Packers Running Into 2008 Season

Run-down feeling

McCarthy wants to beef up Packers’ ground game

So McCarthy thinks the Packers need to improve their ground game.  I’d agree.  If you want to look at just one big reason the rushing attack didn’t really get going in 2007, look at the performances in 2007:

  • Week 1 vs Philly: 17 carries - 46 yards
  • Week 3 vs San Diego: 13 carries – 42 yards
  • Week 4 at Minny: 20 carries – 46 yards
  • Week 5 vs Chicago: 21 carries – 77 yards (if you subtract a 44 yarder by Wynn)
  • Week 6 vs Washington: 20 carries – 56 yards
  • Week 12 at Detroit: 16 carries – 69 yards (if you subtract a 31 yarder by Grant)
  • Week 13 at Dallas: 18 carries – 62 yards (if you subtract a 62 yarder by Grant)
  • Week 15 at St Louis: 22 carries – 31 yards (if you subtract a 24 yarder by Grant)
  • Week 16 at Chicago: 20 carries – 59 yards (if you subtract a 66 yarder by Grant)
  • NFC Championship vs NY Giants: 14 carries – 28 yards (13 yards of that came on 1 run by Grant)

During those 10 games, if you subtract the biggest runs (some games have multiple big runs, but I only counted the longest for simplicity) the Packers averaged 18.1 carries for 51.6 yards.  That’s a terrible performance.  Their rushing success wasn’t much better in other games, but I’m simply pointing out the ones where they gave up on the running game (with less than 25 carries per game).  It’s obvious that their rather pathetic numbers are heavily inflated by a few long rushes in each game.  I don’t count big runs as carries because it’s more a result of that particular play going great for the offense and terrible for the defense, it’s not a good judge of offensive line performance overall.

If this hopes to improve, it might not be easy – check out a few of the Packers ’08 opponents:

  •  Chicago Bears – played the Packers tough against the run in both games
  • Minnesota Vikings – #1 run defense in NFL
  • Dallas Cowboys – #6 run defense in NFL
  • Indianapolis Colts – #3 total defense in NFL
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers – #2 total defense in NFL
  • Seattle Seahawks – #12 run defense in NFL
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – #11 run defense in NFL
  • Tennessee Titans – #5 run defense in NFL

Really, the only “bad” defensive units they play all season are in 5 games: Detroit (twice), New Orleans, Atlanta, Houston.  Chicago would be in there, but they always take it to the Packers.

Aside from a major offseason move to improve the o-line, and a change in philosophy by McCarthy; there’s no way the running game is improving.  In fact, I think it’s highly likely the Packers will drop off next year. 

During the regular season, the Packers were 28th in the league with a pathetic 24.2 rushing attempts per game.  Even so, this stat is somewhat inflated by 3 “big” games against New York, Minnesota and Oakland where they had 29, 29 and 36 attempts respectively.  Take these games out of the mix and the average drops down to 22.6 attempts/game.  With such a half-hearted dedication to the run, how can the team ever expect to improve? 


Jay Ratkowski runs this joint, which is why his name is on the front door. You can find him elsewhere at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter

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Author: Jay

Jay Ratkowski runs this joint, which is why his name is on the front door. You can find him elsewhere at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter

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