Think about it – what’s our best short yardage play?

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In consecutive weeks now, Rodgers has thrown a deep..ish ball in a 3rd down and 1-2 yard situation. Both times it’s worked (and both times I suspected he’d audible to this play). The reason this play works is that usually on short yardage plays like these, 9.5-10 defenders play the run leaving our WR with mostly single coverage. (Sometimes the safety rolls over a bit, but he often only half-commits in case of a run play.) Rodgers knows any of our WRs can pretty much take any DB in one-on-one coverage so in each instance he’s elected to go with the far higher percentage short yardage play. It may seems odd that the percentage would be higher doing this, but it actually makes sense if you think about it. Aaron Rodgers’ completion percentage this year is 65% – but his completion percentage specifically to WRs in single coverage has to be even higher. Meanwhile, our percentage of 1st down conversions by running in short yardage situations, has to be below 50%. (Actually, just verified that our 3rd and 1 combined with our 4th and 1 conversion percentage this year is 48% – and I’ll bet if you take out the successful pass play conversions, that percentage drops quite a bit more.)

In fact, thinking further on this, because McCarthy essentially admitted in a recent press conference that he struggles from time to time with short yardage playcalling, I’d like to offer a recommendation for the next short yardage play:

  • Go with 2 WRS split very wide – both of whom have the assignment of running a deep sideline route. Then, bring in one TE on the line, five O-Linemen, Rodgers, and then the RB and the FB in the “I” formation. There could be an audible option for Rodgers to have the TE go out for a short route (or better yet, go on a deeper seam route depending on coverage). The beauty of a play like this is that the safeties in particular would have serious decisions to make. Usually on short yardage plays, they like to cheat up and play the run. But if there are two guys split wide and Rodgers has been known to throw in short yardage situations, suddenly, they wouldn’t know where they should focus their attention. All of this would also serve to unclog the running lanes should Rodgers opt to call a run play or even a sneak. Rodgers could assess all of this once at the line. If the safeties fall back into coverage, handing it off, a sneak or dumping it to the TE (or even the FB) on a short out route might work best. If the safeties don’t respect the pass option enough, Rodgers could throw either of the sideline route or a seam route to the TE.

Try it Mike. Seriously.

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3 Responses to “Think about it – what’s our best short yardage play?”

  1. Bill Says:

    Great idea! Now all you need to do is draw it up and send it into Mike. Otherwise, you just wasted half of your day and half of your brain cells.

  2. jimthepackertfan Says:

    i could not agree more. i have been saying this for weeks, every short yardage we take are recievers out bunch it up, pretty much tell them we are running and get little to nothing. if we had larry allen and nate newton on our line i would have no problem saying were running, stop us but we dont. are line is not bad but not overpowering so we need to put them in situation to there strength which is obvious it is not straight ahead power running. i have been saying for weeks spread it out, taking minimum 4 men out of the box on defense. i am not saying dont run either. i think if we spread out we regain the threat of pass which would give us much more room to run. it is scary when are best short yard running option is rodgers. as much as we miss grant if rodgers should go down with an injury that would be 10 fold more of a loss than grant. and please replace the guy who tells mm when to and not to challange a call, or at the very least maybe tell him not to go to the bathroom or go get a beer during live action!!!! he sure as hell was not watching at all on the gonzalz 4th down play. that could have been a real game changer and we do nothing!!!!

  3. DaveK Says:

    You should be able to run the ball for a yard when the other teams know you are running. You can have 5-6 different run plays that will get you 2-3 yards. Did you see Turner walk into the end zone off the edge when the Packers defense sold out to stop the inside run? Very disappointing this team doesn’t have a RB and/or a line that can convert a big 3 and 1 or goal line push. It cost them a game against a good team. That being said, maybe you are correct and they should just stop trying. Spread him out and trust Rodgers to get with his feet or this arm.

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