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Offseason Film Review Evaluates Every Snap, Every Situation From '06


In all, the Packers coaching staff will review all 2,627 plays from 2006, including 1,044 defensive plays.

Reviewing film to see what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to be changed is an ongoing process during the regular season for a football coaching staff. It's a process referred to as "self-scouting."

But during the season there's only so much time each week that can be devoted to studying your own film. The coaches also have to conduct practice, scout the opponents and devise game plans.

That's why the most extensive self-scouting is done now, during the first several weeks of the offseason. The coaches are reviewing, literally, every snap on offense, defense and special teams from the 2006 season to evaluate the schemes, personnel and results.

That's 2,627 total plays -- 1,117 on offense, 1,044 on defense, 466 on special teams. It's an extensive, comprehensive review process that began last week, and the coaches hope to have it completed by the time they leave for the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.

"We take the video and cut it up by call, by gains, down-and-distance, every different situation," defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said, explaining how he and his defensive staff divide some of the work. "We evaluate every single play, every situation, what we worked on (in practice) and what we actually called. We're just making sure we're doing the right things from a practice standpoint and carrying it over to the games."

Sanders said the process ultimately will produce suggestions for tweaks and adjustments to the defensive scheme for next year. The staff also may add to, or more likely, reduce the volume of defensive calls to eliminate things that didn't prove useful.

"There's maybe a new wrinkle here or there, but hopefully it will be more trimming and getting it more streamlined than adding, if at all possible," Sanders said. "If there's something we feel would be a good addition to what we're doing, or if we see something that would get us in position to make a few more plays, then certainly we'll visit that. But hopefully it's more of a scaling down, trimming anything we don't need, or anything we worked on we thought we might need but didn't."

That all goes back to the time crunch faced on a weekly basis during the regular season, getting only three practice days to prepare for each game.

"You have a limited amount of work time, and when you streamline, rather than having too much stuff where you get a little work on a lot of things, you get a lot of work on a few things," Sanders said. "That's the idea, but you certainly want to have enough to take care of all the situations you're confronted with."

Special teams snaps are divided into all the different situations as well - punt and kickoff coverage and returns, and punt and kick protections and rushes. All the trick plays also are reviewed, such as the successful fake punts run by the Packers against the Bears in the season opener, and by the Bears against the Packers in the season finale.

As in all three phases, individual players are thoroughly evaluated for their performance on special teams, because when training camp rolls around in the summer, final roster spots are often determined by which backups can be counted on to produce on special teams.

{sportsad300}"We need to find out exactly how consistent these guys were, or inconsistent, as to whether they're going to help us this year or not," said special teams coach Mike Stock, who reviews everything with his assistant, Shawn Slocum. "Who are the guys who were most productive? We're evaluating that as well. Who's going to be invited back to camp, and so on.

"During the offseason you can be more thorough with the evaluation, in terms of what kind of extra drills you can use to get better, and what kind of personnel you need other than what we have."

Doing an annual scheme evaluation is nothing new to coaches, but new offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is looking at things a little differently than he has in the past, having moved up from offensive line coach last week.

"It's similar, just now instead of five (players) you're worrying about 11," Philbin said. "We're starting to analyze our run game at the present time, so obviously when you watch the run game you're still focused on the offensive line and the running backs, but within another week or 10 days we'll start getting involved more in the pass game, and for me it's not just the protection aspects. So your eyes have to stretch a little wider and you have to broaden your perspective a little bit."

With the changes on the offensive staff, which also included James Campen being promoted from assistant offensive line coach to Philbin's former role, and Jerry Fontenot stepping into Campen's assistant spot, continuity was maintained as best as possible.

But the scheme evaluation is also the perfect time for everyone to settle into their new roles and the new staff dynamic.

"We have a great group of assistant coaches," Philbin said. "Our staff is excellent, and part of (the process) is starting to develop a chemistry within our own staff. I think the great football teams have great chemistry, and players can tell if the staff is united, if the staff is on the same page, if the staff is together on everything, and that's probably the one thing we want to do.

"The analysis of our 2006 season is important, as well as establishing our foundation of how we're going to work, how we're going to get things done, how guys are going to pitch in to get the job done right. We want our players to give their best effort, and we as a staff have to do the same thing."

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