Saturday, July 21, 2012

2012 Packers Preview : RB and FB

If there is any type of weakness that the Packers have on offense, it is definitely behind Rodgers in the backfield. When our best player has less than 1000 yards from scrimmage in his career, that is definitely a problem. Last year there were 15 running backs that topped 1000 yards, including Reggie Bush and Beanie Wells. The Packers decided that they didn't need to resign Ryan Grant, so this is our choices to run in our backfield.

Du’ane Bennett-#23 Rookie-Minnesota
(5'9" 213 lb)

It is difficult to write about someone when you are searching for them and their twitter handle is one of the only things that comes up (@Mr_UnduhDawg by the way). His best college game as a Senior was against Northwestern when he ran for 127 yards. It seems like his role on the team is going to be mostly on special teams. During his Senior season he returned a kickoff for a touchdown against the Wisconsin Badgers, and he blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown earlier in the season as well. I don't know if we will see him playing any running back this season, but the Packers could use his talents on special teams in order to develop his running skills. Grade: D

Alex Green-#20 2nd year in the NFL-Hawaii
(6'0" 225 lb)

Alex Green has some NFL experience with 17 total yards from scrimmage during his rookie season. Green was injured during week 7 of last year's NFL season and I think that he could have some promise in him. His college best was during his Senior season with 327 yards against New Mexico State. He managed to do this on only 19 carries. I think that he probably doesn't have a chance to be our starting running back, but I think he has a good chance of making the roster because we did spend our 3rd round draft pick on him in last years draft. Grade: C-

Brandon Saine-#33 2nd year in the NFL-Ohio State
(5'11" 220 lb)

Ironically Saine has both 69 rushing and receiving yards. He had a good year last year as he started getting his playing time later in the season. The reason that I'm nervous for what Green will be able to do with the team this next season is because Saine picked up at the end of the season, playing in 5 of the last 6 games of the year. I think that he has a good chance to develop and an outside chance of being the starting running back. He is definitely our backup heading into this season because he has the next most amount of experience. I just know that we need to get better in this position and it is almost difficult to write this section. Grade: C

James Starks-#44 3rd year in the NFL-Buffalo
(6'2" 218 lb)

James Starks is as good as it gets for our current crop of running backs. Unfortunately, that doesn't really mean much when it comes to our overall running back situation. Last year Starks had 162 touches and only 578 yards rushing and 216 receiving yards. It would probably be fair to argue that the Packers have so many good offensive weapons that they don't need to use the running backs very often, but it's difficult when he has less rushing yards then Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, and Michael Vick. The main positive that I have for Starks is that he is averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season. That is the same number as other high profile backs such as Beanie Wells and Frank Gore. Strangely enough, Aaron Rodgers also averaged 4.3 yards per carry last year, so it's not anything to get too excited about. He is the one that we are having to pin our hopes upon. That is not saying much for our running game as our passing game continues to improve. Grade: C+

Marc Tyler-#27 Rookie-Southern California
(5'11" 226 lb)

Marc Tyler is well known running back from a successful college program. He is probably best known for his "USC....they breaking bread" comment that was on TMZ last year. He was suspended from the team for his Senior season and we signed him as an undrafted free agent. It will be interesting to see if he makes the roster, because this may be his only chance to redeem himself. His Junior season he led USC in rushing with 913 rushing yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. His father, Wendell Tyler, was a former Pro Bowl running back and had a 10 year career with the Rams and 49ers. We all know how a NFL pedigree can benefit you as a player, see Clay Matthews. Grade: D-

Nic Cooper-#40 Rookie-Winston-Salem State
(5'10" 249 lb)

Personally, this is one player that I am really excited to see in the preseason and hopefully for some time to come, and he is the start of the fullbacks to be listed on here. He ran for 1,808 yards and 22 rushing td's his last season. I think that he could be quite interesting in our offense either being a lead blocker with Kuhn at RB on a 3rd down, or with him and Raji in front of Kuhn in the Full House formation/Inverted Wishbone. He is a beast and he clearly knows how to run the ball well and we have him on our team and I hope that he can make the roster. Grade: B-

Jon Hoese-#35 1 year in the NFL-Minnesota
(6'2" 238 lb)

His twitter handle is @J_Hoese. Fun fact: his birthday is on the Fourth of July, same as our Nation's birthday, but he's a little bit younger. There isn't much information that I was able to find about him as I was researching him online, but he was a college walk-on at Minnesota and was on our practice squad at the end of last season. If he's willing to grit it out to try to make the college roster and the NFL roster of the Packers, then he is a workhorse in my book. Grade C

John Kuhn-#30 7 years in the NFL-Shippensburg
(6'0" 250 lb)

John Kuhn had six touchdown's last year and 155 yards from scrimmage last season. His best game was against Oakland in week 14 when he ran for 46 of those yards. Everyone loves him, but is he really as good as we think he is? The best thing about John Kuhn is that we get to scream "KUUUUUUUHHHHHHNN" every time he touches the ball. He only had over 10 total yards in only 5 games last year. We are talking about getting a total amount of yards for a 1st down in only 5 games. I think the reason that we have 3 FB's listed on the roster right now is because Kuhn just turned 29 and the Packers are looking for a replacement because that is what we typically do. Of all of the people in our backfield though, Kuhn is the best red zone target, and he is definitely our short yardage back. Grade B+

With all of the people that are in our backfield, there is hope for the future. Despite our success with Ryan Grant, it seems like we have lacked consistency in our backfield since Ahman Green left the Packers several years ago. I'm pretty disappointed in our core group as far as NFL experience when we are hoping to repeat as NFC North Champions and head back to the Super Bowl this season. Grade: D

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