Why the Green Bay Packers Need a Feature Back
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Didn't 2007 teach us anything? Looking back for a minute, let's examine the RB situation for the Green Bay Packers entering 2007.
Coming off a lackluster 2006 rushing effort, with an aging Ahman Green just breaching the 1,000-yard mark, the Packers entered 2007 without Ahman Green who had departed in free agency. To fill the gap they added rookies Brandon Jackson and Deshawyn Wynn, along with Vernand Morency.
Morency and Wynn did not practice much due to injuries which left Brandon Jackson handling the majority of the reps in training camp. The team then acquired Ryan Grant via trade late in camp.
Coach McCarthy decided to instate an "RB by committee" approach, and the Packers running game struggled through the first half of the season.
Halfway through 2007 the Packers were relying heavily on their QB to win games, but Ryan Grant began to emerge and suddenly took over the starting RB job after solid efforts in spot duty. Grant has been Green Bay's primary ball carrier ever since.
Enter 2010. Ryan Grant is lost for the season in Week 1, and the dreaded "RB by committee" approach is announced shortly thereafter.
While Coach McCarthy may say he's pleased with the results of the ground game, he doesn't seem any more convinced than many Packer fans.
I do not mean to suggest that the Packers need to acquire a feature back. Simply feature one running back, whether it be Kuhn, Jackson or Starks upon returning from the PUP list, as your primary ball carrier, giving him ten or more carries per game.
It seems to me that it is often said that running backs need to get into the flow of the game in order to be successful. Unless you have a game-breaking back like Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson (which the Packers obviously do not), backs need a few carries to get in sync with the linemen.
For the sake of his offensive line, his quarterback, and his running backs, McCarthy should revert back to 2007 when he finally settled on a running back which stabilized his running game. They talk about continuity in football a lot, and I believe that also applies to the running back position.
Unfortunately, I am left wondering why McCarthy didn't take the opportunity to feed one back numerous carries during a lopsided victory over the Bills during week 2.
On paper it looks like the Packers should roll this Sunday against the Detroit Lions, a team Brandon Jackson once rushed against for over 100 yards while Grant rested for the playoffs. Ironically enough, it was the 2007 finale. It'll be interesting to see what McCarthy has in store for his running game this week.
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