High red zone Packers concepts in 2021

We finished getting a look at how Packers made explosive passes a few weeks ago, but I wanted to keep the train rolling with some situational football before we head back to a deep dive into specific concepts. So today we’ll be looking at the Packers Red Zone’s passing attack: specifically, the high red zone concepts.

Hey man. What is the height of the red zone? There is no such thing as a high red zone channel. Stupid.

Excellent point. Well articulated. Looking at the red zone, we divided it into 10-yard zones. The high red area is defined as 11-20, while the low red area is defined as 0-10. You can break up the lower red area a bit more if you’d like, but we won’t do that here.

So our appearance of the high red zone will focus on plays that had a streak of scrimmage between the 11-20 yard line. Fabulous?

Yes, that makes sense. Sorry I called you an idiot.

Thank you, but you may not have been wrong.

So let’s get into it. I’ll give yardage per average (YPA) because it’s relevant here in the high red (definitely more convenient than it would be in the low red), but there’s still a limit to your yardage here. After all, the maximum yardage you can get in a single game here is 20.

In this part of the field we are still seeing some deeper concepts, but they will stick to 3-5 steps, mainly because there is not enough field to accommodate a concept that needs 7 steps to develop.

Today, we’ll look at some of the most important concepts that packers use in the high red zone. Next week, we’ll do the same for the low red area.

Dragon (7 attempts, 10.0 YPA, 4 TDs)

Dragon (also known as Slant/Flat) is a concept as old as time itself. Archaeologists found the diagram written on the walls of the caves. No one knew what it meant until the modern scrolling game was formed.

Packers fans had a rather complicated relationship with this concept, which originated mainly from the Mike McCarthy era. When I say “Packers fans” I mean I, myself, would have come very close to writing multiple letters to the editor if McCarthy hadn’t stopped Richard Rodgers’ release on the flat road. (No offense to Richard Rodgers: This wasn’t the best use of his skill set.)

The concept itself is a solid ball control concept, with the ability to hit the occasional big play on the incline. My favorite example of the Packers using the Dragon in the high red in 2021 was Marquis Valdes-Scantalling’s touchdown against the Ravens in Week 15.

MVS is the outside WR on the 2WR side, with Josiah Deguara as the TE in the line to that side. The Ravens shade the safety over Davante Adams as the isolated WR plays on the other side and the defenders all play upside down, indicating a man covering. Aaron Rodgers reads the defense line. As Rodgers hits the backfoot on his last step, the flat defender heads toward the flat and the “deep” defender on that side plays Deguara, so Rodgers allows a tear-off to the MVS’s downhill, leading him up the field.

MVS has a nice obstacle and is able to survive and capture TD.

If the flat defender is occupied in another way—as in the next clip—the throw can travel quickly into the flat and allow him to operate in space.

Of course, in the high red area, there is enough space for a vertical mark. This TD ends up going to Robert Tonyan on a corner road away from the Dragon side – Tonyan makes one-on-one with this LB ready easily for Rodgers – but the Packers run my favorite Dragon variety on the other side.

Adams sells the Milan convincingly and ends up rotating his leg like a top. The throw doesn’t go that way, but it will be very good. It’s a nice contrast to a concept the Packers run around so often. They’ve had some nice success in the past, and it’s always a pleasure to see it.

Crush (7 attempts, 5.1 YPA, 2 TDs)

On the face of it, this is a concept that appears to be tailored to this exact area of ​​the field. The concept of reading high and low doesn’t need a home run, so you can only hit the bottom track in space each time if coverage gives you it.

Although they got 2 TDs out of this — pegging it as second-highest TDs in the high red on a single concept in 2021 — the Packers didn’t have the consistent success with the concept I expected of them. For the most part, the four shortcomings were the result of covering up the initial reading, and the rush breaking through the line before Rodgers could find another option.

What I love about the completions is that they all went different ways. In the first segment, it goes to Adams on the short road, and runs on a whip road from the outside. In the second clip, he goes to Allen Lazard on TD’s Corner Road. In the third clip, the Packers turn on Smash out of Trips, and Adams loses a slashing/hesitating track out of the slot.

Double China / Dusty (2 attempts, 13.0 YPA, 1 TD)

Double China (or “dusty,” as you’ve seen it called) is a close relative of Smash. Maybe more like a brother. The concept is basically the same, but instead of having one short road, there are two overlapping roads down the corner road. The Packers ran this twice in the high red in 2021, both coming up against the 49ers in Week 3. In the first clip, Rodgers had to walk away from the concept and found Adams behind. In the second clip, the defense was aligned a little differently so he could shoot the MVS on the corner road for a touchdown (one of my favorite throws of the year).

Stick (7 attempts, 5.0 YPA, 2 TDs, 1 INT)

The stick is a core concept in the Quick Packers game, and Rogers is an expert in it. The Packers will run this as a one-man and two-man concept, with both versions usually paired with a vertical track outside to free up space.

The cleanest representatives in this region both went to Allen Lazard. The first section is a landing against brown in the appearance of a two-legged stick. Rodgers hits his back foot and throws at Lazard, who just came out of a break against a waning defender. Lazard is able to get the edge and plunge into the end zone for the 443rd TD in the Rodgers career, surpassing Brett Favre for most TD passes by the Packers QB.

The second clip is the third and fourth against the 49 players in the playoffs, with a one-man appearance. Lazard has an outside sway against the hole defender and Rodgers takes the ball out quickly (he throws the ball low to protect against the outside trap defender).

The reason the throw was low is because of what happened in the previous play. The 2nd & 9 & the Packers had a one-man stick with Cobb/Adams on the left. Rodgers hits his back foot and throws at Adams, but the boundary defender falls as a trap defender and detonates him after earning 5.

Stick is a nice fast and safe game concept in the Packers arsenal, but in the compressed confines of the high red zone, the teams seem to be sitting on that concept. They picked up TD’s fun from a broken play against Washington…

…but the rest of the pieces feature two instances of Rodgers catching the ball after the defense looks to jump/trap, and one instance of Rodgers throwing the MVS as a one-on-one vertical choice away from the concept and the next even blank.

Overall, I still like the concept, but Packers will have to take a look at the usage in this area of ​​the field. I’d like to see them mix it up a bit. Instead of sticking to a quick hangover, throw a whip way in there. Have the defense tilt outward, then reverse inward. Or make more use of the stick / hitch road so you don’t run into the boundary trap. It doesn’t have to be a massive departure, but with defenses jumping as much as they are, they’ll have to mix it up a bit to allow the concept to be viable in this area.

You will do it in this section! There are other concepts the Packers have used here – Mesh, Dagger, Drift, PA Boot, etc. – but I think we’ve had a long enough. I’ll probably get rid of these broken bits somewhere eventually, but that feels good for now.


Thank you for your patience. I really wanted to get this running schedule when I was out of town, but it just didn’t quite match. But we are here now and we are moving into the foreseeable future.

Next week we’ll look at some of the low red zone concepts the Packers used in 2021. If you want to revisit what we’ve looked at so far, you can do it!

Deep Dive into Packaging Companies’ Use of RPOs in 2021
Packers use the PA Boot concept – and its key variations – in 2021
Concepts the Packers used to create explosive plays in 2021
Concepts that beams may rely on to create explosive plays in 2022


Albums He’s Listened To: Jacques Savoretti – Europeana Encore; Kate Bush – dogs of love; Angel Olsen – great moment; Andrew Bird – internal problems; Sherwater – Great Awakening