Getting everyone involved (especially Jordy)
Another issue the Packers had been showing so far this year was a reluctance to put more of the players they have at their disposal on offense.
It is one thing when you have the dearth of healthy players to throw out there that this offense faced in 2015 (remember: in the playoffs against Arizona, the team ended up with the trio of James Jones/Jared Abbrederis/Jeff Janis for most of the game once Randall Cobb got hurt — and they even lost Janis too after his Hail Mary TD catch), but injuries are not an excuse this time around.
Coming into this season, the team had 3 RBs (Lacy, James Starks, Aaron Ripkowski), 3 TEs (Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo), and a whopping 7 WRs (Jordy Nelson, Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, and Trevor Davis) on the roster, and besides a hand injury to Janis there is nothing preventing the team from using these other pieces besides their own strategy and play-calling.
Two weeks in, we didn’t see much beyond the most basic lineups, however; Lacy and Starks were splitting carries (most of which went to Lacy), the combination of Nelson/Cobb/Adams was almost exclusively the group being used, and Cook nor Rodgers were seeing much work either.
Added into this is the fact that the formations were rarely adjusted, with the same exact looks being thrown at defenses each and every play.
Back when this offense was playing at a much higher level, we would see all kinds of formations and every active offensive weapon could at least expect to see a few choice snaps to mix things up and throw something new or different at the opposition; injuries & inconsistency hit different spots over the years (TE since Jermichael Finley went down in 2013; the WRs in 2015) and caused changes to the gameplan, but despite having options at all these spots no re-adjustments had been made to accommodate for the additions against the Jaguars and Vikings.
This game against the Lions brought forward a major change in that philosophy.
Nelson (49 snaps; 90.7% of total offensive snaps) still saw his usual high snap numbers, but in the place of just lining up the inconsistent Adams (111/84.2% in first two weeks; 25/46.3% vs Lions) and sometimes even Cobb (132/97.8%; 42/77.8%) out there every play with him, guys like Davis (his 12 snaps more than doubled his previous two games), Montgomery (4 snaps after 0 vs Minnesota), and Janis (his first 3 offensive snaps of the year) got to see the field more at wide receiver, and the tight ends (Cook: 14 snaps pre-injury; Rodgers: 43/79.6% vs Detroit, up from 61/44.9% in the first two weeks; Perillo: 17 snaps after a combined 3 in the first two weeks) saw a lot more usage as a group.
With more varied weaponry, the offense was able to attack through the air in ways that were not possible in their usual go-to lineup, and 9 different players received targets — and the only targeted player to not make a catch (Davis) drew a huge pass interference penalty on his lone look.
Combining the usage of their diverse group of targets with a better-utilized rushing attack (24/24 rushing/passing split), Green Bay was able to put up a ton of points early and then hold onto the lead for the eventual victory.