Monday, April 16, 2012

When The Inability To Run Might Be A Good Thing

Pro Football Focus looks at how well teams ran inside last season, and it's not a big surprise that the Green Bay Packers aren't very good at running in the B-gap (between the guard and tackle). But is this a problem?

I'm sure Mike McCarthy wants his players to execute each play better than their opponent, so I'm sure he sees this as an area for improvement. Maybe OT Marshall Newhouse isn't much of a run blocker, or FB John Kuhn isn't great at getting through the line to take out a linebacker.

The best team last season at running through the B-gap was the Buffalo Bills. And Pro Football Focus noted that most of the Bills' success came when they ran from a shotgun formation. Which is something the Packers offense does on occasion, but it seems like it's used only as a change of pace because it almost never works for them.

Running up the middle seems like a play that's designed to fail. The Packers are pretty predicable about when they're going to run (usually on first down) and that's when they kill their opponent with the play action pass. And if they're sacrificing the run to set-up the big passing play, then that's a trade-off I'd be glad to see them take again next season. Here's an example of a likely inside run to the left that became a big play down field to the right:

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