Pre Game Notes: Panthers vs Packers

By John Ellis

Follow the Formula

Carolina has won five games with Kyle Allen under center this year. The common thread with each of the wins? Sustaining a competitive balance for the first 30 minutes. The formula is very simple: lean heavily upon your strengths (zone blocking, 12 personnel, 5-7 runs for McCaffrey per quarter). Green Bay doesn’t have nearly the intensity in terms of coverages and talent as San Francisco does in the defensive backfield, but this is still a dangerous game for Allen. One key to Carolina’s win last week was scoring first. It means the world to this entire team for that to happen. It gives Allen a chance to relax and get into the flow of the game, while putting the opposition behind the eight ball, a place where Carolina’s defense can unleash their elite group of pass rushers. It’s a simple formula, and it all comes down to running the ball with consistency and purpose early against one of the worst run defenses in the league. To take it a step further, running off left guard and tackle has been a great rule of thumb for Green Bay’s opponents this year.

Rush Rodgers, With Caution

The idea with Aaron Rodgers in terms of a pass rush is to build a net around him. Think back to when Carolina struggled against Michael Vick. Now, that’s a bit of a different situation, granted. But the concept is still the same. You don’t want Aaron Rodgers moving laterally out of the pocket. Once he does break contain, often times aggressive comes through with some of his biggest, most backbreaking plays against the defense. Once again, in our m film review from Los Angeles last week, they did an exceptional job in pushing the pocket inside while maintaining leverage on the edge. The Chargers have their own version of the NASCAR package, and on several snaps, Melvin Ingram rushed from the inside, flanked by Joey Bosa to his left. That presented monumental challenges for assignments upfront. You’ll see Brian Burns on the edge quite a bit today, and I would assume a lot of Mario Addison inside of Burns.

The Screen Game

Carolina has not employed a very robust screen game since Newton’s absence. I would look for that to change a little bit today. Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to bring pressure from both ends, and this would be a prime opportunity to utilize every type of screen you have: traditional HB screens, tunnel screens, TE screens. With DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey, you have two of the best RAC players in the game. It’s time to start giving them more opportunities with lead blockers. Norv Turner called a few of these plays last week with Moore, and they worked effectively.