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Matt Lafleur's Offense


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MVS is sort of the reverse of a Catch-22; if he plays well enough to be worth a big contract, there's no way you don't pay that guy.  If he doesn't, no need to pay him anyway.  His ceiling is "guy who's always open deep" and every team wants one.  With MLF's play-action and window dressing game, you're all but guaranteed to get multiple chances at a long TD with MVS every game.  That's worth the cap space every time IMO.

 

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Also, great post @ChaRisMa, and appreciate you starting this discussion.  I had thoughts of doing a similar post all off-season but never got around to it, and now I don't have to!  Hurray for procrastination!

One thing I thought was interesting was the difference in personnel groupings and run/pass ratio between the three big offenses based on the Shanahan tree.  Just looking at 2019 and 2020:

2019:

Team 11 12 21 22 13 10 Pass Run
Green Bay 60% 20% 12% 3% 3% 0% 60% 40%
San Francisco 40% 18% 28% 11% 2% 0% 51% 49%
Los Angeles 73% 21% 0% 0% 2% 4% 62% 38%

2020:

Team 11 12 21 22 13 Pass Run
Green Bay 55% 24% 14% 2% 4% 55% 45%
San Francisco 44% 12% 33% 9% 0% 58% 42%
Los Angeles 65% 29% 0% 0% 5% 57% 43%

It's wild to me how perfectly in between the 49ers and Rams the Packers ended up both years in terms of personnel groups.  Obviously the actual personnel on the teams themselves drives this to some degree, but I think it's also pretty accurate to say this sums up the difference in approach between the three architects as well.  The run/pass ratio is clearly driven in large part by W/L and how often you're playing with a lead; additionally the data is skewed a bit because both the Rams and the 49ers dealt with so many RB injuries it was borderline comical in 2020.  

But I say this is an accurate depiction of the difference in approach because the teams' personnel groupings stayed fairly consistent regardless of their run/pass ratio and overall situation.  The 49ers had to throw a lot more in 2020, but they did it from the same RB/TE heavy groupings they used when their split was dead even the year before.  The Rams ran the ball more than the 49ers did by % in 2020, but still stuck to playing 11 personnel 2/3 of the time.  Meanwhile you got MLF and Aaron over here sticking to a pretty clear 4.5/2/1 ratio regarding 11, 12 and 21 personnel.  

And on that note, I think it's worth noting the huge difference in receiver type that Green Bay has leaned into over the past two years.  Shanahan seems to prefer smaller receivers who excel in the route running game and/or making plays with the ball in their hands.  The Rams tend to field a somewhat larger group of receivers, but still with a focus on individual route running ability.  Meanwhile you got MLF over here looking for the biggest, thiccest receiving group he can find.  In 2021, the Rams and 49ers combined have two receivers listed at >= 220 on their roster, but ten receivers listed as <200.  The Packers have 3 receivers on roster listed as >= 220 (and that doesn't count EQ, who's clearly in that category), and only two that come in less than 200.  Given that only Funchess was acquired after MLF took over, it's fair to say that this was somewhat of a hand he was dealt rather than requested, but it's also pretty clear that this staff has done a fantastic job tailoring the offensive scheme to the group of small forwards they call a receiver room.  The Packers use the receivers in the blocking game so incredibly well, and it opens up so many options in terms of how you attack the defense.  Hell, half of Lazard's big plays come because the guy in coverage on him gets caught flat-footed expecting him to block and he runs right by; that's the value of scheme.

I realize there's not a ton of analysis in this post, but in theory I'm at work right now and I mostly just wanted to add some additional fuel for discussion before the procrastination monster got me again.

Edited by MrBobGray
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6 hours ago, craig said:

Given the stated emphasis on a deep-threat speedy WR, it might seem the MVS would be valued.  You've mentioned six players receiving top dollar.  But *if* hypothetically a couple of them are NOT at top-dollar yet (Love, Dillon...), could you instead pay a 2nd MVS-WR good (not superstar) dollar?  

