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Mike McCarthy promises a better running game

Bears Packers Football AP

The Packers won’t know the pecking order in the backfield until they see their backs in training camp and preseason games, but coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t need to know the status of the depth chart to make some predictions about the team’s running game in the 2013 season.

Prediction is actually a bit too light a word. McCarthy’s going further and making guarantees that Green Bay will be more potent on the ground this season than they were last year.

“Expectations for the run game, don’t have a number for you,” McCarthy said. “To me, that will sort itself out in training camp. These workouts are great — they’re a teaching, educational part of developing your football team. We have to get in pads to find out what’s real and what’s perception. We’ll be better, I promise you that. Big letters.”

It’s easy to say that the Packers’ issues running the ball consistently haven’t hurt them terribly in the last three seasons as they’ve won a Super Bowl and two division titles, but the last two playoff losses have certainly exposed the way a struggling run game limits the Packers offense. Running the ball more effectively slows down the pass rush, forces more defenders into the box and generally makes an effective passing attack piloted by Aaron Rodgers even more dangerous. McCarthy is clearly expecting that to change.

With Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, James Starks, Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin on the roster, the Packers aren’t lacking for options in the backfield. Whoever rises to the top in camp will be carrying McCarthy’s expectations right next to the ball.

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41 Responses to “Mike McCarthy promises a better running game”
  1. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 13, 2013 9:41 AM

    Well, it can’t really be any worse, can it?

  2. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 13, 2013 9:46 AM

    Remember how good Aaron was the past few years with no running game? Think about how good he’s going to be with an excellent running game. Just think about that for a little bit. Let it sink in.

  3. purplepunisher says: Jun 13, 2013 9:46 AM

    Packers defense is the reason they lost last year and its the reason their going nowhere in 2013.

  4. GenXJay says: Jun 13, 2013 9:50 AM

    So, this legitimizes the fact that ShAaron will become the newly, overpaid (I might add), reigning dumpoffking in 2013?

  5. vikingsvoice says: Jun 13, 2013 10:04 AM

    The Packers drafted two RB’s. Quite the limb McCarthy just climbed out on…Right on par with Clay Matthews’ “AP won’t gain 200 yards on us again”.

  6. purplepride74 says: Jun 13, 2013 10:06 AM

    It’s not like it could get any worse.

  7. schmitty2 says: Jun 13, 2013 10:31 AM

    Like the Packers or don’t like them..if they get a get a decent run game going that already scary good offense is going to be a sight to behold.

  8. spiderperv says: Jun 13, 2013 10:44 AM

    GenXJay says:
    Jun 13, 2013 9:50 AM
    So, this legitimizes the fact that ShAaron will become the newly, overpaid (I might add), reigning dumpoffking in 2013?

    ———–

    Says the guy whose squad boasts Christian Ponder. Good thing to invest money in a 30 year old WR with a injury history when you have a guy that can’t even get him the ball in the first place.

    Genius.

  9. greenandgold1972 says: Jun 13, 2013 10:50 AM

    Rick Spielman is a Magician says:
    Jun 13, 2013 9:41 AM
    Well, it can’t really be any worse, can it?
    ————

    Hard to believe, but it can. As bad as the running game has been, the Packers were not last. This said, I think it will improve tremendously and it will make the offense that much better. Maybe the Packers will have a (gasp) 100 yards game rusher.

    Now returning to the haters’ favorite arguments “but the defense (16th last year btw) sucks and ARodge’s contract is depleating the team. Oh, and they are old too

  10. CKL says: Jun 13, 2013 10:50 AM

    Yes Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL and they have a nice bunch of pass catchers so it makes sense to feature him and the passing game. But I’ve said over and over on here that when McCarthy has a good RB, he will use him. Anyone remember Frank Gore and Deuce McAllister? Like any good coach, he plays to his players’ and team’s strengths.

  11. tritz32 says: Jun 13, 2013 10:51 AM

    Hey Mike – It’s not the RB’s you need to worry about. It’s that HORRIBLE offensive line. I don’t care how good the RB is, if the line can’t block you aren’t going anywhere.

    I’m a Packer fan and I’m not feeling great about this season. No Woodson, no Jennings and they didn’t really do anything to better the lines on either side of the ball.

    I’m expecting another season of #12 running for his life and taking a big number of sacks but still playing at a high level. I’d say about 20% of the sacks he takes is on him because he holds the ball forever. Throughout last year I knew we didn’t have a chance at winning the SB, let alone getting there. Expecting more of the same this year.

