The Green Bay Packers have made it very clear that finding a solid rushing attack is priority No. 1 this summer. Even quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who believed a year ago that Green Bay’s top-notch passing game could get the job done by itself, has admitted that the team needs to find a running game behind him in order to maintain balance. With several embarrassing rushing statistics under the Packers’ belt, which running back will step up to end the skids?
Green Bay has not had a running back rush for at least 100 yards in a single game since Brandon Jackson accomplished the feat on October 10, 2010. For those of you keeping track at home that is a whopping 43 games without a single player making the mark that has become the standard for decent rushers.
If that was not enough, the Packers have also not had a running back rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season since Ryan Grant did back in 2009. The six-year player ran for 1,253 yards that season after he rushed for 1,203 yards in 2008.
Alex Green was the Packers’ top rusher last season when he ran for a measly 464 yards on 135 carries. In 2011, James Starks was the top man in the backfield when he compiled 578 yards on the ground on 133 carries. Grant was right behind him with 559 yards on 134 carries. At least that season, the Packers had two players combine for over 1,000 yards.
Green Bay must look no further than the 2010 postseason, the year they won Super Bowl XLV, to see what a good rushing attack can do for them. James Starks exploded with 315 yards on 81 carries in four games, including setting a Packers rookie record by running for 123 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though the running game slowed down, the balance was enough to give Rodgers that extra edge to shred opponents.
Green Bay will be fielding a two-headed monster that is rookies Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin. Yes, the Packers are counting on Green and Starks to be effective, but Lacy and Franklin are the future. These two players have an opportunity to give the offense an incredible edge. Give Rodgers a dominant running game while he is in his prime and he will reward the organization with multiple Super Bowls.
It is hard to say exactly who will accomplish the feat of breaking 100 yards in a game and 1,000 yards on the season, especially when the offensive line has a lot to do with it. With that being said, I guarantee both skids will end before the 2013 regular season is over.
The offensive linemen know it is on them to help make the team better, and the good news is they are determined to improve drastically. Meanwhile, the intense competition among the running backs in training camp will spill over into the regular season.