Alex Green vs. Cedric Benson: Latest News and Updates on Packers RB Battle
They were not a perfect unit, however, as the running game finished 27th in the league in yards per game, and James Starks did not capitalize on his success in helping lead the team to the Super Bowl the previous year.
As a result, the Packers are working this preseason to determine who the No. 1 running back should be. The two most likely candidates for the gig are Alex Green and the recently-signed Cedric Benson.
UPDATE: Tuesday, August 28 at 6:04 p.m. EDT by Tim Keeney
According to Alex Green, his competitor Cedric Benson will get first crack at the starting job (via Fox Sports' Paul Imig):
It sounds like Cedric Benson is about to officially be named the Packers' starting running back for this season.
"Cedric is leading off," Alex Green told FOXSportsWisconsin.com when asked if he or Benson would be starting when the Packers begin the regular season on Sept. 9.
It makes sense considering Benson's advantage in the experience department, but it wouldn't be shocking if he had a short leash.
Should the 29-year-old struggle out of the gate, don't be surprised if Mike McCarthy goes back to the two-year pro out of Hawaii. No matter how it plays out, however, the carries are likely to be split.
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Here is a look at what each player can offer the team, as well as what coaches and analysts are saying about them as we move closer to the regular season.
What Alex Green Offers
Green would seem to have two distinct advantages over Benson.
One, Green has been with the team for a year, though he had very limited exposure in 2011. He knows the offense better than Benson. He is familiar with the way the offense works and how to fit into what the Packers want from a back.
Two, Green has the advantage of youth. As we all know, every running back has a finite number of carries in their legs. Benson, while still a productive player, is 29-years-old and has eight years in the NFL.
Green is five years younger than Benson and has more upside to offer at this point in their respective careers. He is coming off ACL surgery last October, so that is definitely a situation to monitor.
What Cedric Benson Offers
Benson's biggest asset is his ability to stay on the field. As much as we can talk about Green's potential and upside, you have to be able to play in order to show it off.
After battling injuries earlier in his career, Benson has played in 31 games the last two seasons. The only reason he missed a game last year was because of his suspension due to off-field conduct.
Knowing a player will be on the field, and producing at a pretty high level, is going to score him a lot of points with the coaching staff.
What They Are Saying
According to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mike McCarthy is playing it safe with Green to make sure he stays fresh and doesn't get overworked.
MM: Alex Green has been on a rep count. Brought along. Has made progress with that.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) August 28, 2012
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters last week that he likes what Green has been able to do this preseason and his knee is not causing any problems. (via Green Bay Press Gazette)
“He hasn’t had a big flare up or anything, so the numbers have been correct,” McCarthy said.
“Hopefully, he can take a little more this week than he’s taken the last two weeks and we can continue to grow with him because I like everything I’ve seen with Alex. He needs to play. He’s a young guy who needs reps. We’re definitely moving along towards him being a full-time player.”
“What he gives us is explosiveness,” Running Backs Coach Alex Van Pelt said of Benson.
If Benson is able to get his reps, it sure sounds like the team is high on what he can bring to this offense.
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