  12. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Jun 13, 2013 10:56 AM

    Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 13, 2013 9:41 AM

    Well, it can’t really be any worse, can it?
    —————
    Of course it could be. Instead of being 20th in the NFL, they could be the passing equivalent of the Vikings in the run game which would make them god awful.

  13. chi01town says: Jun 13, 2013 11:06 AM

    A running game? in cheesebay…
    please.. that team hasnt had a running game in over 5 years. Plus Rodgers wouldnt hand the ball off to NO ONE. Thats why Steven Jackson wouldnt go to cheesebay this off season. and dont expect any other decent RB to go there. everybody knows Rodgers will pass on every play

  14. filthymcnasty1 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:09 AM

    What’s a running game?

  15. skittlesareyum says: Jun 13, 2013 11:19 AM

    I hope they also work on improving the offensive line’s run blocking. The RB would get hit immediately behind the line of scrimmage far too many times. If you have an elite back they can still do well, but those are expensive and an average back would be good enough if he had a decent shot.

  16. francheyes says: Jun 13, 2013 11:20 AM

    what’s that saying, wish in one hand….

  17. billh1947 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:26 AM

    The offensive line has to improve,moving the RG and RT their two best linemen, to the left to protect ARs blind side will help alot.with a much, much improved running game it just gets easier for the offensive line to block as the rushers wont be coming full bore on every play,they must stay back to defend the run or else they will be in big trouble.looking forward to seeing the new and improved Green Bay Packers put up more Ws this season.

  18. randolph32 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:30 AM

    Can’t ‘fall off the floor’, so up is the only way to go

  19. uwsptke says: Jun 13, 2013 11:31 AM

    chi01town says:
    Jun 13, 2013 11:06 AM

    everybody knows Rodgers will pass on every play

    =============================

    Then why can’t your “elite” Bears defense stop it if you know what’s coming?

  20. 13xworldchamps says: Jun 13, 2013 11:31 AM

    Funny how all the Vikings and Bears fans get on here and tell us how good they are and how bad the Packers are going to be.

    In the last three years the Packers are 17-2 against the NFC north, won a Superbowl, two division Titles and a wildcard….the other three teams?

  21. billh1947 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:34 AM

    purplepunisher,going nowhere?really? you are not talking about your Vikings here,if winning the division and going to the playoffs again is going nowhere then its a fine nowhere to be at.if you live long enough your Vikings may even get to that nowhere place in your lifetime but it would be far more enjoyable for you just to become a Packers fan and enjoy your teams successes with the rest of us happy Packer fans.

  22. themostlogicalofvoices says: Jun 13, 2013 11:43 AM

    The only thing holding Green Bay back from being one of the dominant teams in the league this year is the health of the players. If they can avoid the mass injury bug that has effected them over the past few seasons then they will be fine.

    “Fans” want to discuss how terrible the offensive line is yet they leave out the fact that the two first round draft pick tackles both endured odd injuries, Sherrod with a leg broken in half and Bulaga with a cracked hip that happened because he stepped awkwardly. Sherrod doesn’t even have to come back this year, just Bulaga, and the offensive line will be vastly improved. Marshall Newhouse is not a starting LT, was never intended to be the starting LT, yet because of circumstance he was thrust into that position and performed inadequately. I would venture that Newhouse won’t even be in the rotation this year. Same could be said with the running back situation last year. Starks was hurt almost the entire year and Green was working into form when the knee injury flared up and he had to sit.

    Every team deals with injuries but when a team experience a string of injuries at one position then it is really a stretch to project what will happen in the upcoming season. But hey, that’s what the offseason is for.

  23. vikings28 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:58 AM

    This will be interesting…..The packers spend a lot of time on Pass Blocking and now they’re going to split time with Run Blocking. I like that idea, cause it means less time on pass blocking, which will mean more sacks, period.
    Rodgers will have to show he is patient and won’t force throws. You saw him in the playoffs the last few years…..he presses when faced with adversity…and now that he won’t be throwing the ball 35-50 times a game, he’ll have to pick his spots…which will be very interesting. Before Rodgers always had another throw….if they run it more, he won’t always have that other throw. Sometimes the packers would call 9 pass plays in a row, so there was always the next play, I can make a solid pass. he won’t be able to think like that anymore….
    it’ll be interesting!!!

