One month ago, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was asked about the team’s running game. Rodgers gave a very honest answer in which he said the Packers don’t really need a run game.
“Do we need to? I think this is a pass-happy league, so I think it’s got to start with the pass with us,” Rodgers said Thursday on “NFL Total Access.”
“The run has to be good enough to keep them honest, but we’re going to have to throw the football to win games. We’re going to have to run it probably a little bit more than we did last year,” Rodgers added. “It starts with the passing game with us, and with most teams as well.”
One month after those comments were made, Rodgers tone seems to have changed. It has been obvious that the Packer running game is the biggest flaw on the offensive side of the ball, but in 2010 the Packers were able to win the Super Bowl without much production from their running game. In 2011, the running game didn’t make any improvements as they were ranked 27th in the league in rushing yards. Running back Ryan Grant was not re-signed by the team and now James Starks will become the primary running back.
Rodgers, talking to Homer & Thunder of ESPN Milwaukee, now has the view that the running game needs to be there for the Packers to be able to capitalize on their passing attack.
“I think you just have to have at least a little bit of a threat,” Rodgers said, “because we do a lot of play-action, movement game, where we’re breaking and rolling out or just play-action and throwing timing routes, and the defense has to respect it enough to suck up a little bit on the fake and give you some good throwing lanes. Sometimes you can do that by just having a big-name back in there and sometimes you need to be effective doing it. We’re going to have to prove that we can run the ball.”
It is unclear what has made Rodgers make such a quick change in opinion about the necessity of the Packers running game, but it doesn’t come as a surprise after the struggles the Packers have had during their two preseason games. There was been no threat of the run at all in those two games and Mike McCarthy has been calling mainly passing plays so far. This might of been Rodgers’ way of getting the message out that the Packers have to at least try to be a two-dimensional team.
Green Bay has added free agent running back Cedric Benson to their roster this offseason and he has not seen any playing time so far this preseason. It will be interesting to see whether or not more running plays will be called once Benson gets onto the field. Benson is a proven back who did a solid job for the Bengals last season.
As for now, the Packers offense is still one-dimensional team. They should be able to have a great offense again with just a great passing attack, but their does need to be strides taken in trying to improve this running game so the Packers can capitalize on what they do best, which is play-action passes and running the bootleg.
Follow me on Twitter @KVP_10