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Injuries, Conditioning, Asthma and the Green Bay Packers Offense

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Injuries, Conditioning, Asthma and the Green Bay Packers Offense

On a good week this season the Green Bay Packers' offense has been banged up. Recently the injury report has began to read like a beginner's guide to the players on the offense not named Aaron Rodgers. 

This myriad of injuries has definitely changed the way the offense looks and has also (likely) had a strong influence on the play calling. A couple weeks ago I wrote about how the Packers needed to fix their run/pass balance with almost 70 percent of all called plays being passes when they weren't trying to run out the clock. I thought they would correct that against San Diego, they didn't. Now going against one of the elite defenses in the NFL it seems more important than ever to try to make teams at least respect the threat of the run.

If the Packers do try to establish the run against Denver this Sunday, who gets the carries?

The hope would be that Eddie Lacy, who has missed a large portion of snaps the last few games due to an ankle sprain, could start to carry the load again with two weeks off from football. It has yet to be seen whether his ankle is still bothering him or not, if it is, it's hard to imagine the Packers leaning on him. Even if the ankle is healthy, Lacy has looked noticeably heavier than he has been in recent years, that alone raises conditioning questions. Now factor in over a month without being able to put a lot of work on his legs and conditioning becomes an even bigger question. However with Lacy it is more than conditioning, he is also suffers from asthma. On more than one occasion in Lacy's career with the Packers he has had to be taken out of games due to his asthma acting up after getting the majority of work on a drive. Typically this has come in colder weather and while it will be around 50 degrees during the game on Sunday, the altitude and thin air in Denver could cause a flare-up for Lacy. All of this makes it hard to believe he will see many touches on Sunday, even if his ankle is feeling better.

The natural progression would be to give Starks a heavier workload, after all he had a wonderful game against San Diego posting 112 rushing yards on only 10 carries, including a 65-yard touchdown run. Starks however stayed in Green Bay over the bye week to have his hip worked on and missed practice on Wednesday due to that same injury. If he is able to go, how much of the load is he capable of carrying?

If both Starks and Lacy are not able to do much, does Alonzo Harris see an expanded role or do the Packers just take a page out of New England's playbook from last week and just abandon the run completely? Abandoning the run against a team that can rush the passer like Denver can seems too risky to me, but you never know.

Having a healthy Cobb and Montgomery would also go a long ways towards making up for lost reps from Lacy and Starks.

Montgomery missed practice on Wednesday after spraining his ankle in week six against San Diego, I would think he would be a surprise to play at this point. Randall Cobb is still dealing with the AC joint injury he suffered in the preseason and re-injured against the 49ers. How injured he is will go a long way in determining his effectiveness, he has been favoring that shoulder heavily since re-injuring it and has simply not been able to produce. I wouldn't expect to see much from Cobb or Montgomery in terms of playing out of the backfield, but if both are able to go it should help in the short passing game.

Fortunately for the Packers they should finally get Davante Adams back, but with having over a month off from the field, what will his conditioning be like - especially in Denver - and is he finally back to close to 100 percent? Even if he is good to go, what will his timing be like with Rodgers, they haven't exactly had a ton of reps together.

There are a lot of question marks for the Packers' offense this week and it is a poor time to have to play probably the toughest defense they will face all season long.

I would love to see the Packers with their full complement of weapons against Denver to use as a measuring stick, but I trust McCarthy and Co. to put something together over the bye to work with what they have. Hopefully they start going back to the quick, short passes and implement more screens. 

I am very interested to see what their game plan is here and I am very much looking forward to these next two games against tougher competition (on the road against Denver and Carolina). As long as Rodgers doesn't get killed in them, the team will be better off for it in the long run, no matter the outcomes.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

I have been saying it a lot but I am looking forward to seeing what this offense can do once it gets its players back healthy.

This is a game in which I would think they would like to try and establish the run game. However like you pointed out, with Lacy not being 100% with his ankle, and with Starks hurt in the last game who is going to pound the ball?
I would think this would be a great game to use Montgomery as a RB, however since he is hurt I don't think he will play in this game.
Perhaps we do see an expanded role for Alonzo Harris. He did look good in his limited work against the Chiefs. One of the reasons why they kept him over Crockett and Neal is because he is more similar to the RBs that they currently have and if they were to get injured they wouldn't have to change the offense much. Well currently the RB's are hurt. So now might be the time to use Harris more.

porupack's picture

Running game isn't going anywhere this week.
Trying to run will end up with stalled drives, low time of possession, wear and tear on Lacy/Starks at high altitude and GBP D is on field too long, gets gassed and exposure to injury, loses the game and isn't ready for Carolina next week whereas Carolina studies this bland plan.

GBP can rest lacy and Starks for first 20 min., run 4 and 5 WR sets, put Harris in backfield for decoy, blocks, shuttle pass, and a few token runs. Broncos D gets gassed, and Lacy begins some rotations for decoy, when Bronc think run, Rogers lights some deep ball/big plays to give just enough conditioning reps for Lacy, and GBP easily win a high passing game. Everyone is pumped, and the opposite strategy for Carolina results in a serious Lacy-Starks run game as Carolina didn't game plan properly. MM sends me complimentary tickets to the last game of the regular season, you guys are jealous but congratulatory as everyone is in generally high spirits.

davy jones's picture

Does Obama invite you to the White House?? Any token of appreciation from Olivia Munn??

porupack's picture

Should be a good game, that game #16 of the season. That'll do.

