The Green Bay Packers struggled from many offensive problems in 2015. The most egregious seemed to be the play calling. It may have been the result of the unsuccessful transition to Tom Clements calling plays, but the Packers offense spent much of the season sending four receivers running 10 yard curl routes and standing around waiting for Aaron Rodgers to make the perfect throw.
In 2016, there are a few West Coast fundamentals the Packers can get back to in order to be more successful. The first is the screen pass. Quick screens to Wide Receivers were rarely open last season because opposing defenses did not need to respect any of the Packers receivers as deep threats. With Jordy Nelson back and the addition of Jared Cook, Safeties should have to stay deeper. This will allow Rodgers to get the ball out quickly and let the Wide Receivers use their skills after the catch. The Safeties being engaged should also open up the traditional screen passes to the Running Backs, and an in-shape Eddie Lacy can be a serious danger to the defenses if he can get through to the secondary. It also helps to have one of the most athletic Centers in the league in Corey Linsley leading the way.
The Packers also have to get back to throwing more slants and rub plays. Miscommunication and lazy route running ruined many of these plays last season. With an added emphasis on enforcing offensive pass interference, James Jones got called out for blatantly blocking opposing players a few times last year. Packer receivers have to be more precise and less intentional on those routes.
Davante Adams did not finish slant routes well, which led to at least two interceptions. Aaron Rodgers needs to reestablish a relationship with his pass catchers that allows him to be able to throw passes across the middle, and the receivers need to be willing to trust Rodgers not to lead them into trouble.
With some adjustments to play calling and personnel the Packers offense has the ability to get back to the team we have come to expect over the last several years. The willingness to call more screens, slants, and rubs will make a big difference in reaching those expectations.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig