The Green Bay Packers’ lack of a deep passing game is obvious.
But that’s not the only problem afflicting Aaron Rodgers and Co.
The Packers’ receivers couldn’t get open against the Rams’ defensive backs. Especially on third down, the Rams played a lot of press coverage to take away Green Bay’s quick-hitting passing game.
“I wouldn’t say it was what they were doing,” receiver Randall Cobb said after the 24-10 victory. “I would say it was more what we didn’t do. We have to be better.”
In analyzing all 18 passing plays that came either on third down or the Packers’ two-minute series at the end of the first half, the Rams weren’t doing anything special.
In fact, after double-teaming Cobb on third down to start the game, the Rams basically challenged second-year cornerback Lamarcus Joyner to take away Cobb.
Joyner won. (See our play-by-play below.)
“We certainly could have done a better job (of beating press coverage),” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said on Monday. “You give your opponent some credit. They did a really nice job with some things they were able to do. When we needed to make plays, we made the plays necessary. We were able to put the ball in the end zone and obviously we won the game as a team. That’s really what it’s all about. You win as a team. Certainly, that’s an area where we can certainly improve on and we will moving forward and that’s just something that from a fundamental standpoint we’ll get better.”
After the game, Rodgers said the Rams focused on taking away Cobb. At least on the critical downs that we analyzed, that wasn’t the case. During the final three quarters, Cobb faced nothing but one-on-one coverage.
“We’ll have a plan and we certainly did coming into the game,” Bennett said of defenses double-teaming Cobb. “You make certain adjustments as the game continues. Our plan moving forward, we’ll spend more time on that and we’ll have a plan and obviously we have to win our one-on-one battles. If they’re doubling Randall, then obviously someone else is singled up. We have to make the most of that opportunity.”
COBB ON THIRD DOWN AND TWO-MINUTE DRILL
Third-and-7: Rodgers scrambles for 18 yards and a first down.
Cobb: Double-teamed by safeties T.J. McDonald and Mark Barron.
Third-and-6: Rodgers throws touchdown pass to Ty Montgomery.
Cobb: Cobb was covered in the slot by Lamarcus Joyner with safety Rodney McLeod coming down late to provide a second defender.
Third-and-2: Rodgers’ pass is deflected by safety Mark Barron and intercepted.
Cobb: Covered one-on-one by cornerback Trumaine Johnson; the ball is thrown to Richard Rodgers, who is open on an out.
Third-and-3: Rodgers’ pass to Richard Rodgers results in a gain of 2.
Cobb: Is the inside receiver in a three-receiver set. The Rams have three defensive backs on those receivers with a safety helping over the top.
Third-and-5: Rodgers scrambles up the middle for 2 yards.
Cobb: Is matched one-on-one in the slot by Joyner and can’t get free on a crossing route.
Third-and-5: Rodgers hits Ty Montgomery for a gain of 11.
Cobb: Lined up in the slot with James Jones motioning behind him to create a stack set. Cobb winds up against Janoris Jenkins and is open on an out. (On Jones’ touchdown in the third quarter, he also motions behind Cobb.)
First-and-15 from the 15: From the left slot, Cobb faces press coverage at the line of scrimmage and a safety, lined up 20 yards deep, rushes forward at the snap to provide double coverage. Defensive holding means an automatic first down.
First-and-10 from the 20: From the left slot, Joyner lines up 7 yards off Cobb. Rodgers throws it to him for an easy gain of 7.
Second-and-3 from the 27: As the middle man in a three-receiver set to the right, Cobb beats Joyner’s jam. The ball goes to Richard Rodgers for a gain of 12.
First-and-10 from the 39: Lines up in the right slot, Cobb runs a 1-yard out and winds up leveling Joyner as Rodgers runs for 3.
Second-and-7 from the 42: Cobb lines up in a tight slot to the left as Starks drops a screen to the right.
Third-and-7: Cobb lines up slot left but can’t shake free from Joyner’s press coverage. Rodgers is trapped and gets the ball to Starks to avoid a sack but the drive is over.
Third-and-4: Rodgers faces immediate pressure, scrambles to his right and throws incomplete to Starks.
Cobb: Lines up just behind and to the left of Richard Rodgers in a three-receiver set to the left. He’s jammed immediately and the play had no chance due to the pressure created when backup right guard Josh Walker fails to pick up a twist.
Third-and-8: The Packers (incorrectly) think they have a free play but no flag is thrown. Robert Quinn gets around left tackle David Bakhtiari for a sack-strip.
Cobb: Starts the play in the middle of a three-man set to the left and motions just behind and to the right of Richard Rodgers. He again is covered one-on-one by Joyner. Cobb appears to be getting open when the ball is knocked loose. Joyner recovers.
Third-and-6: Rodgers tries to scramble up the middle but Michael Brockers gets off Corey Linsley’s block and trips him up for the sack.
Cobb: Cobb is lined up in the left slot. Cobb and Jones try to pick off a defender, with Cobb running a wheel route upfield. He’s not open.
Third-and-6: Rodgers has nowhere to go and winds up throwing it to Starks but Barron is there for the breakup.
Cobb: Lines up in the right slot, with Jones motioning behind him and just to Cobb’s right. Cobb is jammed by Joyner and is not open. As Rodgers tries to buy some time, Cobb takes the route upfield but Joyner is stuck on Cobb’s hip and appears to be guilty of illegal contact.
Third-and-7: Rodgers hits Richard Rodgers for a gain of 18 and a huge first down to extend the drive. Green Bay burns two additional minutes off the clock and adds a field goal.
Cobb: Not in the game as the Packers line up in a rare two-receiver set.
Third-and-12: Rodgers hits Montgomery for a gain of 11.
Cobb: Not in the game as Montgomery is the lone receiver in the game.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.