  24. chi01town says: Jun 13, 2013 12:14 PM

    @uwsptke
    the Bears are not the team to beat in the NFC the 49ers are. to beat them.. cheesebay.. Chicago and anybody else will need to run the football and cheesebay dont even know where to start. and like I said before Rodgers will pass on every play

  25. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 13, 2013 12:27 PM

    themostlogicalofvoices says:Jun 13, 2013 11:43 AM

    The only thing holding Green Bay back from being one of the dominant teams in the league this year is the health of the players. If they can avoid the mass injury bug that has effected them over the past few seasons then they will be fine.

    “Fans” want to discuss how terrible the offensive line is yet they leave out the fact that the two first round draft pick tackles both endured odd injuries, Sherrod with a leg broken in half and Bulaga with a cracked hip that happened because he stepped awkwardly. Sherrod doesn’t even have to come back this year, just Bulaga, and the offensive line will be vastly improved. Marshall Newhouse is not a starting LT, was never intended to be the starting LT, yet because of circumstance he was thrust into that position and performed inadequately. I would venture that Newhouse won’t even be in the rotation this year. Same could be said with the running back situation last year. Starks was hurt almost the entire year and Green was working into form when the knee injury flared up and he had to sit.

    Every team deals with injuries but when a team experience a string of injuries at one position then it is really a stretch to project what will happen in the upcoming season. But hey, that’s what the offseason is for.
    ________

    Wow, Packer fans really like to use injuries as excuses. Whatever happened to “next man up”? They sure like to brag about beating Joe Webb, though.

  26. skittlesareyum says: Jun 13, 2013 12:41 PM

    chi01town says:
    Jun 13, 2013 11:06 AM
    A running game? in cheesebay…
    please.. that team hasnt had a running game in over 5 years. Plus Rodgers wouldnt hand the ball off to NO ONE. Thats why Steven Jackson wouldnt go to cheesebay this off season. and dont expect any other decent RB to go there. everybody knows Rodgers will pass on every play

    —————————–

    Since you’re a fan of the Bears I’d have thought you’d actually know something about your opponent. Last year the Packers ran 1042 offensive plays, and 484 of them were runs. Running on 46.4% of the time doesn’t sound that bad to me. They don’t execute well, but they sure try.

  27. 13xworldchamps says: Jun 13, 2013 1:19 PM

    chi01town says:
    Jun 13, 2013 11:06 AM

    everybody knows Rodgers will pass on every play

    ———————————————————-

    Actually the Packers ran the ball 46% of their plays last year, Also whatever their doing has worked well against you Bears, in the last 3 years the Packers are 7-1 against Chicago. By the way that includes beating the Bears in the NFC championship game and winning the “HALLAS” trophy on your field…….

  28. judsonjr says: Jun 13, 2013 1:35 PM

    The offensive line was loads better once Saturday was benched. They averaged 5+ YPC versus the 49ers in the first half.

    The problem was that in the 2nd half the running game sputtered when Saturday came in for a series due to a guy having a shoe problem. Then they put Cobb in for a bit and the running game was put on the shelf.

    The running game matters, but I think they could use a few more screens, shovel passes, etc. Basically some more high percentage plays to move the chains, eat the clock, and slow the pass rush. I feel like Holmgren and Sherman used these plays well, while the McCarthy era has gotten away from screens a bit.

  29. ponderthedumpoffking says: Jun 13, 2013 1:52 PM

    Packers are the best team in the NFC north, and no other team is close.

    This is fact.

  30. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 13, 2013 2:02 PM

    ponderthedumpoffking says:Jun 13, 2013 1:52 PM

    Packers are the best team in the NFC north, and no other team is close.

    This is fact.
    ______

    How do you define close? The Vikings and Bears finished one game behind them last year. Maybe instead of enlightening us all with your “facts,” you should just enjoy the season and see how it turns out. It seems like if you were really the best, you wouldn’t have to keep saying it over and over and over.

  31. packerfanfordecades says: Jun 13, 2013 2:17 PM

    I’m looking forward to a thunder and lightning running game for the Packers this year. Here’s how it will go on the first offensive series:

    Play 1: Eddie Lacy over RT for 6 yards

    Play 2: Finley lines up in the slot and catches an out pattern for 12 yards. First down.

    Play 3: James Jones crossing pattern from the slot for 11 yards. First down.

    Play 4: Johnathan Franklin draw play and he steps around the line backer and two different defensive backs for a 24 yard gain. First down.

    Play 5: Eddie Lacy over the left side for 7 yards.

    Penalty charged against the defense for 13 players on the field. First down.

    Play 6: Play action to Franklin holds the safety and wide-open Cobb catches post pattern for the TD.

    15 yard penalty against the offense to be assessed on kick-off for unsportsmanlike conduct —> defensive co-ordinator throws his headset and clipboard on to the field before the extra point.

