Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Open Letter to Ted Thompson: GET US A F*CKING RUNNING BACK!!!

This is a family-friendly blog.  I try to keep it PG-13.  But sometimes nothing does the job quite like dropping a few f-bombs.  And the complete inaction and evident complacency from the Packers front office about their running back situation leaves me no option.  Packer nation is collectively asking, when are we going to get a f*cking running back!?  So far, the response has been chirping crickets.

It’s one thing to not comment on the situation.  That might lead me to believe, hope -- in spite of all past behavior to the contrary -- that they are working some trade behind the scenes and they don’t want to disrupt the negotiations.  But comments this week by Mike McCarthy seem to suggest they are un-concerned with our complete lack of a rushing attack.  After the Chicago game, McCarthy stated (and this is a real quote, not the made-up ones I usually do), “I thought the running back production was a positive in the game.”

A positive in the game???  Were we watching the same game?  Brandon Jackson, our alleged feature back, had seven carries for 12 yards.  12 yards!!  More shocking, if you take out his long carry of 11 yards, he had six carries for 1 yard!  How can you regard a 0.16 average yards per carry as a positive?  John Kuhn’s underwhelming six carries for 31 yards looked like an MVP performance by comparison.  What I would consider a “positive in the game” is the 62-yard burst for a touchdown that Ryan Grant had on the first offensive series when we played Chicago at Soldier Field last year, on his way to a 137-yard day.  We don’t have anyone who can do that, and yet there’s no indication that this glaringly obvious gap is a concern.

McCarthy stated, when asked if he’s satisfied with Jackson and Kuhn specifically, “You ask me that every week.  I like our running backs.”  I like them too.  They’re nice guys.  And they are productive and useful players in their regular roles – Jackson as a third-down back who can catch passes and pick up blitzes, and Kuhn as a fullback with versatility and good hands.  That doesn’t make them featured backs.  Jackson’s 2.27 yards per carry in the last two games simply is not sufficient.  And the lack of touches indicates the Packers have no confidence in him either.

But the lack of rushing yards only tells half the story.  The Packers have long been a pass first team, so they don’t need gaudy rushing stats to log wins.  However, their inability to run the ball affects the team in other ways:

  • No big play threat – with a season long run so far of only 18 yards (25th in the NFL), opposing defenses can cheat and crowd the line and our receivers since they don’t need to worry about an explosive back.
  • Ineffective play-action – with nobody biting on play fakes, it will be harder for Rodgers to find open receivers particularly for big plays downfield (which you saw none of against Chicago).
  • Lack of quarterback protection – nothing makes a defense lick their chops more than an offense they know only passes, enabling them to run blitzes and pressure the quarterback relentlessly.
  • Prone to penalties – it’s never easy for an offensive lineman to play back on his heels when he knows the defense can just pin their ears back every play.  It leads to false starts, illegal formations and holding penalties, which we saw plenty of Monday night.
  • Inability to finish out games – nothing is more crucial to finishing out a tight game than an effective running attack.  When you’re forced to pass late, errors happen -- again, to wit, Monday night.

Half the sports prognosticators out there are clamoring for a trade for Marshawn Lynch, with some speculating that he could be had for a third-round pick.  If that’s the case, Thompson would be stupid not to pull the trigger and rectify what is quickly becoming as glaring a deficiency for the Packers as atrocious pass protection was last season.  Unlike last year with the offensive line, though, there’s nobody coming back from injury this season who will help us.  A trade is the only chance we have of getting an impact player.  I just hope Mike and Ted see that.


  1. McCarthy wouldn't know what to do with a decent running back. We are gonna get killed farther into the season if we remain one dimensional and God forbide Rodgers gets hurt. Come on man - get us a running back!! Your job should be on the line if you don't demand one!

  2. "It’s one thing to not comment on the situation. That might lead me to believe, hope -- in spite of all past behavior to the contrary -- that they are working some trade behind the scenes and they don’t want to disrupt the negotiations."
    One can only hope. I was thinking the same thing that the lack of concern or comments is just a ploy to get a running back at a lower cost, a third rounder instead of a second rounder. Regardless, as a lifelong Packer fan I believe this is our year. There is no reason not to take a chance and help Aaron Rodgers with a back that will command enough respect that teams will bite on play action.

  3. Thank you for expressing exactly what I was thinking too! It appears Ted & Mike are on some kind of ego trip when it comes to acquiring free agents. It appears they want to take credit for building the Packers thru the draft exclusively. Even before Grant got injured, I thought we needed another running back. Jackson is good in his role. Kuhn is too slow to break any long gains. Wake up T&M!