It will be Aaron Rodgers’ arm that will carry the Green Bay Packers

It will be Aaron Rodgers’ leadership and arm, much more so than any other aspect of the Green Bay Packers’ game, that will determine just how far the team advances in 2013.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

By Eric Balkman

Despite all of the excitement around Green Bay over the past 72 hours, one thing is still blatantly clear with the Packers organization.

Aaron Rodgers is by far and away the driving force of Green Bay’s offense. And the running game – albeit much improved since the end of the 2012 season — is planted firmly as a tertiary offensive option (next to passing the ball and passing the ball, of course).

Just how talented is Eddie Lacy?
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

While Eddie Lacy is perhaps the most talented back the Packers have had since Ahman Green was in his prime, he does not come without his fair share of significant question marks.

Lacy, for instance, has had only one full collegiate season of carrying the full running workload under his belt — a task he will be asked to do in the pros as a rookie in Green Bay immediately.

And in the age-old NFL chicken-or-the-egg argument, was it Alabama’s offensive line that made Lacy into the beast he is perceived to be by his supporters? Or was it Lacy himself who possessed the talent to make the Crimson Tide’s offensive line look better than it actually was?

Considering the last two running backs Alabama churned out to the NFL, my bet is on the former. Mark Ingram has been a more-than-underwhelming first round draft pick, and Trent Richardson certainly has yet to achieve the expectations that being the third overall pick brings with it.

Also bear in mind that two of the road graders that cleared the path for Lacy in college — Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker — were the 10th and 11th picks overall, respectively, in this year’s draft.

Perhaps the biggest red flag of Lacy’s pro prospects is his health. For a bruising, punishing running back to remain consistently nasty, he has to be able to avoid injuries. And Lacy is already behind the eight ball there.

Will Johnathan Franklin be the real surprise of the 2013 Draft?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After skipping the NFL combine, Lacy’s pro day workout at Alabama was nothing if not disappointing. Lacy blamed his poor performance on a lingering hamstring injury, which is understandable to a point.

After all, if your hamstring was hurt, wouldn’t you still find ways to stay in shape? Swimming, working out in a pool, building upper body strength and minding your diet would all be good options. And judging by Lacy’s workout, he could not have taken all — if any — of those aspects to heart.

When you take into consideration Packers GM Ted Thompson trading up to snag the talented running back from UCLA, Johnathan Franklin, in the fourth round of this year’s draft, it’s clear even the man who selected Lacy is hedging his bet a little bit on the second-rounder.

It’s no coincidence that Aaron Rodgers became the highest paid player in NFL history shortly before the draft started. Thompson and the Packers know that if Green Bay is able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy again in 2014, it will be because of Rodgers’ arm much more so than Lacy’s legs.

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers Johnathan Franklin

  • nicholas starling

    Rodgers leadership and arm can’t win championships without better blocking and some kind of a rushing attack. Like the one the Packers found just in time for Rodgers to lead the Packers to a Super Bowl win. With out James Starks the Packers don’t even get to the NFC championship that year. Rodgers has also been vocal about the need for an improved rushing attack. I am hopeful we will have that now, with our new running backs, and hopefully our two tackles back, completely healthy.

    • Pack23Life

      We were on our way to having a decent one last year w/ Dujuan Harris, he came in not too long b4 his first game n had to end up playing way early due to injuries. This year he’ll actually have an off season w/ us. An from what I’ve heard Lacy will be in single back formation, but their putting a package together called “Thunder an Lighting” their gonna team up Franklin an Harris which i cant wait to see, w/ Harris’s speed but also physical running style matched up w/ Franklin quick n elusive style it’ll be something to see

  • Pack23Life

    Rodgers will be the main driving force, but the run game will have its own part of us getting another trophy w/ Lacy Franklin an Harris defenses will have to bring that 8th defender down in the box, which’ll cancel out that cover 2 crap we had to deal with last year

  • Dan Dahlke

    Lacy put up impressive numbers in the best conference in college football. And if you watch his game day footage, that wasn’t all his offensive line. I see it as a positive that he’s only carried the load for one season. There is not a lot of tread on his tires. He should have a longer career because of it. If he ends up only being as good as Trent Richardson than GB will already greatly improve.

  • Taryn Miller

    I find it funny that the Packers are suppose to have a “Thunder and Lightning” duo in the backfield this season.Unless the OL can create a cloud cover,this sound and light show won’t produce much more of a downpour than what is already there.

    “Thunder and Lightning” can scare the meek at times but without the passionate cloudy skies..its just another false roar with a flashlight in your face with every game day run attack being a Holloween prank.

    I hope for the team and we the fans sake this isn’t the prank we see each game,but until the OL can show some severely better ZBS,..I don’t see teams pulling the covers over their heads.

    GO PACK GO!!!

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