Just as Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was surrounded by the press this evening at the NFL league meetings, Jason Wilde of ESPN reported that the news that the Packers had expressed interest in New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
When pressed about the report, McCarthy said:
“I’d like to think I’m old enough along that I don’t have to answer these questions in March. The depth chart doesn’t always look full this time of year. But the guys we do have there, they’re all young and they can all get better. Are we going to add more people there? Yeah, there will be more competition. It’s definitely to enhance the running game.”
Just exactly what that means, I’m not exactly sure, but if there’s a time of year when cloak and dagger tactics and words covering up exact meanings comes to the forefront it’s at this time of year in the NFL. That’s what it’s all about. Nobody wants to tip their hand, and that includes both McCarthy and Packers general manager Ted Thompson.
One thing is for certain – the Packers have to do something about their anemic running game. Whether that means bringing back Cedric Benson to compete with Alex Green, James Starks, and DuJuan Harris at halfback remains to be seen.
Or does it mean trying to sign someone like Bradshaw, a bruising back whose continuous pounding has led to a series of injuries over the past few years. Regardless, he’s been productive and his young age (27) are positives that will be considered by both the Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the coming days. There may be other teams that also join the sweepstakes – it is still early in the bidding.
Last year, Bradshaw ran for 1,015 yards on 221 carries – a 4.6-yard average, and six touchdowns in 14 games. He had surgery on his injured foot at the end of the season.
According to Wilde’s post earlier tonight, Thompson also expressed uncertainty about the running game and the personnel in-house.
In talking about the possibility of bringing Benson back and how to address the running game, Thompson said, “It’s like any position, we look hard at all of them and we’ve got a number of positions where the injury thing is going to factor in. We need to find out where we are there. But we feel pretty good about it.
“In general, we talk about all our free agents as if we’d like to have them back. There’s a scenario where we’d like to have (Benson) back. We need to find out about the injury thing.”
Where that takes the Packers in the next few weeks as they prepare for the NFL Draft remains to be seen. Whether the Packers pursue Bradshaw should be known sometime this coming week. From there, whether the Packers decide to go after running backs in the draft should come into focus, as well as whether the team will be bringing Benson back.
Stay tuned …