The idea of walking MVS and replacing him with a top draft choice necessitates NOT using that top draft choice on somebody else.  Every top-pick freed is super valuable.   So in a sense *if* you can make a semi-fair offer to MVS, it's buying BOTH what an experienced well-systemed MVS gives you, AND buying yourself a high draft choice.  
 

You can pay whomever if you aren't carrying Rodgers contract. Its 27 Million in cap space. It's almost better for Love to sign MVS and keep the offense intact. Next best thing to not being in development of your QB is to not be in development anywhere else. 

I will be clear though, MVS walking does not directly mean a 1st rounder on a WR. Amari Rodgers may be able to get over the top. Lazard gets wide open off scheme downfield too. It's just the ideal conditions call for 4.4 or less speed. We definitely don't want to be trotting 4.6 Allen Lazard out expecting him to outrun safeties getting downfield. Part of keeping the run game dominant is keeping the defense stretched and its fun to anticipate a deep ball because the run game is going. 

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9 hours ago, craig said:

This is a dumb question, I think.  But you mention "those six players make up over a third of our cap space."  Is that "descriptive", what it is now with Rodgers?  Or what it will be next year, *if* we brought back Rodgers? 

Or is that "prescriptive", basically how much of the cap you'd intend to routinely allocate for your top 6-salaried offensive guys?  For a typical roster, would allocating 1/3 of cap for best 6 offensive players, 1/3 for best 6 defensive players, and 1/3 for the other 41 students on the roster be a kinda target layout?  For future, imagining $240 cap just for round number.  If it's like $80-$80-$80?

With Rodgers, Adams, Jones, Bakhtiari, and Turner on veteran deals we are over 30% and that's only five players. Rodgers and Adams are 23% of our cap alone. If they are gone we have all the money we want for everyone else. But we also lose all championship hopes in the process.  Tonyan is the next clear player who will be paid. Thankfully tight ends don't make crap. Kind of one of the a few things this offense has going for it--RB and TE are cheaper dates than WR across the board.

Nearly all NFL rosters are top heavy like that on both sides of the ball. I imagine most teams will fall a little behind what the Packers are spending though because Rodgers, Adams, Bakhtiari are all top of the market deals. But they are all Top 5 players at their position and those are key positions.

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Thanks, Ma.  "6 guys taking up 1/3" sounds excessive.  You've got 11 starters each way.  If 6 of those are big-ticket "1/3", that seems high, but maybe it's not that bad?  If I've got a good team, I'd like to think you could fill 5 starting spots with guys on rookie contracts, or thrifty anti-awful support players.  Last year we had Lazard, MVS, Tonyan, Jones, Patrick all on rookie/discount contracts.  Jenkins too.  Lewis was on a thrifty contract.  I'd expect a good team should routinely be able to scramble up about 5 starters like that who won't absorb lots of salary. 

I don't know what salary cap will be, but with TV deals, 17 games, and assuming without Covid restrictions, plus with gambling moneys and stuff, I assume $240 won't be too high for very long.  So if $80 goes for the top-6 offensive tickets; $80 for the top-6 defensive tickets; and then there is $80 for the other 40 guys, I'm not sure that's too little really for the other-40.  Other than 1st rounders, the average for UDFA and draftees-later-than-1st isn't more than ~$1M.  So if you've got ~$30M for 30 guys, there could be ~$50 to spread over the other dozen guys.  So yeah, I kinda think your third-third-third is actually a pretty fair target to make kinda ideal?  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fantastic article from Warren Sharp- looking at how much the Packers offense improved from 2019 - 2020.
Some amazing nuggets in here, worth the read

https://www.nbcsportsedge.com/edge/article/sharp-team-previews/will-packers-send-aaron-rodgers-right

...Additionally, the Packers saw tremendous efficiency out of 12 personnel when passing the ball. They upped the usage of 12 when calling pass plays, from 14% in 2019 to 20% in 2020. We’ll touch on the injuries momentarily, but even when healthy, I think the Packers would be an awesome 12 personnel pass team if they leaned into it more.

