Gregg Williams’ game plan made it too easy for Green Bay

If you have read enough of the work I do here for WFNY, you know that I don’t like blaming breakdowns on coaches unless the blame is obvious enough to warrant it. On Sunday, we witnessed Packer’s backup quarterback Brett Hundley methodically work up and down the field against the Browns defense to the tune of 35-46 for 265 yards and three touchdowns. This is by far the best effort we have seen from Hundley since taking over for the injured Aaron Rodgers, and if you watched the game Sunday you could see how easy it was for the Packers to make simple plays that allotted for both easy first downs, and big plays when Green Bay needed it most.

While I don’t think the initial schematic plan was terrible, the failure to adjust as the Packers kept successfully attacking it is what was most concerning.

The plan was obvious: Play your corners at about eight-to-ten yards depth and have them work initial bail technique. Williams obviously didn’t want Hundley to beat them over the top. Again, this was a sound initial concept from Williams, but as the Packers kept taking advantage of it, something had to change. If you keep getting beat in the quick passing game, run some hard down corner Cover 2, some exchange or invert Cover 2, press corner man concepts. The Browns keep a deep free safety for this exact reason. The failure to adjust in key situations on Sunday was beyond alarming and merits a second look.

Q-1 14:56 Hundley to Nelson, 12-yard reception

First play from scrimmage, and the game plan is obvious. This one is easy for Hundley as Nelson runs a quick hitch and Taylor, aligned eight yards off initially, is in hard bail technique. A sign of things to come.

Q-1 10:16 Hundley to Cobb, 9-yard reception

Key 4th-and-1 situation and Jason McCourty is aligned six yards off initially with inside technique and taking initial steps in bail. This “now” route and throw makes it too easy for the Packers.

Q-3 12:50 Hundley to Nelson, 8-yard reception

Another key down-and-distance involving short yardage and the Browns have their corner aligned eight deep and in initial bail technique. This throw from Hundley to Nelson is too easy.

Q-3 2:49 Hundley to Allison, 8-yard reception

Another easy pitch and catch to get ahead of the sticks. Three-step Hundley drop and a simple hitch route from Geronimo Allison results in eight easy yards as McCourty’s depth and bail do very little to put up a fight.

Q-3 2:06 Hundley to Allison, 8-yard reception

Stop me if you have seen this one before. Almost identical to the play above it. These throws are as basic and easy as it gets for an NFL quarterback.

Q-4 8:21 Hundley to Williams, 9-yard reception

Browns continually use Joe Schobert in deep Tampa-2 coverage (using the MIKE linebacker to cover deep middle of the field) when they present the pre-snap coverage with two high safeties. When they do this, it makes check downs to the running back simple. The Packers showed zero deep middle threats or schemes throughout the game, yet Williams kept using this scheme. Even late in the game.

Q-4 8:12 Hundley to Adams, 8-yard reception

Packers come back to the “Now” route concept with McCourty eight yards off. Easy throw and catch, as McCourty failed to come up and make open-field tackles on Sunday.

Q-4 7:35 Hundley to Nelson, 8-yard reception

Short down and distance at a key time in the game, and Browns allow for an easy slide and chip scheme here. The depth pre snap makes this scheme so easy to operate. Also, this is not a pick play as long as the receiver makes the catch one yard from the line of scrimmage, and in this case, Nelson had caught the ball by the time the block was made.

The problem here is the ease and simplicity with which Green Bay was able to march up and down the field. All the throws I presented to you were made withing five yards of the line of scrimmage and most resulted in easy eight to nine yard gains. When you allow a young quarterback like Hundley to get in a rhythm like this, it is dangerous for your defense. In response Gregg Williams treid to do what he normally does: blitz.

Williams corner depth and over blitzing made these throws too easy for Hundley, and basically nullified any hope the Browns had in getting home on Hundley for a sack or pressure with their front four. Hundley was to get rid of the ball at an average of 2.16 seconds on Sunday. That is extremely quick by NFL quarterback standards and makes things almost impossible for the Browns front to be impactful. It’s not like when Williams actually shifted their corner alignment, he didn’t see results. Hundley consistently missed on deep throws up the sidelines.

The Jason McCourty struggles were quite obvious, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t one hundred percent healthy given his change in results from his first half of the season tha saw him playing amongst the top five corners in the league. The Packers plan to attack him was quite successful.


The Browns formula for failures is widespread in 2017, and plenty of blame is to go around. Gregg Williams has done some nice things for the Browns defensively, but other areas have really suffered as well. For the Browns to get the most out of this injury riddled defense in the last three games, Williams will have to mix up his looks, and make things more difficult on the opposing quarterback than he did this past Sunday. I hope we see some of those changes this week against Baltimore.