During an interview that often felt more like an episode of “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did eventually get a chance to talk a little football with the boys at “Pardon My Take.”
Late in the interview, the NFL MVP dove into why he doesn’t always love the motion involved in Matt LaFleur’s scheme. The frustrations revolve around alternating tempos and some of the pass protection complications that go into running all the motion looks in the current Packers offense.
“When you have so much motion, it’s hard to get tempo going. You always have to make sure you’re set, and you have a motion, or a double motion, or a jet off of it,” Rodgers said.
Motion is used in so many NFL offenses now because it puts considerable lateral stress on the defense during the pivotal moments right before the snap. It can allow offenses to get a numbers advantage at the point of attack or on the edges or provide better blocking angles in the run game by manipulating defenders. It’s a staple component of the Shanahan/McVay/LaFleur offenses.
Rodgers, who admitted he sometimes “gets after” LaFleur for running too much motion, said he likes “to switch the tempo” at times. Motion takes time, so pushing the tempo and going fast really isn’t always an option.
Rodgers said he used to “marvel at Peyton Manning” who ran a static offense in simple two-by-two (two receivers, two tight ends) and three-by-one (three receivers, one tight end) formations. The static pre-snap look gave Manning a clear picture of the defense and allowed him to use his “cadence variation” to get the defense to show their hand early.
Rodgers still calls the West Coast offense the “most beautiful offense ever created.” He grew up in the system early in his career under Mike McCarthy.
Motion can sometimes complicate what is engrained in Rodgers’ mind in terms of setting pass protections and alignments pre-snap.
But don’t get it twisted: Rodgers still very much appreciates the schematic advantages of the current scheme.
“In this offense, it does put a lot of stress on the defense,” Rodgers said. “You have a motion, you have an outside zone look, you have a guy sealing backside. Off that, we have a run, we have a screen, we have a keeper, we have an action pass, we have so different looks off the same stuff. That’s why it works.”
Rodgers has won back-to-back MVPs in LaFleur’s offense. Motion works.