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Offline MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 2:27:56 AM(UTC)
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NationalFootballPost wrote:

A juggernaut of late, the Packers offense owns one woeful statistic.

It last had a regular season, 100-yard rusher when running back Brandon Jackson gained 115 yards on Oct. 10, 2010 against the Washington Redskins.

As great as quarterback Aaron Rodgers is, he needs help.

Since winning the Super Bowl, the Packers have cycled through a committee of journeymen tailbacks, including Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant, Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, Brandon Saine and James Starks, and the results have been as middling as you would expect.

The Packers ranked 27th in the league with 1,558 rushing yards (3.9 per carry average) in 2011. They similarly averaged 3.9 YPC last year while racking up 1,702 yards to rank 20th in the NFL.

“We haven’t been satisfied,” said Packers running back coach Alex Van Pelt. “We had to get better in the run game, and that was addressed.”

With the 61st pick — the highest Ted Thompson has ever drafted a Packers running back — Green Bay selected Eddie Lacy, considered by many to be the best back of the 2013 draft class.

“Between the lines,” said Thompson, Packers executive vice president, general manager and director of football operations, “he’s a go-getter.”

While helping Alabama repeat as national champions, Lacy rushed 204 times for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2012. Having surpassed 100 rushing yards five times last season, Lacy may be the person to end the Packers’ drought.

With 4.59 speed in the 40, the 5-11, 231-pound, downhill runner is known for his power.

“He rarely goes down with one guy trying to tackle him,” said Packers director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst. “He’s kind of got to be gang tackled.”

A workhorse with good lateral quickness, Lacy also has the tools to be a three-down back and excel in the Packers’ spread looks.

Although Alabama mostly used Lacy on screens and check-down plays during passing situations, Van Pelt praised his receiving and route-running ability. And the Packers staff gushed over the blocking and pass protection of the 29th pick of the second round.

“I was a little surprised that Eddie fell down that far,” Van Pelt said. “He was the top back in the draft as a runner, so I am excited to get him where we got him.”

So why did Lacy drop so far?


Injuries and the Bama curse

A turf toe injury limited Lacy during 2011 and resulted in offseason surgery. He suffered through elbow and hand injuries the following season. The latter reportedly required a surgical procedure.

At the NFL Combine, chest and knee injuries prevented Lacy from working out. During Alabama’s pro day the next month, Lacy pulled his hamstring, cutting short his performance.

Though nursing those injuries, Lacy still ran for 1,996 yards and 24 touchdowns during the last two years.

“He’s played through whatever he’s had,” Gutekunst said. “So I don’t think it’s gonna be a concern.”

As Gutekunst points out, Lacy’s numbers while helping Alabama win back-to-back titles were spectacular. But the dominance of the Crimson Tide, college football’s preeminent program, may have worked against him.

Some have wondered whether Lacy’s success is more a result of his ability or those of the hosses in front of him clearing the way.

After all, Alabama’s offensive line accounted for two of the top 11 picks in the 2013 draft as guard Chance Warmack and tackle D.J. Fluker were selected back to back by the Titans and Chargers, respectively. Versatile Barrett Jones, considered the leader and anchor of the 2012 Tide O-line, went in the fourth round to the Rams.

“They did have a very, very good offensive line at Alabama,” Gutekunst said. “But he averaged 6.-something yards in the SEC his whole career.”

But Lacy’s two Tide predecessors, who also ran roughshod through SEC defenses, bring about further questions. Lacy spelled Trent Richardson in 2011, and the lead Tide back rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

Playing a position that typically involves a quick transition to the NFL, Richardson rushed for just 950 yards while averaging 3.6 yards (tied for only 37th best in the league) in 2012.

Before taking over for him at Alabama in 2011, Richardson spelled Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, who rushed for 3,621 yards and 42 touchdowns during his three years.

But Ingram, who I viewed as an excellent first-round selection by the Saints in 2011, has only 1,076 total yards in two NFL seasons while failing to reach four yards-a-carry during either year.


