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The Ground Game?

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Smokeychedder, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. Chicocheese
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    Chicocheese Cheesehead

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    Well, I personally have not given up on James Starks. I think he has a whole lotta talent that did not come out last season. The little bit of Brandon Saine that I saw looked GREAT and I am sure the Packers are itching to get Alex Green out on the field!

    Also, don't forget about old #12. He can run, and run well. No, I don't want him running a bunch for a couple reasons: 1) I don't want the extra added risk of injury and 2) Although he is great on his feet, he is even better through the air.

    I notice someone posted a stat of us running it almost 40% of the time (39.6?). To me, that is pretty damn balanced. No, it is not a 50/50 split but it is damn close. It is actually a pretty good ratio of run and pass when you consider our weapons through the air: Rodgers, Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Finley, Jones, and the backs out of the backfield. It would be a disadvantage to us if we didn't use the air attack at least 60% of the time because that is our greatest strength. A 40% running attack gives the surprise / honesty factor that an opposing defense needs to respect while also allowing us to take advantage of our greatest weapons.

    Just my two cents.
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  2. Chicocheese
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    Chicocheese Cheesehead

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    However, I should add that I WOULD like to see more run and less pass while we are within 5-7 yards of the endzone. Yes, we got the TDs through the air last season, and probably will get more this season...but more run in that area of the field I think is wise.
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  3. Smokeychedder
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    Smokeychedder Tailgaiter

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    The percentage of run to pass I'm not concerned with. The question is what is being gained when we do run it!
    How quick are they getting through the gaps? Are they blocking like they need to? Are they holding on to the football?
    Are they catching the screen pass? Do they run out of gas or run downhill?
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  4. ivo610
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    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    People say run to keep them honest, but if they can't stop the pass what's the point of keeping them honest?

    Another point is having an Oline that can block. Teams don't really pass block well and run block well. It's one or the other.
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  5. warhawk
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    warhawk Cheesehead

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    Be careful what you ask for.
    It would be hardpressed to think TT could have invested anymore heavily in the Oline than he has in recent years. The #1 goal HAS to be to protect Rodgers. The big bulldozer run blockers are not for the most part nimble pass protectors. The few that can do both well command huge pay checks.
    IMO a really top notch RB will only produce modest improvement in the run game without investing in run blockers.
    McCarthy knows his personnel and his playbook provides alternatives to a power run game that fits what the players do best.
    I blame the D for part of this.
    McCarthy knew he had to put it in Rodgers hands and score points last year because the D sucked so horribly. He didn't have the luxury of getting a decent lead and expecting the D to hold it. I saw far to many opponents drives extended on 3rd and fairly long conversions and far to many points when we had teams by the throat.

    They put a top 10/12 D back on the field and McCarthy can pull off more long drives that take up the clock. Last year it was all about outscoring the opponent because you knew the other team was going to get theirs. You can't go to your B game which in our case is running the ball when that's the case.
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  6. ThxJackVainisi
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    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    [long rant]IMO Kitten hit on it (and ivo610 is persistent on this topic as well). McCarthy has an innovative offensive mind that rates with the best in the NFL IMO. He runs what is probably a third, fourth, or fifth generation/iteration of the West Coast Offense. In addition to timing routes, a key component of that system was and is using the short passing game with screens, flat passes and "dump-offs" to RBs to control the opponents pass rush, IOW they take the place of rushing attempts. IMO McCarthy uses slant passes in the same way - they neutralize the opponents' rush because there's just not time to get to the QB. I have seen stats that indicate for passing teams like the Packers, it's not the success - average per rush - that matters as much as number of rushing attempts and McCarthy's history has been to run the ball about 40% of the time. With a QB like Rodgers and a receiving corps that is at or near the top of the league in talent and depth, that's unlikely to change.

    According to the NFL website since he took over the starting job in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has attempted 2,054 regular season passes. His average per attempt (not per completion) is 8.3 yards. 1.8% of the attempts have resulted in interceptions while 6.4% have resulted in TDs. Those stats display not only Rodgers' and his teammates' talent but McCarthy's acumen and the reason he emphasizes the passing game. The running game just has to be good enough to allow Rodgers to do his work in the passing game.

    I loved watching Jimmy Taylor run the ball. He was a tough SOB who in the open field would run right at DBs instead of trying to evade them. I loved that brand of football but it and Taylor are anachronisms and no amount of pining by fans can change that. For example, go back 15- 20- or 25-years and look where RBs were selected in the draft and contrast that to the most recent drafts. Not only are the careers of RBs short-lived compared to many other positions, but their value is diminished because of the league-wide emphasis on the passing game. What did Thompson pay for a RB who gave the Packers two and half years of about 1,200 rushing yards/season production? What did he pay for another RB who was good enough to help them win a title? Both Grant and Starks cost the Packers a sixth round pick.