Look at the 2020 splits by personnel for the only three groupings they really used to pass from:

11 personnel: 0.21 EPA/att, 8.1 YPA, 52% success (397 att)
12 personnel: 0.30 EPA/att, 8.0 YPA, 68% success (126 att)
21 personnel: 0.18 EPA/att, 7.8 YPA, 53% success (86 att)

With the emergence of Robert Tonyan  , passing out of 12 has benefits other than just the efficiency witnessed in 2020.
Rodgers was pressured and sacked much less frequently when the Packers passed out of 12.

Even if you strip out third downs, when the Packers are more likely to use 11 personnel, look at early down pressure rate:

11 personnel: 27% pressure, 11 sacks (4.5% sack rate)
12 personnel: 23% pressure, 1 sack (0.8% sack rate)

And the splits on early downs from 12 are even larger than all three downs:

11 personnel early downs: 0.13 EPA/att, 7.0 YPA, 54% success
12 personnel early downs: 0.34 EPA/att, 8.1 YPA, 69% success

"LaFleur could lean into more first down passing and more 12 personnel and see if that further raises the ceiling of this 2021 Packers offense."

.

"...It’s absolutely insane how well Rodgers takes care of the ball.

Of quarterbacks to throw at least 1,000 attempts the last three years, Rodgers’s 0.65% interception rate is far and away the best. Drew Brees was 1.19% at No. 2, Patrick Mahomes was 1.39% at No. 3, and Wilson was 1.67% at No. 4. 

Let’s add historical context. Only seven times in NFL history has a quarterback thrown 500+ attempts with five or fewer interceptions. Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback to do it more than once. He owns FOUR of those seven seasons ! "

Even more insane: he’s done it THREE YEARS IN A ROW, 2018, 2019, and 2020. "

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Shanedorf said:

...It’s absolutely insane how well Rodgers takes care of the ball.

Of quarterbacks to throw at least 1,000 attempts the last three years, Rodgers’s 0.65% interception rate is far and away the best. Drew Brees was 1.19% at No. 2, Patrick Mahomes was 1.39% at No. 3, and Wilson was 1.67% at No. 4. 

Let’s add historical context. Only seven times in NFL history has a quarterback thrown 500+ attempts with five or fewer interceptions. Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback to do it more than once. He owns FOUR of those seven seasons ! "

Even more insane: he’s done it THREE YEARS IN A ROW, 2018, 2019, and 2020. "

 

 

 

 

Aaron in this offense can be so deadly. Even with a middling defense we could take it all the way because of our offensive efficiency and giving so few extra possessions to the other team.  The trouble has been, we haven't been able to keep it up in the biggest games against the best competition.  Still, if this is the break up year it will be a shame because neither party will be better without the other next year.

As for the groupings, I think LaFleur would like 12 personnel  to be the bread and butter and with Marcedes, he can really punish teams with the versatility. He has been building his roster to have that H-Back as well as a more "move" TE.  The 21 packages are interesting with Jones and Dillon but I see that as more of a change up and something we are not yet as comfortable running, but might get there this season. As the numbers show, our 12 package can really be a problem for opposing defenses when we have all the parts working together.  Let's keep the party going!

Edited by Refugee
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What is Josiah Deguara's role in MLF's offense? It's obvious that he was targeted by this coaching staff and a very valuable 3rd round pick was used to take him. I understand that injuries have limited his time on the field but do you have a feel for how he fits into this offense as you have broken it down and described the pieces/roles/and philosophy involved?

I can't imagine that Tonyan's emergence as a weapon in the middle of the field and in the redzone changes anything as far as Deguara's role in the offense is concerned...

Does anyone have any insight as to why Lafleur targeted Deguara and what they hope his role will be and what any of you guys see with him and what your expectations are moving forward. Thanks..

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51 minutes ago, Bang! said:

What is Josiah Deguara's role in MLF's offense? It's obvious that he was targeted by this coaching staff and a very valuable 3rd round pick was used to take him. I understand that injuries have limited his time on the field but do you have a feel for how he fits into this offense as you have broken it down and described the pieces/roles/and philosophy involved?

