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.