One way or another, depending on how you look at it, the Packer offense is either the oldest of it’s kind in design, or an innovation. I contend the latter and here is why: with a spread offense and 4-5 wide receivers – each of whom can play at any of the wr spots, mind you – this offense has real firepower that cannot be stopped by a conventional defense.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say. And immediate examples are in the playoff games and the Superbowl recently won over the Steelers. Note that none of the opponents were able to even slow down the Packer offense, much less to “hold them to a low-score” or the like. In fact, but for the 4 or so drops by Packer receivers during the game, Green Bay would have even won the game by a much more significant margin; say more like 21 points. And you know that it’s true.
Not to make light of the Steeler defense. They played exceedingly well and are probably the best defense in the league; certainly better than the NY Jets and I believe better than the Green Bay defense also. The Steelers hit, banged and blitzed their way into the backfield of the Packers but just could not stop the production. I think Pittsburgh was amazing in that they stayed close and put some real hit on Aaron Rodgers and (let’s face it) basically did succeed in shutting down the Packer running game.
But my point is, to what end?
Once the running game was stopped, the Packers still had the awesome firepower of their
passing game at hand. And it is a very, very simple structure, actually. Receivers running easy patterns and just overloading the zones. The Steelers played man-coverage with the main receivers and supplemented with zone in the deep back sections – but they forced Green Bay to be quick with numerous quick, disguised blitz packages that Mr. Rodgers neighborhood had probably not seen all year long. And still, the Packers kept on moving the ball.
But in fact, take a closer look: the Packers tended to lose yards or have very small gains on most downs. It was that 3rd down in each series; usually just connecting on one pass out of 2-3 attempts that not only kept them alive but gave them their win. They produced most of their yardage on big-yardage plays and they did so even under a heavy pass rush which did not allow Aaron Rodgers more than 2 seconds (at times) to get rid of the football.
Bottom line is this: which defense in the league right now can stop that Green Bay passing attack?
Answer: None. This offense will require that a whole new type of defense be created that can cover 4 or 5 good receivers and give a strong pass rush. That defense will need real cover corners and safeties; and lots of them. Think Miami can stop the full Green Bay attack? Well, the team that can at least slow that offense will be in the Super Bowl next year (provided the CBA gets worked-out and we get to enjoy a season). And you can pretty much take that to the bank.