The Green Bay Packers have been devoting time in meetings and on the artificial turf of their indoor practice field this week to the no-huddle offense they expect to see from the Atlanta Falcons.
"We are aware they are doing some no-huddle, and their tempo is high," defensive end Cullen Jenkins said. "We're obviously adjusting our preparation so we can be prepared for it."
The Falcons have shown an inclination this season, particularly when they are playing in the Georgia Dome, to run their offense without huddling between plays. The volume has been as high as more than 30 plays in some games, most recently during a 26-21 home win over the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 11. Atlanta went no-huddle the entire first half and went back to it in a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
"We haven't seen much no-huddle, or for that fact we haven't seen much fast tempo (this season)," Jenkins said. "It will be something different for us, but we've got all of the confidence in the world and the coaches are preparing us for it now. We fully expect to be ready."
The Falcons' occasional use of the no-huddle hasn't been to the detriment of their methodical aim in games. The offense has been chewing up the game clock with regularity, tying for the league lead with 26 drives of at least 10 plays. Before Thursday's games, the Falcons led the league in plays from scrimmage (708, or 70.8 per game) and were second with an average time of possession of 33 minutes, 34 seconds.
"We've just got to make sure we don't get out-tempoed," said safety Charlie Peprah, who had a brief stint with the Falcons at the end of last season.
Atlanta's most viable plan of attack against Green Bay's surging defense, which has allowed only 10 points in the last three games, seemingly would be to cut loose quarterback Matt Ryan with calling the plays in the no-huddle. That would hinder the in-game personnel changes by the injury-marred defense, especially with the already-taxed linemen, and with that could mitigate the Packers' ability to set up their pressure schemes.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers has tweaked a few things this week, including the verbiage that will be used on the field Sunday.
"We have one-word signals or one word to give us the whole play," linebacker Desmond Bishop said. "If they come out in the no-huddle, we have just the word, and it triggers the whole play. So, that's definitely going to make it easier."
The last thing the Packers want to do is play into Atlanta's hands and allow Ryan and Co. to piece together long drives. The Falcons have scored on all but one of those possessions of double-digit plays.
Green Bay's defense, conversely, has managed to get off the field in relatively quick fashion more often than not. The Packers have allowed points in drives of 10 plays or more only seven times (two touchdowns, five field goals).