2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Production a key for Packers running game

    2012-12-07 03:31

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - With the reigning NFL MVP at quarterback, the Green Bay Packers are never going to be a pound-it-out, run-first operation.

Opposing defenses insist on playing their safeties deep in cover-2 schemes, a tactic meant to take away the Packers' downfield passing game while daring them to run. So the party line that the success of the Green Bay running game is measured more on the quantity of the runs than the quality is no longer valid.

Says who? Quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

``I think we all have to admit here that it's about the production,'' Rodgers said on his radio show earlier this week. ``It's a nice thing to say, that it's about the quantity not the quality, but who are we kidding here? It's about the production.''

Coming off one of their most productive performances on the ground this season, when Alex Green had 12 carries for 58 yards and James Starks 15 for 66 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown against Minnesota, the Packers are looking to keep the momentum going Sunday night against Detroit.

But they've sustained another backfield injury.

Already without workhorse Cedric Benson, now done for the year after his Oct. 7 foot injury required season-ending surgery last week, coach Mike McCarthy expects Starks to be out ``multiple weeks'' with the knee he injured last Sunday. The team signed veteran Ryan Grant, the franchise's fifth-leading rusher, on Wednesday.

With Grant having spent most of the year out of football, save for a one-month tour with the Redskins that ended Oct. 23, Green will again get a chance to be the go-to guy, a role he's held and relinquished multiple times this season.

``Whatever role they have for me, I'm ready for it,'' Green said Thursday. ``I'm confident. I have no doubt whatsoever. I'm ready to go.

``I think early on, it was all new. To be able to sit back the last couple weeks, split carries with Starks, it was definitely good for me, to kind of take it slow a little bit. Now, I feel confident and ready to go.''

While Benson was healthy, Green, whose rookie season ended with a major knee injury last year, carried just two times in the first four games. He dressed for two of those games without seeing any action.

But after Benson's injury at Indianapolis on Oct. 7, Green assumed the starting job and had three straight games with 20 or more attempts. In those three games, he rushed 64 times for just 154 yards, a 2.4-yard average, before Starks emerged as an alternative.

Against Jacksonville, Green carried 22 times for 54 yards while Starks had one carry for 8 yards. The next week, against Arizona, Starks had 17 carries for 61 yards and Green had 11 for 53. Then at Detroit, Starks carried 25 times for 74 yards and Green didn't get a single carry.

Against the Giants, Green carried 10 times for 30 yards and Starks had eight attempts for 35 yards.

Because Grant has played so little this season, McCarthy said Green ``has to'' be ready to carry the load. But long term, running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said the plan is to integrate Grant as well.

``It would be unfair to him to put him in there and give him a ton of carries in this game and expect him to do a lot and step in and not miss a beat,'' Van Pelt said of Grant. ``There's obviously some rust to knock off after coming off of a break from football. The best part about it is he's done it before. He's been productive in the past. He's helped win big games here with the same teammates.

``(Green) will obviously carry the majority of the load and (we'll) spot him with Ryan. Alex seems to run best when he is mixed in. You look at statistically when he is sharing reps, his run average is a lot higher. He's fresher. As ready as Ryan might be, we've got to monitor where we are with Alex. If we feel like he needs a (break) for a couple plays, then Ryan will be the next guy up.''

Whoever is in the backfield, the Packers need more production.

``That's always the key thing - keep the defense honest, have a balanced offense,'' Green said. ``It's always great for a team like ours, that has a great quarterback and everyone knows it, to have a running game. Running the ball is definitely going to be important for us.''

The league's highest-scoring team a year ago at 35 points per game with 63 offensive touchdowns isn't scoring at the same clip. The Packers enter Sunday night averaging 24.7 points and with 33 offensive touchdowns (three rushing, 30 passing), putting them on pace for only 44.

According to Van Pelt, much of that drop off can be attributed to cover-2 defenses waiting for the Packers to run the ball effectively. When the Packers did so against the Vikings last week, Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier was forced to bring one of his safeties down to provide run support.

``If you can run the ball effectively, you change the structure of the defensive shell. You've got to make them fear it and bring somebody down in the box to stop it, and that's when you take advantage with the pass game,'' Van Pelt said.

``You can run it as much as you want, but if you're getting 1 yard per carry, 2 yards per carry, they're going to stay in a two-shell and make you continue to run it. You have to be successful and productive when you do get the opportunities.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group