Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Anticipating Changes the Packers Offense will make from Week 12‘s Loss to the 49ers

Jan 18, 2020 at 1:35 PM


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In Green Bay's Week 12 drubbing at the hands of the 49ers, the game was effectively over at 23-0 before their offense was able to put any points on the board. The Packers will need to have a radically different game plan this time around. Here are some adjustments I'm expecting Green Bay to make for the NFC Championship game.

The Packers can get a lot more creative with Davante Adams. Adams is far and away the most dynamic Green Bay receiver; he led the team with 83 catches this season, while no other wide receiver had more than 35. And that's with him missing four games. Adams was targeted 12 times in the Week 12 encounter but was able to turn those targets into only 43 receiving yards. The 49ers were able to keep Adams from getting behind them for a big play, largely due to the their pass rush being so effective in hurrying Rodgers and not allowing him the time to drive the ball down the field. The personnel matchup in the trenches will be essentially the same as Week 12 now that the 49ers front is fully healthy, so Green Bay will need to design ways to get Adams into space.

It will be fascinating to see how the 49ers choose to deploy Richard Sherman in this matchup. They typically like to leave him on the left side of the defense and not have him shadow the opposing team's #1 wideout, but with such a extreme gap in ability and experience between Adams and the rest of the Green Bay receiver corps they may want to reconsider that strategy depending on game flow. On the Packers' part I expect them to move Adams to the left flank of their formations, away from Sherman, whenever possible. Opposite corner Emmanuel Moseley has played very well recently, but there's still an enormous gap in experience between the future Hall of Famer Sherman and the relatively inexperienced Moseley. It also would not surprise me if Green Bay puts Adams in motion more frequently and uses him from the slot, to ensure Adams gets a clean release and the 49ers defense can't double him. The Packers scored their first touchdown of the game in Week 12 on a jet sweep to a motioning Adams, and I expect them to employ more play concepts like that with him this time around.

Green Bay will need to do something to slow down the 49ers pass rush, which completely overwhelmed it in Week 12, sacking Rodgers five times. One countermeasure the Packers can employ is to get Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams more involved in the screen and passing game, and even for them to be in the backfield at the same time in screens involving misdirection. The 49ers linebackers are some of the fastest in the league, especially with the explosive Kwon Alexander healthy, but they comprise the most inexperienced area of the defense. I anticipate Green Bay will try to confuse them and get them out of position, using screens and draws to pull them towards the line of scrimmage and then using the aforementioned Adams out of the slot to get in behind them.

Regardless, it's the Green Bay offense that needs to make adjustments to attack the 49ers defense, not the other way around. That's an ideal position to be in, making the other team change what it does best in order to play you, and shows the tremendous job the front office has done in building a complete roster.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


3 Comments

  • GM
    49ers front is not “essentially the same.” Dee Ford makes everyone on the line better exponentially. Although Jones was lost, Mitchell started before Jones, is rested and did an admirable job against the Vikes. Cook is a better player than A Jones and the 49ers shut him down completely. Expect the same results.
    Jan 19, 2020 at 8:24 AM
    0
  • PJNiner
    49ers best Chiefs in the Super Bowl, 42 to 31! Book it!
    Jan 19, 2020 at 8:09 AM
    0
  • JJ37
    The Niners are NOT completely healthy on defense. Dee Ford is back and that will be big, but their starting nose tackle, DJ Jones, who blew up the Packers last time, is out for the year as is his back up Julian Taylor. The position was a disaster after both went down, but has been better since they resigned Earl Mitchell. None-the-less, if the Packers can run the ball (and Aaron Jones has had a pretty good year), the impact of the pass rush will be mitigated. Everything else you say makes sense, but it's all secondary to this.
    Jan 18, 2020 at 3:41 PM
    1


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