Losing two key pieces in the an offensive attack would, for most teams, be devastating – and for the Green Bay Packers, it stings quite a bit, but I don’t see it being impossible to garner the high flying production the team was having before.
What I don’t think the Packers should do is play James Jones the next two games. I know for some people that might sound preposterous, but I have my reasons behind it. Here is why I think they should REST the banged up Jones:
Eddie Lacy and the Run Game
The Green Bay Packers right now are built upon the run success. Eddie Lacy has brought a tougher ability to the run game that there hasn’t been in Green Bay in the last few years. It has been paying off major dividends. I tihnk Mike McCarthy has finally realized that, despite having Aaron Rodgers, we need the run to slow down opposing pass rushers. Green Bay should feed Lacy between 20-25 times against Cleveland and possibly a little more against Minnesota. Sprinkle in mixes of Johnathan Franklin on some quick screen passes or draws. This way big play action or downfield passes to Nelson, Finley, and company should be open.
A New Found Toughness on Defense
I’m going to keep saying it until I am blue in the face, but this defense plays well regardless of who is on the field. Listen to the list of names that Green Bay has effectively neutralized so far this season: Frank Gore, Alfred Morris, Ray Rice, and Reggie Bush. The rush defense of Green Bay has been phenomenal this year. They will continue to build upon that success against Cleveland. Adrian Peterson is well, Adrian Peterson, but I think the Packers have a chip on their shoulder from last year. Expect a concentrated effort to neutralize the superstar in their Week 8 matchup in Minneapolis.
Both Games are VERY Winnable
Despite the losses to Randall Cobb and James Jones, do not expect that Green Bay will be lost enough to lose to Cleveland at home. That
would be telling me that you expect Brandon Weeden to outshoot Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau. Not going to happen. Green Bay will still have enough offense to win whether it be big or just slipping by. Week 8 seems like the beat of a tougher drum just because it’s Minnesota. Expect the bulletin board material provided by Greg Jennings to be the motivator for Rodgers and those who still have his back to the reason they walk out of Minneapolis at 5-2.
With that said, I think Green Bay should be saving Jones for the Monday night showdown against Chicago Week 9. I think the team just has to keep the “next man up” theme going. Trust in the development they have been processing over the years and let players be players. They have the talent to win. Let them show the way until there is strength in numbers again.