shot 4 - Like #Giants scheme (https://t.co/sx7tDpe0YV), the #Packers like to run double moves off their basic 3-step concepts. pic.twitter.com/PseX0IezZ6 — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

The Packers' scheme is very similar in a lot of ways to the passing game of the New York Giants, which I broke down here. You have quick game concepts as the staple of the air attack, and they love to run double moves off of it. Here's a great example of that exact theme, as Rodgers hits Randall Cobb on a version of a Stick Nod route down the field for a big gain. The Packers, like the Giants, try to lull you to sleep with quick slants, quick hitches and option routes underneath. But the Eagles' secondary must be ready for double moves off of those routes as Green Bay tries to attack downfield.

Shot 5 - With injuries at RB, Randall Cobb & Ty Montgomery have lined in the backfield for carries and to be used in passing game #Packers pic.twitter.com/y1kfgOTWQp — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

One of the other facets of the Green Bay offense that the Eagles must be ready for is the way the Packers move their chess pieces around the board. Both Cobb and second-year receiver Ty Montgomery have played out wide, in the slot and, with all of their injuries at running back, in the backfield. In the video above, Davante Adams is used in a similar role, although it's not as often. Whether they're taking handoffs from Rodgers, being used in the screen game or just taking quick flares out of the backfield, Cobb and Montgomery can make plays with the ball in their hands. Cobb is more of a shifty runner while Montgomery and Adams are tougher after the catch. They each present different skill sets, but the Eagles' defense has got to keep a close eye out for all of them.

Shot 6 - Like Russell Wilson a week ago, #Eagles must keep Aaron Rodgers contained. Can beat you with his arm & his legs outside the pocket pic.twitter.com/ktpAWacxVO — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Everyone knows that Rodgers is one of the best natural "arm talents" in the league thanks to his velocity, his ability to stretch teams vertically, his quick release and his historically pinpoint accuracy. Now the ball placement has not been as consistent this year for a number of reasons, but he is absolutely a quarterback who can beat you on any given play. One of the things that makes Rodgers so difficult to defend is that he can beat you with his arm and with his legs.

Like Russell Wilson, who the Eagles saw last week in Seattle, Rodgers can break the pocket and make you pay as a runner and as a thrower, and you see an example of both in the clip above. On the first play, pressure forces Rodgers from the pocket and he rolls to his right. Watch as his receivers "uncover," working open in a scramble situation for a big gain down the field. On the second play, Rodgers' athleticism come into play as he finds a crease against the Tennessee Titans and takes off for a touchdown run. The Eagles' defensive front seven has to keep No. 12 contained in the pocket when he drops back to throw.

Shot 7 - Rodgers has gotten himself into trouble holding onto the ball too long. Has left a lot of plays on the field this year #Packers pic.twitter.com/b1TcsdLio9 — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Rodgers has certainly had his share of issues this season, to be frank. He's left too many throws on the field for a variety of reasons, but ultimately he is holding onto the ball too long and is unwilling to pull the trigger in certain situations. His play has become more scattered or random, almost like what we saw from a Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. Sometimes, when a quarterback runs around in the backfield, he's able to create a big play for his offense. Other times when he runs around he takes a sack, forces a throw or turns the ball over. The "randomness," by definition, may be positive or negative, and that's something that he and the rest of the Green Bay offense are working through. Still, this is a unit that is posting numbers at an extremely high clip, and the Eagles' defense has their work cut out for them on Monday night.

On the other side of the ball, the Packers defense has been reeling. Inconsistent play at the second and third levels and injuries across the depth chart have hurt this team. But they still have some players who must be accounted for and a scheme led by veteran defensive coordinator Dom Capers that will certainly try to put Carson Wentz in situations he has yet to face so far in his rookie season.

Shot 8 - My vote for Most Improved Player for #Packers? Nick Perry. Whether it's with speed, power, or technique, he's a terror off the edge pic.twitter.com/Bsjcmcx63g — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Veteran linebacker Clay Matthews is still on the roster, as is the ageless wonder Julius Peppers, but the edge rusher that has really stood out to me this year is Nick Perry. The former first-round pick, who I admittedly was not a fan of coming out of USC a few years ago, has really developed into one of the best players on that unit. So far in 2016 he has posted 10 knockdowns, 18.5 hurries and seven sacks as one of the most productive pass rushers in the entire NFL. Whether he does it with his quickness off the ball, natural power in his lower half, relentless motor or improved use of his hands, the free agent-to-be has done an outstanding job off the edge for Green Bay and will likely be one of the most sought-after names this spring if Green Bay is unable to re-sign him before the start of the new league year.

Shot 9 - I've always been a big Mike Daniels fan. Relentless disruptor; lines up at multiple spots. #Eagles must block him up #Packers pic.twitter.com/ZlbwHcqXT1 — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Perry has stood out the most, but I've been of the opinion that Mike Daniels is the best player on the Green Bay defense for the last couple of seasons. The Packers almost never line up in their "base" 3-4 front, instead relying more on their nickel package, regardless of the offensive personnel on the field. Daniels' ability to line up at a number of different techniques and impact the game as both a run defender and a pass rusher makes him one of the most disruptive players in the conference.

Shot 10 - Daniels gets pressure here, but better design & disguise from Dom Capers for INT of Andrew Luck. Heavy rotation from HaHa to 2-hi pic.twitter.com/PW0zGsnSPg — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016

Whenever you face Dom Capers, expect a lot of deception by disguise as well as a lot of blitzes from second- and third-level defenders. This shot above is only a five-man pressure scheme from Green Bay. The heat really comes from Daniels on Andrew Luck, but look at the disguise on the back end. Capers fools the savvy quarterback with a heavy roll of the coverage, as safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix rotates from the far side of the field to the opposite deep half in this two-deep, four-under zone blitz package, securing the interception for a big turnover. Carson Wentz and the Eagles' offensive staff must be ready for everything Capers has shown so far on tape, and plan to see many things that he has yet to roll out this season just for the rookie quarterback.

Fran Duffy is the producer of "Eagles Game Plan" which can be seen on Saturdays during the season. Be sure to also check out the "Eagle Eye In The Sky" podcast on the Philadelphia Eagles podcast channel on iTunes. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University Football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices and opponents.

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