Nov 8, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) gets tackled by Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Ground Game Failure
This offense is starting to remind me of 2011…and not in a good way.
If you’ll remember, that was a 15-1 squad that had an amazing passing game.
That isn’t the part I’m reminded of however.
This team doesn’t have nearly the same cadre of receiving talent handy, and has struggled mightily lately with any consistency there. What they do have in common is many of the same issues that plagued that 2011 squad.
One of those is the lack of a stable running game.
Without a consistent run game option, an offense can become unbalanced and predictable, not to mention wholly ineffective.
In this contest, the run game provided only 71 yards across 19 carries; that’s about as mediocre as things get. It was even worse for the supposed lead back of the team.
Eddie Lacy had another awful game; only 5 carries, gaining just 10 yards, losing a fumble, and injuring his groin. I’m confounded about this; I have no clue what the problem is, but he is not even the slightest semblance of the player we’ve seen most of the prior two seasons. Whatever is causing it, he’s clearly not a viable option to contribute to the team at this point.
Even if they didn’t have the excuse of his new injury, the coaches should be more than ready to bench him (and apparently they are), at least for now. Leaving him starting apparently could only hinder things.
It isn’t like there is not a better option available on the roster. James Starks may not be the power back Lacy has been before, but he brings plenty of power in a quicker body. He may not have done great on the ground here either (10 carries, 39 yards), but he at least can force a missed tackle (Lacy has only 2 forced missed tackles in his last 33 carries), and he did have big games on the ground this year against San Diego (10 carries, 112 yards) and Seattle (20 carries, 95 yards).
The lack of consistency the run game had in this game — and for most outings this season really — makes it hard on an offense to hold onto the ball and pick up easy yardage. It makes it hard to keep your line from tiring out in pass protection, to protect your quarterback from unnecessary hits, to keep your defense fresh.
It isn’t the main problem, but it does connect directly and indirectly to all of the areas across the team that are currently struggling for the Packers. If they could fix things here, many of those other issues could be alleviated to some degree; maybe that turns a game like this into a victory instead of a defeat.
Next: Don't Give It Away