The Packers bring the kind of diverse run game they lacked the last time they faced the Bucs
The last time the Green Bay Packers played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, running the ball amounted to masochism. That 2020 Bucs defense stoned every team in its path, cutting off a critical valve of the Packers offense and forcing Aaron Rodgers to beat them in the dropback game. In two tries, Matt LaFleur and Rodgers found few answers to combat the brute force of the Bucs front four with the incredible speed of the linebackers. Devin White blew up run and pass, the secondary man-handled the Packers receivers and offense in Green and Gold managed 36 total points in two games, while the Bucs went over 30 in each contest. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon can change that this Sunday.
Downhill runs worked best against the Bucs in the regular season back in 2020. A.J. Dillon and Jamaal Williams combined for 65 yards on just nine carries in a 38-10 Packers defeat, while Aaron Jones put up 15 yards on 10 carries. The speed of the linebackers, combined with the power of the Bucs prevented blockers from getting to the second level and cutting off White and Lavonte David.
In the NFC Championship Game, game script undercut the run game, with the Packers finding more even success on the ground, averaging 4.2 yards per carry on just 16 totes. Jones, for his part, ran in well for 27 yards on 6 carries but it was hardly a bounce-back performance, with a pair of fumbles, one at a critical juncture with the Packers trying to fight back into the game.
So far this season, the Packers bring a more varied run game to the table, incorporating pin-and-pull schemes against the Bears, getting blockers out in space, and using their athleticism to their advantage. And they have used jet motion expertly to create uncertainty with linebackers’ eyes.