Packers Weekly Progress Report: Run Game Is a Deadly New Dimension for Offense

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2012

As we enter the final three games of the season,  the Green Bay Packers seem to have finally discovered a ground game.

The question is, do they need it?

The Packers have always functioned under the mentality of what fellow B/R writer and ardent Packers fan Aaron Nagler phrases as, "Why run when you can win?"

However, this past week we saw a very effective run game for the first time since Cedric Benson went down with injury.

While the Packers shouldn't worry overmuch about trying to become a "ground-and-pound" team, having an effective run game would be a huge boon to the offense as a whole.

When we look back at Benson's brief time with the team, one thing that stands out above all other aspects of it is the increased effectiveness of Aaron Rodgers' play-action pass.

Rodgers has a tremendous fake handoff with or without a great run game, but with Benson running consistently, teams tended to bite harder on the fake when it came.

If the Packers can consistently get Alex Green, DuJuan Harris and, to a lesser extent, Ryan Grant, moving the chains on the ground, that play-action fake will once again be hard to sniff out for defenses.

Over the next few games the Packers face teams that can be run on, but the most fascinating test could be this Sunday's tilt against the Chicago Bears.

This week the Vikings showed that Brian Urlacher's replacement—Nick Roach—was not really up to the task of holding back Adrian Peterson.

While neither Green nor Harris is nowhere near the level of talent which Peterson has, they both looked like very effective options against the Lions on Sunday.

Undoubtedly the Packers will strike at the Bears through the air—when you have the talent they do at wide receiver and quarterback, you'd be a fool not to try.

However, mixing in a healthy dose of run plays would only make it even harder for a depleted Bears defense to slow the Packers' offense down. It would also give the next few teams something to consider as they do their film review to prep for the next time they see the Packers.

The Packers will take every edge they can get.

 

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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