Packers found something in RPO game, now it's time to turn up the volume
The RPO game can serve as a bridge between what the offense has been trying to be and what it’s actually capable of doing while these young players work out the kinks.
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The Green Bay Packers weren’t going to get caught with their pants down again. Or at least this time they’d have a plan if someone walked in with their underwear around their ankles.
In an effort to simplify the offense while giving quarterback Jordan Love more control at the line of scrimmage, Matt LaFleur turned to the run-pass option, a staple of the coach’s partnership with Aaron Rodgers, and found success on which they can build with this young team even if more bumps are to be expected.
It didn’t take long to see the first mistake: third-and-1 with the Packers in a three-by-zero set and Aaron Jones in the backfield. The Minnesota Vikings cornerbacks sag so Love (+/- 219.5 passing yards at Underdog this week), fires the RPO … only no one does the pass part.
None of the receivers turn, and the play becomes an incredible showcase for Love’s playmaking. But a virtuoso play by Love gets called back because there are linemen downfield expecting either a run or a quick pass.
In the Rodgers years, the Packers always sat in the top three in RPO usage, nearly all of it pre-snap reads from the quarterback. Check the box count and run it versus favorable looks or throw the receiver bubble out to a two- or three-man side. The idea is defenses can’t be right if you block half-decently which was part of the problem for Green Bay even in the Rodgers years. One of the big problems they faced in 2021 came when teams showed them two-high safeties consistently and they couldn’t run well enough to make those defenses pay.