Packers offense on the move with quick tempo
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) No matter the weather, the Green Bay Packers like playing up-tempo.
An early season cold spell should make it chillier than normal on Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles visit Lambeau Field.
The temperature isn’t going to deter the Packers from continuing to push the pace in a matchup against a team that also likes to go up-tempo on offense.
”I mean, we want to run more” plays, receiver Jordy Nelson said Wednesday. ”We’re used it (or) I’d be all bundled up and too stiff to move. … If it’s just cold, it’s the same plan.”
A plan working to near-perfection of late. Most teams like to say they are at their best when dictating tempo – but most teams don’t have a quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers to operate the offense.
”You can’t give him the ball enough. He’s unique in that he can play extremely fast and still do multiple things at the line of scrimmage, so I think he’s a great fit for it,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
Rodgers has 25 touchdown passes to just three interceptions following a six-touchdown outburst in the first half of Green Bay’s 55-14 rout last week of the Chicago Bears.
Rodgers’ ability to diagnose defenses on the fly comes from a combination of preparation, practice, film study and ”just being able to react,” Rodgers said.
He doesn’t want to overthink things either.
”You have to have a clear head out there and be able to recall things quickly, but be able to trust your instincts and react very quickly to play the position as quickly as you want to,” Rodgers said.
The goal earlier this season was to target about 70-75 plays a game. The efficient Packers haven’t always reached that mark, in part because they have been so good at striking quickly, too.
Green Bay has scored on its opening possession in four straight games. Quick scores can affect how an opponent’s offense attacks the Packers with having to play from behind.
If Green Bay’s defense does its job, and the Packers keep scoring, it tends to make an opponent abandon the run to concentrate on passing to catch up.
”The thing we’ve done an extremely good job of probably the last five or six weeks is point production. We had 42 points at halftime on 30 plays or something like that” against the Bears, McCarthy said. ”We’ve had a few of those this year, so we’re extremely productive with our opportunities.”
Lately, those opportunities have gone more to running back Eddie Lacy in the passing game. Last week, he turned a screen pass into a 56-yard touchdown reception. Two games ago against New Orleans, Lacy had a 67-yard reception.
The tempo suits Lacy just fine even if he might be getting more catches instead of carries.
”It makes the defense have to play faster. Sometimes they don’t get set up in time and they’ll miss a receiver going downfield or a defensive lineman will play a gap wrong and it’s all because of tempo,” Lacy said.
NOTES: Starting guards Josh Sitton (toe) and T.J. Lang (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. They missed practice at midweek last week, but were active against the Bears and played well. … TE Brandon Bostick (hip) also missed practice. He caught his first touchdown of the season against Chicago.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP