Playing '2-Man' vs. the Packers? Good luck…

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If you want to play 2-Man (2 deep, underneath man coverage) vs. the Packers in the red zone, you will get beat. It is that simple from my perspective because of the matchup problem TE Jermichael Finley will cause inside of the numbers.

Let’s go back to last night’s Packers-Colts game in Indy and check out Aaron Rodgers’ TD pass to Finley. Take a look at the video replay and then we will get into some detailed coaching points.

Personnel and alignment: Rodgers and the Packers are in "Posse" (or 311) personnel (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) vs. the Colts base Nickel package (4 DL, 2 LB, 5 DB). Use pre-snap motion (“waste motion” with the RB) to create an empty look and put more stress on the two deep safeties.

2-Man: Different than Cover 2 (or Tampa 2), the five underneath defenders will play in a “trail-man” position. Align with inside leverage and play to the bottom hip of the receiver—using the safeties as protection over the top. That leaves both the SS and FS to play “true” deep half coverage without the CBs sinking hard in Tampa 2 to protect the 7 (corner) route.

The route scheme: Nothing complicated here. Run the underneath “stick” routes and target Finley on an inside vertical seam down the hash. However, check out Starks here. Remember, I mentioned the “waste motion” above. Move the RB to a No.1 alignment and use a clear out 9 (fade) route. He isn’t on the field to get the ball; instead the Packers want to work a concept inside of the numbers.

Finley on the seam route: Start with Rodgers on the replay. He looks off the FS (essentially holding him on a landmark) and then comes back to Finely on the seam route. Matched up on the Colts Pat Angerer, the LB now has to play the speed and athletic ability of Finley in a trail position. Tough work right there. And with both safeties removed from the middle of the field, this becomes a one-on-one matchup that favors the offense. Even with Angerer playing the technique of the defense, this is a matchup Finley should win.

We are talking about Green Bay, but you can apply this discussion to any NFL offense. I see plenty of defenses playing 2-Man in the NFL on Sundays. It is a great call to take away inside breaking routes (think Hi-Lo concepts). But if I am a defensive coordinator in this league, there is no chance I play this coverage inside of the 20-yard line.

Check back to the NFP later today when I will break down DeAngelo Hall's "pick-six" vs. the Ravens from Thursday night.

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