I can't imagine that Tonyan's emergence as a weapon in the middle of the field and in the redzone changes anything as far as Deguara's role in the offense is concerned...

Does anyone have any insight as to why Lafleur targeted Deguara and what they hope his role will be and what any of you guys see with him and what your expectations are moving forward. Thanks..

He's a FB/H-Back. 

We run a lot of counter lead stuff, a lot of PA checkdown stuff, and a lot of swing screen stuff, Deguara's great as a blocker in space and fits that role as a perfect scheme fit. 

Where as McCarthy ran a ton of 11 personnel with a true receiving TE, LaFleur runs a lot of 12 with the second TE needing to be able to block in space, and to be able to run routes a little. Tonyan is a more traditional receiving TE. 

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On 8/26/2021 at 5:02 AM, craig said:

Thanks, Ma.  "6 guys taking up 1/3" sounds excessive.  You've got 11 starters each way.  If 6 of those are big-ticket "1/3", that seems high, but maybe it's not that bad?  If I've got a good team, I'd like to think you could fill 5 starting spots with guys on rookie contracts, or thrifty anti-awful support players.  Last year we had Lazard, MVS, Tonyan, Jones, Patrick all on rookie/discount contracts.  Jenkins too.  Lewis was on a thrifty contract.  I'd expect a good team should routinely be able to scramble up about 5 starters like that who won't absorb lots of salary. 

I don't know what salary cap will be, but with TV deals, 17 games, and assuming without Covid restrictions, plus with gambling moneys and stuff, I assume $240 won't be too high for very long.  So if $80 goes for the top-6 offensive tickets; $80 for the top-6 defensive tickets; and then there is $80 for the other 40 guys, I'm not sure that's too little really for the other-40.  Other than 1st rounders, the average for UDFA and draftees-later-than-1st isn't more than ~$1M.  So if you've got ~$30M for 30 guys, there could be ~$50 to spread over the other dozen guys.  So yeah, I kinda think your third-third-third is actually a pretty fair target to make kinda ideal?  

Its all about drafting isn't it ?

Particularly getting wins from say the 4th and 5th round. If you can hit  on one of those each year then getting enough starters on rookie contracts becomes a lot easier.

This is where keeping MVS is a problem. He probably isn't (unless he has another jump) a star player but he isn't cheap. You want him in your team but the reality is you might want that sort of role to be a rookie deal contract. 

If Jenkins 'works' at LT then that creates another problem as you probably need to pay him LT money as well as Jaire costing crazy money.

 

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1 hour ago, mikemike778 said:

If Jenkins 'works' at LT then that creates another problem as you probably need to pay him LT money

I'm a little nervous he might be our emergency QB, too, and if he ever gets snaps there he's going to command Patrick Mahomes money

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3 hours ago, mikemike778 said:

If Jenkins 'works' at LT then that creates another problem as you probably need to pay him LT money as well as Jaire costing crazy money.

You're probably only getting Jenkins at LT until Bakh gets back.  Hard to believe he's going to get top LT money based on a ~6 game sample size.  He can either get top OG money (~$16M) or he can get top RT money (~$18M).  They're similar enough.  I don't see him getting elite LT money (~$22M).  Assuming his stint at LT goes well, I think RT might be his long-term future.

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12 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

He's a FB/H-Back. 

We run a lot of counter lead stuff, a lot of PA checkdown stuff, and a lot of swing screen stuff, Deguara's great as a blocker in space and fits that role as a perfect scheme fit. 

Deguara's also got plus value on those quick-hit 5 yard arrows as we saw in the Buffalo game FWIW. He may have a slightly bigger role as a pass-catcher at points in the season depending on the opponent.

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8 minutes ago, Joe said:

Deguara's also got plus value on those quick-hit 5 yard arrows as we saw in the Buffalo game FWIW. He may have a slightly bigger role as a pass-catcher at points in the season depending on the opponent.

Definitely, the out of there backfield PA stuff is huge for us out of that spot.

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