    I think the Packers are thin at RB but just as Thompson and staff waited for Starks for the title chase in 2010, I'm getting the impression that while they're hoping for Starks to have his first healthy season, if that doesn't happen, they'll wait for Alex Green. I previously linked to a story about how Devon House got serious about his NFL career, stayed in Green Bay during the off season and got stronger in the weight room. That same story noted that the one player who surpassed him in weight room dedication was Green. IMO if Green can get and stay healthy he's nearly the perfect back for McCarthy's offense. And in the meantime Saine showed he can pick up the slack. If any of those three fail, there's always Ryan Grant or the third RB on another team's roster.

    The Packers emphasis on the passing game dictates the main requirement of their offensive lineman. It's fantastic when they hit on a player like Sitton who excels at blocking for both the run and the pass, but make no mistake, if he were a great run blocker and a crappy pass blocker, he wouldn't play for Green Bay. IMO the Packers are actually making progress on the OL by acquiring Bulaga and even Lang who are pretty good run blockers. But Saturday and Newhouse aren't and that's OK as long as they can protect the passer. All I'm saying here is while I'd love the Packers to field an OL which is both dominant pass blocking and run blocking, that's an unrealistic expectation and the priority under McCarthy will always be pass blocking.

    Finally, here's another telling stat: The Packers scored more points than any other team in the 2011 regular season. In their playoff game, their defense was bad and their offense was very uncharacteristically careless with the football. If the defense was better and the offense was in mid-season form, there would have been no need for more of a running game. IMO it could hardly be clearer: The Packers have to fix the defense. And my biggest concern on offense is not RB or the running game. It's the most important position on the OL: Left tackle. And I don't mean how well the LT run blocks. [/long rant]
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  7. thomas28
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    The only reason I would entertain the thought of bringing in a RB would be to slow down the game against teams like Detroit, Saints, etc. But when we have the firepower to counter these big scoring offenses, why would we go the other way. I go defense before anything else...
  8. toolkien
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    http://pfref.com/tiny/8nsdL
  9. toolkien
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    toolkien Cheesehead

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    Who wouldn't want to see every position be as good as it can be? But everything comes at a cost. You want more potency here or there, that means less potency somewhere else. Every team gets the same colleges, free agents, and a $120,000,000 to spend. Every team has a philosophy. If anyone has ever played roulette you've got a whole board to lay your chips out on. You can go heavier on red or heavier on black, or odd or even. The rest is luck (assuming it's not rigged). If you lay evenly on each red/black/odd/even you might as well go watch the grass grow. The Packers have decided to skew offense, and within that philosophy they've skewed pass. Any place you see as thin, they saw as thin 6 months to a year before you did and it was planned that way. They just play the luck game that they won't get hit where they are thin while where they were intentionally thick they can get a compounded return.

    The Packers have had the best team in the league the last three years combined. Their philosophy has worked, and they've been undone only by turning the ball over in the 2009 and 2011 playoffs. If that's not good enough, then maybe some would prefer a team loaded at running back and defense that survives by controlling the clock and limiting the other team to 12 pts per game. Of course when that D decides to give up 28 or 31 pts in a playoff game, then the complaints will be why the Packers can't have a 49ers of the 80's offense. And anyone who thinks that any team should be able to crack off a potent AND balanced team hasn't been paying attention the last several years. It's been rare the last 10-12 years, and getting rarer. Potent and skewed is the order of the day for league leading regular season teams.

    You establish a philosophy and you lay out your chips and you let the wheel spin. If you fail to follow your plan in the playoffs, regardless of how you construct it, don't expect to win it all. In the last 12 years, 9 Super Bowls have been won by teams who won the playoff turnover margin. The other 3 were won by the team #2 in turnover margin. And those championships were won by teams skewed to their offense, or skewed to their defense, and a few by balanced and mediocre teams. But they followed their plan and they didn't turn the ball over. But those who lost simply can't retool their philosophy every year because it failed, especially if that philosophy works and comes undone by uncharacteristic turnovers.
  10. Chicocheese
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    Chicocheese Cheesehead

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    Well, what if we executed the draw play more often? I think that would really catch the defense leaning pass, and they we can shove a run down their throat.

