When the Green Bay Packers take on the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night, all eyes will be on one person: Cedric Benson. He will be the most talked about player during the pre-game and will be evaluated by several outlets afterwards. The one question on everyone’s mind is: will Benson be the impact player the Packers need this season?
Benson was brought in due to several injuries at the running back position, but that is not the only reason. A few years ago, general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy probably would have never brought in a veteran back because that simply was not their style. They did everything in house and it worked because Green Bay has been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL since 2009.
However, the duo understands that in 2012, they must capitalize on the talented team they have and win another Super Bowl. Yeah, it is great that they brought a Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown in 2010, but trust me, the Packers management team have their eyes set on bigger things.
To quote CEO Mark Murphy at Green Bay’s Return to Titletown victory parade after they won Super Bowl XLV:
“There’s a lot of history and tradition here. We gotta start winning some more to catch up with Lombardi!”
Benson is a veteran who has proven to be a dominant running back and an impact player. He is a game changer who can make a stagnant offense look productive. The Packers are hoping that, by adding him to an already stellar group of guys who make up arguably the most high-powered offense in the league, it should elevate the play of everyone.
I firmly believe Benson is capable of being that guy who can take things to the next level for Green Bay this season. There is no question that he has the ability to make the previously non-existent running game a concern for defenses to game plan, as opposed to just watching film on quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
However, Benson can only do these great things if the team around him will aid him. It is critical that the offensive line push their defenders off the line and great holes for Benson to run through. If the starting five are unable to do this then it does not matter how good Benson is, even Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith would not be able to get quality yardage.
The offense is a well-oiled machine that will only go as fast as the players allow it. Rodgers is only as good as the wide receivers around him and they are only good when their MVP quarterback creates opportunities for them. Benson needs the offensive line in order to be productive because without five solid blockers up front, the team cannot succeed. Rodgers’ phenomenal skills and great arm can only take the Packers so far.
McCarthy is counting on Benson to supply the running game he has sought after since arriving in Green Bay. He wants to run a balanced offense opposed to allowing pass rushers to tee off on his All-Pro quarterback. Benson certainly provide the skills to do this and should be exactly what the Packers need to gain that extra edge over their opponents.