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Football 101: The West Coast Offense

Diagrammed Packer's Plays

By Mark Lawrence

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98 Toss Solid Buck

Packers Fans have seen this play many times. This is the power run the Packers use out of the U-71 formation. Mike Sherman diagramed and explained this play on Larry McCarren's TV show.

        S                S
           W    M      B
CB      E    T     T    E   CB
84       O  O  O  O  O  71
               O           TE

Mike Sherman says this play was the Packerís signature play. "84", the Packers starting wide receiver Javon Walker, always lines up on the backside. If the D plays a safety over towards him, the run has a better chance. If the D plays one safety back in the center of the field and brings the other S up into the box, then Walker has man coverage and a pass is a great option. #71 is backup tackle Kevin Barry. At 335 lbs he outweighs every DE in the NFL. He has to knock the DE off the ball. The TE vs. the CB is another great match up. The TE has to "widen him" - he must push the CB to the outside and create space. The RT blocks down on the DT to his left. The RG pulls and "hopefully" cuts the LB ( B ) which makes the running back's decision easier. "Sometimes when you stay high on LBs, particularly at the point, the back doesn't know which way to go. We want that LB on the ground."

Flannigan, the Packer's center, takes an angle to block M, the middle linebacker. Clifton, the Packer's left tackle, has to take a great angle to get W, the weak side linebacker. The backside (left) OG has to cut the T off because he can chase the play down. Sometimes the FB goes in short motion, sometimes not. When he does go in motion heís "out of the way" and "creates a great picture for the back when he gets the football". Brett Favre turns and tosses the ball to the HB, then "does a naked bootleg" to hold the DE, which usually works because "we've thrown so many key passes". The FB "navigates" through the best run lane. The FB never "bypasses color (opponents) - if color shows, he'll block it but we're trying to work him to a secondary player (S). And if 84 is doubled, everyone can get blocked and it has a chance to go all the way."

"Ds have to stop this play. We don't worry about what they're doing; they have to worry about what we're doing."

The obvious strength of the play is the match ups at the point: Kevin Barry on the DE, the TE on the DB, and the RT has a great angle on the DT. The toughest blocks on the play are the "reach" blocks by the C, LG and LT. Thereís no "leverage" there - it takes good athletes to make those blocks. Last year when one of the reach blocks against Chicago middle linebacker Brian Urlacher failed, he was able to hit Green hard enough to force a fumble and return the fumble 98 yards for a TD. It really is a "run to daylight" play - there's an obvious lane where the play should be - and usually is - run, but with a talented back like Green it doesn't have to go there to be successful.

Pass 312 Green Right Train

In the third edition of the Mike Sherman show, Mike diagramed the TD from the San Diego game.

       S                  S
             L    M            CB
CB      W  E   T      T  B
WR       O  O  O  O  O  O
               Q               FL

This is a play pass which is blocked like a running play. The FB leads the RB towards M, the middle linebacker. It must be blocked aggressively to sell the run. The idea for running this play was to have the flanker (Javon Walker) run a hitch and go against a CB who was playing off him, not on the LOS. The CB was playing very aggressively so they thought heíd jump the hitch route. That didnít work out as the CB did play off but didnít go for the hitch fake at all. On the other side the WR (Driver) was running a go route against a CB who was playing up on the LOS. Brett pump faked to the FL and the S on Driverís side reacted either to the run fake or the pump fake and he didnít help out on Driver. As you probably remember, Driver was covered well on the play but he was only covered one-on-one and adjusted better to the ball than the CB.

After MS diagrammed the play, they showed it from several angles. As I watched it I noticed it didnít look like the fake of a power run. It looked more like a fake of a draw play. And Brett actually never faked the ball to Najeh (who was in at RB). As Najeh passed Brett, Brett was doing the pump fake in Walkerís direction.

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