Balance is something that all NFL teams strive for on offense. Establish the run to help set up the passing game, use the passing game to help establish the run. A team doesn’t have to have a perfect 50/50 split to accomplish their goals of staying balanced, just stay committed to both aspects and good things can happen.
Coming into the 2014 season, the Packers had a former NFL MVP in Aaron Rodgers and the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year in Eddie Lacy manning the backfield. All signs pointed to the Packers finally having the balance they have strived to put on the field. This was going to lead to a faster, more unstoppable offense that had the potential of putting up Madden type numbers. Unfortunately, those thoughts have been replaced by a stale, stagnant and unimaginative brand of offense which has helped lead the Packers to a 1-2 record. What got the Packers to this point though?
Part of the blame has to rest on Eddie Lacy and the running game. Through the first 3 weeks of the season, Lacy has run for a total of 113 yards, with an average of 3.1 yards per carry. To put that into perspective, Lacy averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his Rookie of the Year season in 2013. It isn’t just Lacy that has struggled running the ball though as the team as a whole is only averaging 78.7 yards per game which ranks them near the bottom at 27th in the NFL. Ultimately, those numbers just won’t cut it.
While Lacy has had his struggles, it should be noted that the first 3 games on the Packers schedule, the Seahawks, Jets and Lions, were against 3 of the better rush defenses in the NFL. That is by no means an excuse but it should be noted that Lacy could have been successful in the first few games and the numbers may have still been mediocre.
Not all of the Packers issues are with the running game though as the whole offense has struggled so far this season. Through the first 3 games, the Packers are only averaging 18 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. Additionally, the passing game is averaging 210.7 yards a game which ranks them 20th in the NFL. Needless to say, no matter how poor the running game has been, the whole offense has been underperforming.
The Packers are one of the teams in the NFL that doesn’t need a dominant running game in order to succeed on offense, as has been shown in years past. That being said, with Lacy coming back along with an experienced James Starks and a now healthy Dujuan Harris, the belief was the running game could not only be a solid compliment, but could be dominant. For the Packers, the running game helps compliment the passing game which when is rolling, can be prolific.
The season is still early and while it isn’t too early to be worried, there is more than enough time to make the needed adjustments. As was the case last year, the running game can catalyst for the offense, not just a compliment to the passing game. If the Packers hope to win the NFC North for a 3rd consecutive year, they better hope it can get going soon.
Give me a follow on twitter @mkhawk21 to talk all things Packers and more. Also make sure to follow @packers360 for Packers talk before, during and after the games.