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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

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In Sports

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers look over their options in the passing attack. (PHOTO: Jim Biever/Green Bay Packers)

Diversity of Packers route tree key to playoff success


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Such diversity becomes especially important as the Packers enter the playoffs. The Vikings are intimately familiar with the team's personnel and offense. And should Green Bay win Saturday night, it will travel to San Francisco for a rematch of Week 1.

"It helps in disguising," Williams said. "After doing it for weeks into the season, after a while people start figuring out what you've got going on but if you've got different people out there in different places it helps you disguise a little bit more. I think we've done a good job of that."

A key component to that deception is that every receiver must sell his route as if he is the primary read – even though his pattern may be designed to free up a teammate.

"Every route we run is to get open, even though we know that that combination route is to get the next guy open," veteran receiver Donald Driver said. "Say the tight end has the out route, the Z receiver or the flanker has a go route, he's basically clearing it out for the guy underneath to get the out. But if that guy gets held up or jammed up or the guy covers it really well, then most likely – if you beat your guy one-on-one - then you're the next read. It kind of goes one, two, three. That's how our system goes. That's how you have to look at it. Every time we're running a route, we're running to win."

That's especially the case with a quarterback like Rodgers, an accurate passer and quick decision maker who understands what each receiver is doing and where he'll be at any given point in the route.

"You can't go to sleep, not with 'ARod' at quarterback," Williams laughed. "It could come at you any play. That's another thing about this offense. You never know where the ball is going to go and it's hard for a defense to cover. When you've got at least maybe three to four options on each play where the ball is going to go, everybody has to play every play."

The effort put forth by all the receivers in the route tree is important to the success of every individual play. If one part of the tree is weak, the easier it is for the entire structure to fall apart.

"It all works hand in hand," Williams said. "It doesn't come down to just one person doing their job, everyone needs to do it for the benefit of the team."

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