What You Might've Missed: Tight end dirty work

Position group did its part when offense got going


GREEN BAY – Packers tight ends Luke Musgrave and Josiah Deguara combined for a modest four receptions for 30 yards in Sunday's loss at Atlanta.

But those numbers don't come close to illustrating the impact the tight end position group had on the Packers' offense when it was really clicking in the second and third quarters.

Here's a rundown of the dirty work.

Play No. 1: Second-and-2 from the Green Bay 49, second quarter, 8:06 left

Result: 8-yard run by RB AJ Dillon

There's a lot going on here aside from the tight ends, so let's explain all that first. Atlanta's defensive front gets influenced by WR Samori Toure going in motion, which QB Jordan Love signals for with his head. That somewhat deceptive flow allows RG Jon Runyan (76), C Josh Myers (71) and LT Yosh Nijman (73) to wall off three Atlanta defensive linemen on what's really a faux "front" side of the play. On the "back" side, Musgrave (88, boxed) seals off DL Zach Harrison (96), and the bootleg fake Love carries out after pitching to Dillon actually keeps OLB Arnold Ebiketie (17) out of the way as well. The final block is thrown by Deguara (81), who takes on ILB Nate Landman (53) in the hole.

Play No. 2: First-and-10 from the Atlanta 30, second quarter, 6:07 left

Result: 7-yard run by RB Emanuel Wilson

Three snaps later, the Packers execute a similar run look, only this time in shotgun and without the deception involved in the play above. At the point of attack, LG Royce Newman (70) and Runyan take care of business, and the backside cut-block is delivered by Musgrave (boxed) on OLB Bud Dupree (48) to spring the rookie Wilson for a nice pickup.

Play No. 3: First-and-10 from the Atlanta 32, third quarter, 10:39 left

Result: 32-yard TD reception by WR Dontayvion Wicks

Call this one tight end helping out another. With the pass protection directly in front of Love rock solid, Musgrave can't quite hold the edge on DL Calais Campbell (93). But no worries. Here comes Deguara from the other side – just as he does on running plays, only this one is play-action instead – to chop down Campbell and give Love plenty of time to find Wicks over the middle. The rookie receiver takes it from there for his first NFL score.

Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 22, third quarter, 3:02 left

Result: 43-yard defensive pass interference penalty

On the first play of the Packers' next drive, another tight end gets in on the action when the offense has three on the field – Musgrave, Deguara and rookie Ben Sims (89). Here Sims goes in motion as Love carries out another play-action fake. Watch how Sims pulls off a 2-for-1, effectively getting a piece of both Ebiketie and Landman, who both end up closing in on the QB. But the brief interruptions are enough to allow Love to launch the deep ball for WR Romeo Doubs, who draws the DPI. Not highlighted, Dillon also gets a good block on blitzing S Jessie Bates (3) to help out Deguara.

Play No. 5: Second-and-2 from the Atlanta 27, third quarter, 2:17 left

Result: 7-yard run by Dillon

Two plays later, the Packers are running another motion with a pitch to Dillon, and the tight ends are right in the middle of it again. Musgrave (boxed) gets a chip block on Campbell, helping RT Zach Tom (50) take him all the way to the ground, and then Musgrave peels off to get in Landman's way. Meanwhile, Deguara (circled) comes across the formation to pick up Ebiketie, leaving S Richie Grant (27) as the first contact against Dillon, who powers through that hit to push the pile and move the chains.

Bonus play: Third-and-10 from the Atlanta 43, first quarter, :47 left

Result: 24-yard run by Love

This is included just as an illustration that even on a play where the QB improvises, it still takes everyone doing his job well for something good to happen. For starters, Love's cadence and leg kick get Landman to give away his blitz intention, so Love points him out, and RB Patrick Taylor provides a textbook pickup. Up front, the linemen handle two stunts. First, Myers and LG Elgton Jenkins (74) pass off DL David Onyemata (90) and ILB Kaden Elliss (55) seamlessly between one another. Next, Tom has to adjust to DL Grady Jarrett (97) as Campbell drops into coverage. With no one to block, Runyan helps out nicely on Onyemata, which opens a huge escape lane for Love, who easily outruns Campbell. Finally, watch for rookie WR Jayden Reed (11) switching from route-running to blocking mode on CB Dee Alford (20) to finish the play.


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