GreenBay Packer Nation

Player Relaxation and Fan Anticipation Part 3: Red Zone Run Sets

The Packers have the best red zone quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers. In 2016, Rodgers was 64/108 for a 59.26 percent completion rate and 31 touchdowns from inside the 20. Inside the 10, Rodgers was 33/49 for a 67.35 percent completion rate and 24 touchdowns. What could be better than that? Well, let’s find out.

The Packers’ passing game was devastating in the red zone and looks to be improved in 2017 with the addition of Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. But the ground game in the red zone was almost non-existent. Ty Montgomery had 12 runs for 32 yards and just three touchdowns inside the 20 and 6 runs for 10 yards and an additional three touchdowns from inside the 10 yard line. Aaron Ripkowski added 9 rushes for 16 yards and 2 TD’s from the 20 and 4 for 6 yards and another 2 TD’s from inside the 10 yard line.


Aaron Rodgers added four touchdowns on the ground and he will continue to be a red-zone concern on the ground in 2017. We all know that Rodgers is dangerous on the ground when he has to scramble but early in the season, Rodgers was rushing too much. The loss of Eddie Lacy and James Starks and the rotation of players like Nile Davis and Christine Michael before the Packers finally settled on Ty Montgomery certainly didn’t help. This year needs to be different, and it should be.


The ability to run the ball helps an offense manipulate the defense and get them out of position. Aaron Rodgers is as good as it gets at reading defenses pre-snap and this year should have the tools to legitimately threaten either the pass or the run in the red zone. This bodes well for the Packers’ scoring chances and should be a grave concern for defenses. Here are just a couple sets that I am looking forward to seeing and the reasons for each. Each of these sets offers multiple play options and that is the fun part. 

1. 2 RB, 1 TE, 1 WR, 1 Extra Lineman

Coach McCarthy has said that Jason Spriggs is a tackle, not a guard and I agree. But the Packers also make it a point to get their best players on the field so I think coach McCarthy this offseason has been thinking about how to get that done with Jason Spriggs. Last year, the Packers added Spriggs as an additional lineman a couple of times. The formation hearkened back to the Super Bowl run of 2010/2011 when Green Bay employed TJ Lang as a tight end and had BJ Raji in the backfield. I expect to see something similar this year and the red zone is the place to roll it out (also…later in the season is the time to roll it out). You can give your thoughts on who the two running backs could be (feel free to get creative here) but if one of them is Aaron Ripkowski and the tight end is Martellus Bennett, along with the extra lineman, there is a lot of poundage coming downhill. Run that out of a two back pistol formation or offset Rip and put Ty behind Aaron in the pistol set and defenses would tremble. Don’t forget that Jordy Nelson could be split out wide on a roll-out and if he wasn’t open…who is going to keep Aaron Rodgers from taking it himself?

2. 2 RB, 2 TE, 1 WR

I love the idea of a red-zone formation that does not declare to the defense. With this set the Packers can go symmetrical or motion to overload but the symmetrical set intrigues me. I would have Montgomery behind the larger Martellus Bennett and Rip behind Kendricks. With Nelson or Adams split wide, play action is still a theoretical option but if the Packers can’t get one or two yards with this set, it is time to go home. This will be especially effective when the Packers are trying to complete a drive in the hurry-up.

Well, those are just a couple of groupings that the Packers could use to make the ground game an integral part of the red-zone offense. There are many variations that can be used in these formations and I am sure you are excited for certain ones. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what particular plays you think we will see out of these looks. Please let me know in the comments below or back on the Facebook Fanpage.

Go Pack!