    Extra point: The Pack goes for two, 5 receivers spread wide, Aaron in the shotgun. Before the snap he moves forward to whisper something in the Evan Dietrich-Smith’s ear but it’s a trick. Aaron takes the snap and walks unopposed into the end zone for two. Score: 8-0.

    Kickoff: on-sides kick , Jordy comes up with it. First down Packers in enemy territory at the 39 yard line.

    Penalty assessed against the defense for illegal equipment on the field: it’s a 6 foot flag pole held up by the middle linebacker with a big white flag attached to it.
    :)

  32. foofeiter says: Jun 13, 2013 2:52 PM

    Not with that crappy offensive line.

  33. chi01town says: Jun 13, 2013 3:51 PM

    Save your last season numbers packers fans. this season the packers dont have a #1 WR and NO
    idea of what a running game looks like. Why wouldnt Steven Jackson go to the Packers? could it be because he knows Rodgers would pass the football and use him as a blocker?

  34. deltaoracle says: Jun 13, 2013 3:55 PM

    With a decent run game, Rodgers might even be able to threaten the 230 yard and three TD Mount Ponder which Heidi fans like to swoon about.
    And Magician, we have to gently remind people on the wrong side of the river who’s on top because based on their comments they seem to be unable to remember on their own.

  35. teal379 says: Jun 13, 2013 4:23 PM

    chi01town says:
    Jun 13, 2013 3:51 PM
    Save your last season numbers packers fans. this season the packers dont have a #1 WR and NO
    idea of what a running game looks like. Why wouldnt Steven Jackson go to the Packers? could it be because he knows Rodgers would pass the football and use him as a blocker?

    Do you even watch football? At all?

    No #1 receiver? I assume you’re talking about missing Jennings? You do realize that one, if not the largest reason he’s not in GB is because dude’s been hurt the last 2 years? So he’s not been on the field. GB’s #1 is Jordy Nelson with Cobb right there but as a different type of threat.

    46% of the time GB runs the ball.

    Packers averaged 3.9 yards per carry to the Bears’ 4.2 last year. If rushing for all of 10.8 INCHES less per carry than the Bears means we keep going to the playoffs and the Bears don’t – I’m fine with that.

    Really like you to explain to me how the Bears rushing for all of 10 inches more per carry is all that impressive. Especially when the Bears don’t play in January….

  36. lambeauandlombardi says: Jun 13, 2013 8:28 PM

    A story about the Packers and 5 of the first 6 comments are from Vikings fans. Either they sit at their computers waiting for anything starting with “Green Bay” or the “Packers”, or they are employed by the Vikings to clean the trophy case and dust the Lombardi`s and don`t have anything to do. Guess they realized much earlier than usual this year that their upcoming season will be just another season of heartbreak and futility to add to the 50 years plus archive of heartbreak and futility. Don`t know why they don`t just give up on their own pathetic team and join a proven winner.

  37. larryboodry says: Jun 13, 2013 8:46 PM

    As a Bears fan, I had no idea that the Packers NEEDED a running game, and the fact GB rushed 46% of the time surprised me…I don’t see that percentage rising, but if Lacy and Franklin improve that YPC # the offense will be even tougher to handle.

    That said, it’s a new season, and I envision GB and Chicago fighting for the North title, with MN and their one-trick pony unable to keep pace as they did last year…Detroit, despite some nice offseason moves, will not contend, but should improve their record somewhat.

    Should be a fun year, in any case

  38. chi01town says: Jun 13, 2013 9:58 PM

    the schedule this season will expose
    cheesebay right from the start. the packers have roll players for WR’s that cant even play 3 games without
    getting hurt. NO running game to speak of and if they do get a RB Mr. Rodgers with his yellow sweater wont hand the ball off to him.

  39. vfan76 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:01 PM

    He promises a better running game because he knows Rodgers only has 2 years left before they treat him like Favre.

  40. ponderthedumpoffking says: Jun 13, 2013 11:08 PM

    Vikings fans shouldn’t comment on stories about teams with offenses better than theirs.

    Which means they shouldn’t comment.

    They should also not comment on teams with better defenses

    Which includes the Packers.

  41. chi01town says: Jun 14, 2013 5:16 AM

    the schedule this season will prove my point right from game #1. the 49ers will expose greenbay. the read option is built to beat Capers and that weak defense. NOW after 5 years with nothing that looks like it will remind you of a running game
    the packers say they will have one? Rodgers will pass the ball behind a weak O-line to his roll playing WR’s. It wont turn out good this season

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