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Cheese Curds, 9/15: Packers run game contains the key to unlock defenses

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Those who have been paying close attention to the Green Bay Packers offense over the past decade will know the secret to defending Aaron Rodgers. After all, it’s not much of a secret at this point, there’s 13 years of tape on Rodgers, but it’s harder to stick to that game plan than it is to figure it out.

Perhaps the first time the blueprint was drawn up was in 2015, when Wade Phillips Denver Broncos defense closed off the Green Bay attack by using a two-high shell and doing so almost exclusively. Since then, there have been individual matches or multi-week stretches where the offense has been difficult, most of which have been due to teams adhering to that philosophy.

In fact, Rodgers splits against single-high vs. two-high security measures are dramatic, even in his MVP campaign a year ago. A key difference between last season and the first week is that the Packers Run game was effective for much of 2020 and kept teams out of those looks. On Sunday, however, the Packers didn’t even get a chance to get into their game script in the first half, thanks to a defense that allowed New Orleans to chew up almost the entire first two quarters en route to a 17-0 lead.

So if there’s one secret to preventing opponents from using this propensity to pass the Packers passing game again for the rest of 2021, it’s to get Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon going. Yes, passing is more efficient than running, but going all day in a defense designed and proven to make that pass attack less effective is not the way to go. That is, perhaps more than anything else, why Matt LaFleur preaches balance on offense.

Now, on to the curds.

Aaron Rodgers has a Kryptonite and the Saints exploited it | Touchdown wire
The blueprint is simple: if you can get the Packers away from the run game, you can hold two certainties deep and hinder Rodgers and Green Bay’s passing game. The Packers adaptation, of course, should be to keep the defense fair with the run play to force the defense to get more players into the box.

Aaron Rodgers believes Packers offensive line played really well in Week 1 | Packers Wire
Overall, the offensive line was well blocked, coming in 4th in the NFL in pass-block win rate. Unfortunately, one of the few blown blocks (by rookie Royce Newman on Cameron Jordan) led to Rodgers’ first interception, when he said he had taken a “double nut shot” that put his throw behind Davante Adams.

New Orleans Saints have eight organization members testing positive for COVID-19, sources say | ESPN
Meanwhile, the team that the Packers just played on Sunday is now facing COVID issues as six coaches, a nutritionist and one player (Michael Thomas) have tested positive. There is no word on which individuals have been vaccinated at this time, but it is noteworthy that Thomas did not play in Sunday’s game.

Dope Sheet: Packers Receive Lions in Home Opener on Monday Night Football | Packers.com
As we begin to turn our attention to week two, this will be the second time in three years and the third time in five seasons that the Packers-Lions game will take place Monday night at Lambeau Field.

Lions RB Jamaal Williams, formerly Packers fan favorite, eager to return to Green Bay The Athletic (subscription) this week
There is one notable connection to Green Bay on the Lions roster, and that is of course Williams, who had a great opening game for Detroit with a total of 100 yards and a touchdown.

Geneticist George Church receives funding for lab-grown woolly mammoths | CNBC.com
The scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could do it, that they didn’t stop to consider whether they should.

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