The Green Bay Packers used five running backs during the course of the 2012 season. This group included Cedric Benson, Alex Green, James Starks, Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris. The Packers also occasionally used fullback John Kuhn to carry the ball and wide receiver Randall Cobb in the backfield.
Add to that, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the better running quarterbacks in the NFL. He can scamper when needed for some decent yardage while going back to pass.
The Packers rushed for 1,702 yards in 2012, which included a 3.9 yard average. That would be good enough to rank 20th in the NFL. That number was better than the 27th ranking the Packers had in that category in 2011.
Still, this has to get better. Too many times Rodgers saw the safeties of the opposing teams playing deep in coverage trying to stop the deep-passing game of the Packers.
The defenses did not respect the ground attack of the Packers.
That needs to change in 2013. The first question is, who will be back? If I had to guess right now, I would surmise that Grant definitely won't be back, and that Benson could also be in that category.
I believe that Green, Starks and Harris will be back, plus the Packers also have Brandon Saine, who ended up on injured reserve after tearing an ACL last season.
Green led the Packers in rushing last season with 464 yards, but only had a 3.4 yard average. Plus, Green wore down as the year went on, as he was coming back after tearing an ACL in 2011.
Starks continued his streak of being injured again as a member of the Packers, as he missed time with both a turf toe injury and a knee sprain. Starks only rushed for 255 yards in his limited action, and had a 3.6 yard average.
The best of the bunch turned out to be Harris, who rushed for 157 yards in the regular season (4.6 yard average), and also 100 more yards in the postseason, which included two touchdowns.
I expect the Packers to take a serious look at one of the talented running backs in this year's draft class. Luckily for the Packers, that class is pretty deep.
The best case scenario is to draft a running back who can be used in a tandem with Harris. In addition, the new running back will hopefully push backs like Green and Starks to take their game to the next level, as you also need solid depth at the running back position.
Bottom line, the offense of the Packers was only ranked 13th in the NFL last season (after finishing in the top 10 in every other season under Mike McCarthy). The Packers were also only ranked ninth in total passing.
Defenses schemed to stop the Packers potent passing attack because they didn't fear the Green Bay running attack.
That has to change in 2013.