Why the Packers Need to Run, Run, and Run Some More

Week 1 of the NFL has passed, and the criticism of the Green Bay Packers came in like a tidal wave from experts and fans alike. Everyone is going to criticize the offensive line, the young receivers, and the disappointing defensive performance, but the fact of the matter is the game plan was flawed from the start. Going into this game, every Packers fan was all in on the young buck receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson, everyone except a highly cautious Aaron Rodgers. Having been very vocal about the presence of growing pains in his receiving core, any head coach with all their screws tightened would say, “Hey, we will ease them into it with a solid run game that way the pressure isn’t on them.” This is not what happened in the season opener against the stout Minnesota Viking however. Instead, Lafleur had opted to only run the ball a total of 17 times throughout the entire game. Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook had 20 carries himself for comparison.

The confusion doesn’t end there however, as in the moments where the Packers did run the rock, they were quite successful in doing so! Aaron Jones, even with only 5 carries, put together 49 yards while averaging just under 10.0 yards a carry. Just as much AJ Dillon, the thunder to Jones’ lightning, put together 45 yards and Green Bay’s lone touchdown on 10 carries. Despite what some may say about the Packers offense, these stats show there were actually bright spots that simply were not capitalized on. Not only was the star studded duo performing however. On each of their respective carries, Doubs and Watson ran for 11 and 7 yards, proving a point brought up earlier on in the season that receivers may very well be used in the backfield in more exotic run plays.

The fact of the matter is what happened at the Vikings game was not a result of generally poor play, but rather a lack of awareness of the situation by the coaches, and to an extent Rodgers as well. The game was very winnable if an adjustment to the game plan was made early on to focus on a strong run game, akin to Week 2 of the 2020-2021 season against the Lions, where Jones simply stole the show and the team continued to let him rack up 168 yards and 2 TDs on the ground alone. Hopefully in the future, such adjustments can be made because as any fan of this team in 2019 knows, you can win in an ugly fashion if you have to. On to the next week of Green Bay football.
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