Commentary

Patience in run game key for Packers

Originally Published: October 2, 2009
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Scouts Inc. breaks down the five key storylines in the NFC showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings on "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET):

  • Quality run plays for the Packers: RB Ryan Grant rushed for 99 yards in Week 3, but they came on 26 carries for a modest 3.8-yard average. This has developed into a pass-first, run-second offense and you just don't feel that the Packers will have the patience to stay with the run game if big plays aren't coming. Right now, they don't get enough yardage on first down, especially on running plays, and that forces them to open things up on second and third downs. At some point the Packers are going to need their run game to close out the clock and finish a game and right now they may not be able to do that. This run game has an even bigger challenge this week versus a strong Minnesota run defense that is very stout and held San Francisco without a third-down conversation in Week 3.

  • Will we see the Big Okie?: The Packers' problems at safety have been well documented and they decided to roll out a new defensive look, the "Big Okie," versus St. Louis. Green Bay used five linebackers and only one safety (3-5-3 look) to make the defense stronger against the run, but this strategy also makes the defense vulnerable down the middle of the field to pass-catching tight ends, especially if the offense can get a linebacker matched up on the tight end. While the Packers could use this scheme to slow down back Adrian Peterson, it will give Brett Favre a chance to utilize a play fake to freeze the linebackers and then hit the seams with only one safety sitting in the middle.
    Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.