A Concern Going Into Tonight

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The Packers are last in the league in rushing offense, nearly 15 yards per game worse than the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans, who ranked 30th and 31st. The Broncos, as it happens, are last in the league in rushing defense — allowing 176 yards per game.

Mike McCarthy has said since virtually the day he was selected — and probably in his interview before he was chosen — that his top priority is establishing the run. (And in a related statistic, they are ranked first in pass defense. It’s true that their defense backfield is outstanding — Dre Bly and Champ Bailey, in particular. But it is also the case that their opponents haven’t passed much on them because they have been able to run to easily.)

All week we have read stories about this being the week that the Packers can get their running game working. Perhaps. But McCarthy shouldn’t force it. If the run is there, take it. But if the run isn’t working, McCarthy has to show himself able to adjust. He did not do this in the second half of the Chicago game. Chicago’s pass-prevent defense suggested that the Packers should be able to run. They couldn’t, but rather than adjust, McCarthy kept handing the ball to his backs.

On a related note, it is important for the Packers to throw the ball deep a time or two early in the game. I don’t care if they actually complete the pass, though that would be great. Several times this year, the Packers have failed to create space for the running game by throwing the ball downfield. The run can certainly set up the pass, but the pass can just as successfully set up the run.

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