The Green Bay Packers currently find themselves in a bit of a predicament.
After the team signed running back Cedric Benson late in the preseason to be their starter, many hoped it was a sign the team finally was serious about establishing a running game. The Packers were incredibly one dimensional last season thanks to the stellar performance of Aaron Rodgers, and it finally caught up with them late in the season.
The signing of Benson brought much hope to the Packers' running game. He was a much more decisive runner than backup James Starks and was opening things up for Rodgers and the passing game.
Benson then injured his foot and won't return until at least Week 14, as the Packers made him their injured reserve player designated to return. The good news is that Benson may be back for that critical December push that often makes or breaks a team’s season.
Until then, the Packers have Alex Green as their starting running back. Green’s performance thus far in three games has left much to be desired. He has had at least 20 carries in those games but has yet to rush over 70 yards in a game. His yards per carry has not gone above three and his season average sits at 2.9.
This performance, or lack thereof, has led many fans to call for Packers GM Ted Thompson to pull the trigger on a trade for a bigger name running back that will fill the hole until Benson returns.
Packers fans have been talking all week about the team potentially acquiring Steven Jackson from the St. Louis Rams or DeAngelo Williams from the Carolina Panthers. They expect Thompson to pull the trigger on a trade to suddenly fix the Packers’ ailing rushing attack.
Thankfully for the Packers, Thompson realizes you can’t run an NFL team like you’re playing fantasy football. Both he and Mike McCarthy seem content to let Green develop, and it’s really the only course of action the Packers can take.
When you consider Green lost most of his first season thanks to injury, this is pretty much his rookie season. When he started to show flashes in training camp, fans were abuzz with the potential he would have and many were touting him as the better option at running back than Starks.
Then, the Packers signed Benson and Green was relegated to the bench. Benson then went down and Green finally got his shot as a starting running back. Struggles should be expected for a player who is basically an unofficial rookie.
Instead, after only three games, fans are clamoring for someone else to be brought in. It seems many have forgotten the Packers’ proven method of “draft and develop.” Green will get every opportunity to succeed as the Packers’ running back and fans just need to be patient.
You also have to consider the overall struggles of the Packers' offensive line. Rodgers is on pace to be sacked an alarming 56 times this year, and they seem to be struggling to open up a running lane, regardless of who seems to be carrying the ball. The struggles of the running game do not start and end with Green.
Fans just need to calm down. Green may work out for the Packers and he might not. That said, judging him in broad strokes after only three full games as the Packers featured back is not being fair to him.
There’s a saying amongst many Packers fans: “In Ted We Trust.” Packers fans as a whole would be wise to take up that mantra. Thompson has not been wrong very much in his roster decisions, and fans should continue to put their faith in the Packers’ general manager.
Let Thompson run the team the way he has since 2005, and leave the fantasy football moves to your own league.
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