Alex Green didn’t have much of a rookie season, registering 17 yards from scrimmage on three carries and one reception before tearing his ACL. The injury that cost Green the majority of his season and the beginning of this offseason isn’t keeping Green from entering 2012 with full confidence.
While many expected the Packers to add a running back during the draft, the team stayed pat with their current stable before adding a few backs as undrafted free agents.
“Not drafting a running back showed they have some faith in me,” Green said in Pete Dougherty’s article for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “We’ll see how things turn out when training camp comes around.”
The Packers are looking to enter the 2012 season with James Starks, Brandon Saine and Alex Green as their running backs.
There is some question as to whether Green will be ready by the time training camp goes around. If Green can’t get fully back to full strength, he may start the year on the Physical Unable to Perform list, eliminating him from the first six games of the season. If it becomes clear that Green won’t be ready, the Packers should have Ryan Grant on speed dial trying to bring him back into the mix.
Regardless of when Green is fully back from the ACL injury, he should have an opportunity to be a contributor in the Packers offense. Each of these running backs has something different to offer when they step onto the field.
One thing that Green brings to the table is his size. Despite being 2-inches shorter than James Starks, Green is the heaviest of the trio of backs. He is a physical, always moving forward back, but still possess speed necessary to elude tacklers and get into open space. Starks has shown some ability to absorb contact, but his frame just doesn’t compare to Green’s. Starks is more the balanced back of the three, while Brandon Saine did a good job in the passing game last season catching 10 passes for 69 yards in his eight appearances.
Despite the record breaking season that the offense put together, they were largely one dimensional behind the incredible play of Aaron Rodgers. The running game left much to be offered, but was masked by the high point production and efficiency of the offense as a whole.
With this collection of backs, the Packers have an opportunity to incorporate the positives of each back into the offense. Instead of relying on one back to carry the ball 20 times a game, the Packers can go to a more situational or matchup-based type of revolving door at the position. Mike McCarthy has had incredibly amounts of success with creating mismatches. That situation also leaves the possibility of one running back making it impossible to keep off the field and gaining feature back status.
For Green, the injury issue remains a huge question mark. He was plagued by injuries during his time at Butte College and at Hawaii. The first step in becoming a significant member of the Packers’ offense is getting healthy and being able to maintain that health.
If Green can control of his health situation, he could become the guy that is impossible to take off the field. While the Packers’ passing game attacks you with speed and quickness, Green will add a physicality that the Packers haven’t consistently had in their running game for quite some time.
At Hawaii, Green mostly faced nickel and dime defenses because of the team’s potent passing attack. This is where he had most of his success using his size and speed to force his way into space and exploit. With the Packers, Green should face similar defenses based on the team’s passing attack and multiple wide receiver sets. With more cornerbacks on the field trying to cover receivers, that leaves less big bodies to take down Green.
The Packers have and look likely to continue to give Green every opportunity to become an integral part of the Packers’ offense this season. It boils down to Green getting healthy, staying healthy and taking advantage of the opportunities given.——————
Michael is a sports writer currently attending Seattle University. You can follow Michael on Twitter .