Packers: Film reveals team must improve screen, read-option

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Brett Hundley
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Brett Hundley /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 15: Brett Hundley /

Packers: Screen passes

With the entire offensive line seemingly in place after the bye week, the screen game should become a much bigger part of the offense.

Aaron Jones, Ty Montgomery, and Randall Cobb are three excellent open-field runners that can rip off huge gains if the play is blocked correctly.

The screen game could provide an ideal way to easily get the balls into the hands of these playmakers without relying on Hundley to stand tall in the pocket and read coverages.

The Packers only used screen passes a few times against the Saints.

Let’s take a closer look.

Attempt #1

Mike McCarthy calls up play action first to Aaron Jones to the right, and then to Randall Cobb sweeping around to the left. The play then calls for a screen pass to Jones on the right.

The issue is that the Saints’ linebackers (#52 and #53) bite on the first play action to Jones, meaning they’re right in the middle of the traffic amongst the offensive linemen blocking for the screen pass. Cobb, meanwhile, runs free as Kenny Vacarro (#32) chases him across the formation.

Jones ends up getting held a bit by #98 Sheldon Rankins, but the play is in bad shape anyway. The play action seemingly drew the attention of the defense directly to the area of the field that McCarthy wanted to attack.

Hundley ended up needing to throw the ball into the dirt.

Attempt #2

The Packers took a completely different approach to a screen-type pass later in the game, but it was similarly unfruitful.

This is out of a heavy pistol formation, with Cobb behind Hundley and Ripkowski to Hundley’s right. The play is designed to run to the right side of the field, with the pass routes clearing out the defenders and Ripkowski lead blocking for Cobb.

Unfortunately, the Saints weren’t fooled.

As you can see in the top left of the above screenshot, two linebackers and a corner on that side of the field have already diagnosed the screen before Hundley even throws the ball.

Though Ripkowski takes care of the corner, Cobb can’t elude two linebackers while pressed against the sideline.

The play goes for no gain.

Both of these screens were doomed by the Saints defense reading and reacting to the play call before the receiver could even catch the ball. Mike McCarthy will need to find ways to outsmart opposing defenses if he’s going to get the screen game working.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the read-option.