The other back

Even after selecting Lacy, the Packers added to their backfield, drafting UCLA’s all-time leading rusher, Johnathan Franklin, with the 28th pick of the fourth round.

Franklin left UCLA as the school's all-time leading rusher.
A bit smaller (5-10 and 205 pounds) and more elusive (4.49 time in the 40), Franklin could provide a nice change of pace to Lacy’s pounding.

Franklin rushed for 1,734 of his 4,403 yards last season as a senior or 412 more yards than Lacy did in 2012.

If Franklin has cleaned up his ball security issues — he fumbled six times in 2011 but just once in 2012 — he could be a huge steal for Green Bay.

He and Lacy could provide the Packers offense with the kind of balance it has sought for years.

“I’m very excited to have both of them in our group,” Van Pelt said.

And perhaps one of them will produce that long-awaited 100-yard rushing performance.


This story originally appeared on Nationalfootballpost.com

Edited by moderator Monday, May 6, 2013 5:01:11 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline Zero2Cool  
#2 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 5:05:00 AM(UTC)
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I recall a current Packers player breaking a college coaches curse ... can you name the curse and the player?

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Offline mi_keys  
#3 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 5:26:27 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool Go to Quoted Post
I recall a current Packers player breaking a college coaches curse ... can you name the curse and the player?


Rodgers with Jeff Tedford quarterbacks.
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Offline Laser Gunns  
#4 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 6:48:52 AM(UTC)
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I love bruiser RBs

I don't need flash, just pick up the 3rd and 1-2.


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Offline Pack93z  
#5 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 7:21:13 AM(UTC)
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Just as it is always, or almost always, the rushing attacks proficiency & consistency will be determined more by the offensive line than the running back.

In other words, if the run blocking of the offensive line doesn't improve, don't expect the rushing attack to improve drastically.
I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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Offline Dulak  
#6 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 7:29:56 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: RajiRoar Go to Quoted Post
I love bruiser RBs

I don't need flash, just pick up the 3rd and 1-2.


We've sucked for 3rd and short ... run play ... seem to cant get jack - bad Oline blockers and a RB that cant get the yards ...

be nice to have it more in the bag and not always have to pass with 3rd and short.

Online sschind  
#7 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 9:27:51 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: RajiRoar Go to Quoted Post
I love bruiser RBs

I don't need flash, just pick up the 3rd and 1-2.


I agree 100%. With Ahman Green we had a back that looked like he could break every run for a big gainer. Yeah that was exciting and it would be nice to have but like you said, with this offense I think a guy that you could count on to pick up a consistent 1-2 yards every time would be just as effective. Besides, if you have that guy the big runs will come because he will get his chances.

I think we all realize that much of the running game effectiveness comes from the offensive line but it would get rather boring talking about that all the time. It's nice to have a few backs that we can get excited about for a change. In the past few years none of the backs we have gotten really generated much excitement. Lots of hope for sure but not much excitement. They were all late rounds picks that drew comparisons to other RBs and they all came with a major "if" factor. None of them had their own aura if you will. Granted every draft pick has an "if" factor but now with Lacy we have a guy who people say " he runs like Eddie Lacy." He is a guy that many people think can be a star. Sure some of the other guys had their proponents but there was always that feeling that they needed a big break. Lacy is the type of guy who can make his own breaks.

I think that getting the guy that many people thought was the best back in the draft, and getting him in the second round on top of it all, was huge. I think I can safely say that for the first time since A. Green was our #1 back (the first time around) I will be going into the season with some positive expectations from our running game not just a lot of "I hope they just don't embarrass themselves out there". I am finally expecting them to be able to contribute and not just be there to help keep defenses honest.

Franklin is just a bonus.

