Jeff Hanisch- US PRESSWIRE
It has been well-documented that the Green Bay Packers offense has been lacking a rushing attack for the last few seasons. This offseason, the Packers signed free agent running back Cedric Benson to their team to try and change those fortunes. After a Week 1 performance where Benson only ran the ball nine times for 18 yards, it looked like the Packers run game might be obsolete again this season. However, coach Mike McCarthy was dedicated to the run game this week against the Chicago Bears and it paid off.
Benson carried the ball 20 times on Thursday for a total of 81 yards for an average of 4.1 yards per carry. It was a decent game for any running back but in the case of the Packers, this could be a huge step forward. The fact that McCarthy showed he was dedicated to the running game is a big step on it’s own. McCarthy loves to call passing plays and there is no question why he loves to do that. Any coach who has Aaron Rodgers on their team will want him to throw the ball as many times as he can throughout the game. However, there needs to be a balance to keep defenses on their toes and so they can’t anticipate what is coming.
The NFL is passing league now, especially with the recent changes in the rules that favor favor the quarterbacks. That doesn’t mean though that the running game isn’t necessary. Late in the season when the weather changes and the playoffs come around, the way the game is played is different. There is a lot more physicality, less passing and more dedication to the run. The Packers have to realize that the season they had in 2011 in the passing attack is likely not to happen again. That was a record-breaking season and it will be hard to duplicate anything like that again. So with an obvious decline coming in the passing game, the running game is now more important for Green Bay than ever before, which Benson seems to be the man to improve on the team’s running game.
Benson is a power running back and isn’t afraid to take it between the tackles. He isn’t a flashy player who can make the big plays, but he can get four to five yards per carry and give the Packers easy second and short and third and short situations. This opens up the playbook for the Packers and they will have the defense off balance. Rodgers may be the MVP of the league, but he does need some help if the Packers want to get back to the Super Bowl. He has the receivers around him to complete the passing game and now with the addition to Benson to the run game, the Packers should be extremely confident in where they are heading this season.
Follow me on Twitter @KVP_10