Certainly, it’s important for the offense to work on the mechanics of the no-huddle so the unit has it available for use in a game if a change-of-pace might be needed.
But the work is just as valuable for the defense, if not moreso, because of the number of teams in the NFL that will call on the no-huddle at any point in a game.
“We’re going to see that,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “You see more and more in this league, the Peyton Manning approach. He has a lot of time with the no-huddle to try to get you to show your hand on defense.
“That’s why you see all the gyrations and hard count and all that to try to get you to show your hand, and then they’re going to try to get into the best play against what they think you’re in defensively.”
Generally speaking, it’s experienced quarterbacks like Manning in Indianapolis who are adept at the no-huddle. It allows them to limit defensive substitutions and attack a particular defensive personnel group for an entire series.
But, as Capers noted, the no-huddle isn’t necessarily a hurry-up mode, because the quarterback will stand at or behind the line of scrimmage sometimes for several seconds to try to get a pre-snap defensive read. So it’s important for the defense not to automatically react to the no-huddle by speeding themselves up unnecessarily.
“It’s good for us because you have to learn patience,” Capers said. “When they aren’t huddling, the tendency is you get too anxious. But you’ve got to have a 40-second clock that you can see, because we really don’t want to show our hand until there’s about 8 seconds on the clock. You do it before that, they’re normally going to get in the play they want to be in.”
There’s no telling for sure how often the Packers might face the no-huddle in 2010, but they will see a number of quarterbacks with at least two years of experience as starters who may employ it at some point. That group would include Chicago’s Jay Cutler, Washington’s Donovan McNabb, Dallas’ Tony Romo, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, New England’s Tom Brady, the New York Giants’ Eli Manning, and possibly Minnesota’s Brett Favre.
Honored off the field
Wide receiver Greg Jennings has been honored by a national organization for his ongoing efforts in the community. Sporting Generosity, which indentifies contributions to the community made by professional athletes and organizations, named Jennings its “player of the month” for August 2010.
Jennings, through the Greg Jennings Foundation, is currently working with Habitat for Humanity to build two homes, one in Wisconsin and one in his hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich. The foundation’s annual charity golf outing raised enough money this past spring to build two homes. The foundation already built a home with Habitat for Humanity in Milwaukee in 2008.
In addition, Jennings and his foundation have initiated a program called “Touchdowns for Hope” to raise funds for the House of Hope in Green Bay. The House of Hope offers a safe, supportive place for young mothers to learn to become competent adults and independent, successful parents, and the foundation will be hosting a kickoff gala for the organization on Sept. 7 in Green Bay.
For more information on Jennings’ foundation, click here.
Green Bay finalists
Two former Green Bay Packers were finalists for the 2010 NFL Teacher of the Year award.
Former safety Johnnie Gray (1975-84), a member of the Packers Hall of Fame and currently on the team’s board of directors, teaches at Syble Hopp School in nearby De Pere, Wis., and former fullback Dexter McNabb (1992-93), who teaches at nearby Pulaski High School, were two of the 10 finalists for the award.
The award went to former Seattle Seahawks guard Frank Beede, a teacher at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif. Beede will receive a $5,000 grant, as will his school.
Beginning in 1990, the NFL Teacher of the Year award provided an opportunity for players to honor teachers who had the greatest impact on their educational and life-skills development. Under a revised format adopted this year, the program now invites school administrators to nominate former NFL players who entered the field of education after retiring from football.
Some Green Bay history is included in a new book by Sports Illustrated senior writer Tim Layden. The book, entitled Blood, Sweat and Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How The Great Coaches Built Today’s Game, highlights the iconic plays and schemes throughout the history of football, and there’s an entire chapter devoted to legendary head coach Vince Lombardi’s “power sweep,” which the Packers perfected en route to five league championships in the 1960s.
Also included in the book is a discussion of the “zone blitz,” of which Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was one of the innovators during the early 1990s with the Pittsburgh Steelers.