Lack of ground game concerns PackersWisconsin News
-- Now that December’s almost here, new questions are being raised about the Green Bay Packers’ lack of a running game. Once the weather gets colder, the traditional theory is that the Packers need better rushing as the weather makes passing riskier.
Now that December’s almost here, new questions are being raised about the Green Bay Packers’ lack of a running game. Once the weather gets colder, the traditional theory is that the Packers need better rushing as the weather makes passing riskier.
Coach Mike McCarthy says it’s the opponent that determines the Packers’ running strategy. But running backs coach Edgar Bennett says McCarthy has mentioned the weather as a reason for stepping things up. And Bennett says his players will be up to the challenge. Still, there are some who wonder if the Packers have a running strategy after their backs ran for just 26 yards in Sunday’s loss at Atlanta. Brandon Jackson and Dimitri Nance have only ran for a combined 91 yards in their last two games. Fullback John Kuhn has not had a carry since the Dallas victory on November seventh.
The Packer running backs have averaged just 71 yards a game since the opening week, when Ryan Grant was lost for the season with an ankle injury. That does not include all the scampering by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has had 245 rushing yards in 49 keepers this season. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin says it’s not good that the Packers have not averaged three yards a carry in its last two contests.
Green Bay is 7-and-4, and will host San Francisco on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Brandon Chillar will miss Sunday’s home game against San Francisco. And coach Mike McCarthy says tight end Spencer Havner is expected to sit out. Chillar was injured while making a tackle on a kickoff in yesterday’s Green Bay loss at Atlanta. Chillar hurt the same shoulder that’s been causing him problems throughout the season. Havner re-injured a hamstring. Corner Pat Lee sprained the same ankle he injured a few weeks ago, and McCarthy says Lee will be quote, “challenged to be back this week.” Running back Dimitri Nance suffered a concussion against the Falcons, and he’ll go through the NFL’s required testing before he can return. McCarthy expects rookie James Starks to replace Nance on the roster for the San Francisco contest. The coach said Starks better be ready, because quote, “He may have an opportunity this week.” Also, receiver Greg Jennings is expected to miss some practice time with a foot problem.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is still getting heat for not challenging a call that might have given the Packers the ball in Sunday’s loss at Atlanta. Falcons’ receiver Tony Gonzalez caught a low fourth-down pass on a fourth-and-three play in the first half. But replays showed that it might have hit the turf before Gonzalez had full control. McCarthy normally counts on his coaches in the press box to tell him when to challenge a play. And it never happened in this case. The TV feed in the Georgia Dome press box is about a full play behind the live action. But McCarthy said he didn’t see anything on the field either that would have led him to believe he would win the challenge. Also, the coach said the Falcons’ offense did not hurry to the line of scrimmage to start the next play and wipe out the possibility of a review. That drive ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez with eight seconds to go in the half. And the score turned out to play a huge role in a three-point Packers’ loss.