    Think about it: 1st down) Run

    2nd down) Pass

    3rd down) Pass, gained first down

    1st down) Pass

    2nd down) Draw. (If anyone doesn't know what a draw play is (and I am not trying to be a jerk) it is like a "backwards play-action." where you fake the pass and hand it off to your back)

    It could work real well.
  11. milani
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    milani Cheesehead

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    Thunder and Lightning...Rememer wheeennnn..
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  12. Smokeychedder
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    Smokeychedder Tailgaiter

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    I've not heard anyone comment about how the RB's looked in mini-camp. Was there anything in press? Could it be because there was nothing exciting to report? They were there practicing too, right? Well how did they look? Who was not there and why?
  13. HyponGrey
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    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    RB's need pads to show their stuff. I think Green was absent to continue recoup.
    You buried it out back in the left corner of the yard
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  14. Wood Chipper
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    Wood Chipper Fantasy Football Guru

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    I enjoy running the ball in people in Madden. Don't get me wrong I am a pass first guy but annoying someone by running the clock all the way down in Madden is a personal joy of mine.
  15. milani
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    Come August I would hope that Green and Saine get a ton of reps.
  16. GeeDogWarrior
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    GeeDogWarrior 0 - 0

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    meh, I like the ground game we've got... a handful of 4 yards per carry type backs that can pass block, a bunch of mid to late rounders that do a decent job when we have to lean on them....

    I think it's better to have a 3 headed combo that doesn't cost too much salary cap space, than 1 really big mean monster back that threatens to hold out every other year unless he's paid "TOP Back Money!"
  17. Kitten
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    Kitten Feline Cheesehead Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Think on this. Why are we so stacked with receivers? Why are receivers and likewise QBs the focal point (stars) of the game? It shows you the direction the league is heading to. I'm not saying the running game is obsolete by any means, just underutilized.
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  18. Smokeychedder
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    Smokeychedder Tailgaiter

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    I watched an NFL network program this mouring about the "67" Packers season. The ice bowl and SB2, it was super. They did it all. The could run, pass, stop the run, stop the pass, kick return, punt, etc. They could do it all. So what is so terrible about about a team that can do it all? NOTHING!!!
    Teams that establish dynasties have few weaknesses. Is that not what we all want to see, domination in all phases of the game. There are cries about money and players that can't run block or greater needs eleseware. Would Vince allow any part of his teams to ever be just "good enough"? We all know the answer to that question!!
  19. ThxJackVainisi
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    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    This just in to the newsroom: NEWSFLASH: The NFL is about to embark on the 2012 season: A lot has changed since 1967!

    Seriously, IMO Vince Lombardi would have been smart enough to take full advantage of the numerous rule changes that have taken place since the late sixties. Whether any of us like it or not, the passing game is preeminent in today’s NFL.

    Arguing that some Packers fans don’t want the team to be dominant in all phases of the game is just silly. But that is an unreasonable expectation. In this salary cap era, teams must prioritize their needs and the running game is not as important as the passing game or fixing the teams problems on defense.
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  20. ivo610
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    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    I'm glad someone gets it. Some of these posters think you can run a team like you do your fantasy team.
  21. Smokeychedder
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    Smokeychedder Tailgaiter

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    The passing game is one of the best in the league and is comfortably deep.
    Six out of eight draft picks were on defence, so that is being addressed.
    Even Mr. Jolly may be allowed to try to return.
    I know how a running game can suddenly become important to a team regardless of how good the passing game is.
    What if one of the rookie QB's has to step in and can't hit a bulls backside with a bass fiddle?
    What if during a critical game a running game is needed to eat clock and keep the other teams offence off the Field?
    What if the other teams corners, linebackers, and safeties are shuting us down?
    Over 50 years I've seen what results from too much cocky confidance. I only hope that when they take these horses out of the barn that they are throughbreds and not Toney the poney!
  22. ivo610
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    If we lose Arod we are screwed, even Adrian Peterson wouldn't change that
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  23. Smokeychedder
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    Smokeychedder Tailgaiter

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    Players like Peterson rarely fully recover 100% from an ACL injury! They shoot horses don't they? He may never be what he was before. "Good Enough" is never good enough! The running game is no less important than any other part of the team! That is my point of view and it will not change. :mad:
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  24. ThxJackVainisi
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    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Whatever you do don't let changing circumstances change your opinion! ;) Ralph Waldo Emerson had something to say about foolish consistencies but I'll leave it to you to look that up if you're at all curious.

    Of course you're entitled to your opinion but the one on display above is just demonstrably wrong and it has been for some time in the NFL. If you'd like to considers stats (facts) which have occurred since 1967 in the NFL here's a good starting point:
    http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_1782_The_Great_%28Troll%29_War.html

    Of course other sites have addressed this issue too. The bottom line is 1) success passing the ball is the most important factor for an NFL offense and 2) the number of rushing attempts is more important than yards per rushing attempt.
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  25. Smokeychedder
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    You sunk my Battleship(NOT)!!! We'll see who's theory holds water this season. Now just be sure not to get too excited IF the running attack is solid this year. Don't cheer for long rushing gains, we want you to be arround and not be having panic attacks. Close your eyes when a screen pass is caught by a running back. Ignore any great blocks by running backs that allow our QB to throw for long gains and TD's. And above all, don,t give any credit to the running backs if they turn out to save us at any critical point in any game. After all, we want you to be happy as well as healthy. Anyway you know that a great passing attack is "good enough" to win with.

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