The signs were all there. Now it’s official. The Green Bay Packers running-back-by-committee approach the team has traditionally employed under Mike McCarthy is gone.
James Starks, who’s healthy for the first time this season, was inactive on Sunday. Alex Green has two carries for two yards on this year. He didn’t touch the ball against New Orleans. Brandon Saine? Zero touches on the season. John Kuhn? Ten total touches in four games. His only touch on Sunday came on the fake punt.
In part, you can thank Cedric Benson for that. However, McCarthy has clearly changed his stance on the running game. Previously, that stance was use a bunch of guys and keep everyone fresh. No more.
Does new offensive coordinator Tom Clements have something to do with that? He certainly could, but Clements points to Benson.
“He’s a workhorse and when he touches the ball, the more he touches it, the better he gets,” Clements said. “We’d like to work those other guys in there if the opportunity presents itself but you try to get (Benson) the ball to get him going.”
Benson, who wasn’t signed until midway through training camp, has been impressive at times. On the season, he has 64 carries for 228 yards — a 3.6 yard average. That puts him on pace for 912 yards.
It’s nice that the Packers have a No. 1 back again (at least when they actually decide to give him the ball), but the speedy Green adds another element to the offense. Like everyone else who plays running back for the Packers, he’s wasting away on the bench right now.
If Benson really breaks out, that probably won’t matter though.