When the Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field to play the Green Bay Packers for the regular season opener, they will be looking for redemption. These two teams last faced off during Week 14 of last season, and the Packers made Seattle look like a high school team. Russell Wilson threw five interceptions, while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense put up 38 points against the vaunted Seattle defense.
With the Seahawks’ offensive struggles, Green Bay was working with a short field for most of the game. Something that Seattle was not able to do was pressure Rodgers. For almost the entire game, the Packers offensive line stonewalled the Seattle pass rush, giving Rodgers plenty of time to dissect the Seattle defense.
Green Bay utilized multiple crossers in the middle of the field to create confusion in the Seattle Cover 3 defense, creating soft spots in the zone. They also would run four-yard crosses or out routes for Rodgers to throw quick hits and make easy completions. With very little pass rush from Seattle, Rodgers could let plays develop and he picked apart the defense.
One notable moment in the game was on Green Bay’s first drive, when Davante Adams scored on a 66-yard touchdown pass. Adams, highlighted in the image below, was set right next to Randall Cobb.
Adams would run a short out route, that was initially covered very well by Jeremy Lane. But with little pressure, Rodgers was able to move out of the pocket and buy time.
Adams would then break upfield, beating Lane on the break. Adams then had a step on Lane, allowing for Rodgers to hit him in stride and score the touchdown.
What this did was force Seattle to be conservative on the short routes the rest of the game. Without being able to attack the short routes, Rodgers was consistently finding his receivers open in the flats, letting the Packers get four or five-yard gains.
What the Seahawks need to do better this time is mix in zone blitzes. Most of Rodgers throws came against a four-man rush that rarely got to him. Kris Richard needs to force Rodgers to make quicker throws and not allow him four or more seconds in the pocket. If they can disguise their blitzes, it could create confusion for a Packers offensive line that lost J.C. Tretter and T.J. Lang in free agency. The recent addition of Sheldon Richardson will help create pressure up the middle, either forcing Rodgers into the arms of a Seattle end, or to throw quick, ill-advised throws.
Another addition that Seattle will have this time against Green Bay is a healthy Earl Thomas. Thomas is the quarterback of the Seattle coverage, adjusting the defense to the right spots. His ability to play the deep middle third of the field will help limit the deep throws by Rodgers.
If Seattle’s defense can slow down this Packers offense, this will be a very competitive game on Sunday. It’s unlikely that Wilson will throw five interceptions again, and will hopefully get the offense to score more than 10 points.