Just when the Green Bay Packers looked like they were finally getting a solid running game going, the injury bug struck.
Early reports indicate that the Packers newest running back, Cedric Benson, will be out six to eight weeks and possibly even longer. If you look at this situation from an optimist point of view, Benson will be back for week 12 against the Giants. But the reality is that this injury requires around six to eight weeks of his foot being immobile, which means it will take some time to get his foot back to game readiness after those six to eight weeks. This could lead to the possibility that Benson will be out the rest of the season.
So what does this mean for the Packers?
Well, first of all, the Packers will need their backup running backs to really step up. Alex Green filled in well after Benson went down Sunday in Indianapolis. He gained 55 yards on only nine carries, and had a big 41-yard run that set up the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth. It appears that Green will be the featured back but look for the Packers to include both Brandon Saine and James Starks into the offensive game plan. While neither has played, really at all this season, they both have pervious experience that will help out the Packers.
This also means that Rodgers will have to step his game up. So far Rodgers has not played like the league’s MVP. While you need to give some credit to the opposing defenses, it seems that Rodgers is struggling with some things. His accuracy on the deep ball has been a little off this year. He is also holding onto the ball for longer than he should, which is leading to sacks. The Packers should focus on calling shorter passing plays, which will do two things; it will create easier passing chances for Rodgers and it will move the ball down the field at a moderate pace, thus giving the Packers defense a chance to rest.
The bad news is that this injury will set back the Packers offense, which was already struggling to find consistency. This injury basically sets the Packers back to where they were last year, a good passing game but no running game. The issue is that the Packers passing attack isn’t nearly what it was last season. This could be a huge hit to the Packers.
The Packers will have to come up with solutions and will have to do it quick. The Packers have a tough game against the Texans on Sunday and could really use a win. While the running backs on the bench haven’t played much, they do have experience, which will help the Packers out a little bit.
The hope is that Green, Saine, and Starks can at least match Benson’s output, but fans will be hoping one of the three will step up and really become the feature back.
This Packers season just got a lot more interesting.