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Offline DakotaT  
#8 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 12:08:08 PM(UTC)
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We actually need to put a running game together to prolong the career of our elite quarterback. He takes way too many hits. What bothers me is not so much our Olineman and the mediocrity that comes with some of them, but our resiliency to not make a change at Oline coach. Campen has been given enough through the draft to put together a line that can run block and has failed miserably. So what is the loyalty to him and Capers for that matter all about?
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Offline nerdmann  
#9 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 1:32:28 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
We actually need to put a running game together to prolong the career of our elite quarterback. He takes way too many hits. What bothers me is not so much our Olineman and the mediocrity that comes with some of them, but our resiliency to not make a change at Oline coach. Campen has been given enough through the draft to put together a line that can run block and has failed miserably. So what is the loyalty to him and Capers for that matter all about?


This isn't about running the ball, and it isn't about protecting Aaron.

It's about bringing safeties up so that Aaron can continue to throw deep.
“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don't do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”
Offline PackerTraxx  
#10 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 2:37:19 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: RajiRoar Go to Quoted Post
I love bruiser RBs

I don't need flash, just pick up the 3rd and 1-2.


Amen...although l'm hoping for much more. As mentioned the Oline is going to be a large determining factor. It's hard for a back to gain yardage when he is hit or trying to avoid tackles in the backfield.
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Offline yooperfan  
#11 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 9:09:01 PM(UTC)
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The Packers will never know if they have found their rushing attack until their play caller pulls his head out of his ass and actually uses the rushing attack appropriately.
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Offline Dulak  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, May 7, 2013 2:07:33 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: yooperfan Go to Quoted Post
The Packers will never know if they have found their rushing attack until their play caller pulls his head out of his ass and actually uses the rushing attack appropriately.


here here!

remember watching play after play of grant running 'up the middle' (more like running into his own guys or a mob or people) and getting nowhere - and then almost everytime he ran outside it was a nice pickup 5-25 yards. But he would still go for the middle over and over ...

wasn't the packers known for the screens? ...
Offline nerdmann  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:19:20 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dulak Go to Quoted Post
here here!

remember watching play after play of grant running 'up the middle' (more like running into his own guys or a mob or people) and getting nowhere - and then almost everytime he ran outside it was a nice pickup 5-25 yards. But he would still go for the middle over and over ...

wasn't the packers known for the screens? ...


The HB screen is a fundamental of the WCO, not the Run and Shoot. The problem is that those plays tend to run clock, thus draining precious time off the clock which could be used for multiple quick scoring attempts.
“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don't do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”
Offline texaspackerbacker  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:41:19 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: nerdmann Go to Quoted Post
This isn't about running the ball, and it isn't about protecting Aaron.

It's about bringing safeties up so that Aaron can continue to throw deep.


Exactly! Defenses compensate when an offense is too one-dimensional. Now, it seems they will not be able to cheat back in coverage as much, opening things up a lot more for Rodgers ..... or if they do stay back, Lacy and/or Franklin should be able to run wild. If I was a D Coordinator, I think I would still aim first to stop Rodgers - the biggest threat. If that happens, we could see some big games by our RBs.

One more thing, I'm not completely sold on the idea that great O Lines create great RBs. It's a two way street. Maybe Alabama's O Line was so good because of the runners hitting those holes, at least in part.

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Offline OlHoss1884  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:05:26 PM(UTC)
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Points above are good but here's how it all comes together: Having RB's who can make guys miss and break tackles, who can pick up blitzes and can do more than just run an occasional draw not only brings the safeties up some times, but it puts the play action and screen back in the offense. Both of these have been missing for 2 years. In addition, a rd and 4 is no longer automatically a pass play. It opens up the entire offense. Good luck now to any team who stays in nickel or dime all game with a steady dose of thunder & lightning back there.

Allowing the offense to run more makes the line better, it allows them to chew up more clock with a lead and it wears down a defense with a steady pounding. This also translates into a fresher defense with fewer 3 and outs. I think just adding Lacy and Jenkins will improve both sides of the ball significantly.
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