Tundraboy's picture

Would love to see that play out.

Steve Cheez's picture

Sounds pretty easy. Good job, poru

Ferrari Driver's picture

The actual action time during NFL games has been timed in the past and it amounts to approximately 12-15 minutes. The snap the ball, hand it to the half back and he is stopped at the line. Actual playing time is about 4-5 seconds. The clock continues to run for another 35-40 seconds and we repeat. Lots of standing around and this time is split between offense, defense, and special teams. Hard to imagine these guys getting completely gassed.

I'm not commenting about the violence of many of the hits, just the actual time of the action during the entire game.

Tarynfor12's picture

I give the win to the defense that is less likely to collapse as the game hits the 4th quarter....Denver.

EdsLaces's picture

Run fat boy run!

Dan Stodola's picture

A buddy of mine and I at the Packer bar we frequent, call Lacy "The Farm Animal". Which kinda is due to his, shall we say pudgy physique and partly due to his running style.

steven10825's picture

Hey guys for what its worth I also suffer from asthma. When I visited my girlfriends grandparents in Colorado last summer they took my on a tour of the surrounding areas. The altitude got about 12,000 feet above sea level if i recall the gps right. Im from missouri and was also concerned due to the altitude change. But actually it felt better. I had no troubles and actually felt like it was easier to breathe. I preformed many strenous activities without so much as a wheeze. So my two cents is that if lacy's asthma is anything like mine this will be a non factor.

Dan Stodola's picture

I have asthma as well. Altitude isn't a real issue for asthma. The air is cleaner up there. The pollens and pollutants fall to the ground and the air at lower altitudes in the valley. I mtn bike and hike and the altitude was a complete non issue to me or the asthma.

Seems a lot of people want to make excuses for Lacy. Ahman Green had asthma also, and it didn't stop him running over, thru and around any LB or DB that he came across. Apparently they don't know much about asthma or altitude.

steven10825's picture

I must agree dan. Infact I loved the way the air felt. Just so much easier to breathe. I was tempted to move the same day. Haha. But as far as lacy goes I believe the issue with lacy is his ankle. He just lacks the explosive and lacks his one cut ability.

Lphill's picture

I just saw an interview with Lacy talking about his weight , he looked good and said he was in good shape and feeling good , he said not all running backs are built like Adrian Petrrson , He said he is more like a Brandon Jacobs type but not Jerome Bettis , was pretty funny because Jerome Bettis was watching the interview on NFL live .

Dan Stodola's picture

What, do you think he's going to admit that he's fat and should be in better condition at a lighter weight. Of course he said that. Jacobs was 6'4, Lacy is nothing like Jacobs. He's similar to Bettis, but he was a full grown FB, and carried 250 better than Lacy does. Lacy was 230 in college and the combine. That's the weight he should be playing at IMO.

EdsLaces's picture

If his weight is such a big deal why does the training staff not make him lose some lbs? I don't get it.

Dan Stodola's picture

It probably has a lot to do w/ his diet when he leaves the facility. Players get nutritional advise, but its up to them to put it to use, at least partially, if not mostly.

Some might say that McCarthy starting and playing Stark ahead of Lacy last game, was in fact a disciplinary move. I don't think for a second it was totally related to his ankle, which he played on the other earler games, when it was likely hurting more.

Nick Perry's picture

Does anybody think that possibly it could be Clemonts play calling that has slowed down the offense? I only ask because the Packers have ALWAYS had tons on injuries and continued to score. They just haven't looked very good, not even week one. I mean they ARE 6-0 so they can't be THAT bad, but the way they've played is a little concerning. I guess we'll know in next few weeks.

Dan Stodola's picture

Possibly, but in my opinion, it has almost everything to do w/ losing Jordy and the deep threat. Now its kinda the opposite of '12 when teams sat in deep coverage since the Packers could so easily beat you w/ the big play downfield.

Now lacking that deep threat, but having a more than respectable running game and a lot of players that can "move the chains" like Lacy, Cobb, Montgomery, R. Rodgers, but no deep threat. So teams are playing their defense much closer to the LOS and "in the box".

Just the opposite problem.

RCPackerFan's picture

IMO it's all about the injuries why the offense hasn't gotten going yet. They lost Nelson their deep threat and one of the most underrated players in the league. The very next week Cobb hurts his shoulder, which he started getting better then reinjured it and hasn't been the same since. Then Adams gets hurt and has missed most of the season so far. (That makes top 3 WRs from training camp.) The last couple of games Jones has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Then the last game when it looks like Montgomery might be the focal point of the offense he gets hurt. Also Lacy has been dealing with an ankle injury which has made him very ineffective. And the OL has been banged up some too.
For me once they get their players back healthy again that's when they will start looking more like the offense that we are more accustom to seeing.

sheppercheeser's picture

I'm really glad to hear from other people with asthma that the clean air is more of a positive than the air thinness being a negative. Nonetheless, I hope there is a plan "B" in the event Lacy gets gassed.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think they need to activate Harris this week. With Starks hurting, and Lacy still hurt but also with his asthma, it would be a good week to be prepared to use Harris if needed.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed, RC. Inactives might be Taylor, Goodson, Hundley, Gunter, possibly Ryan as beginning, plus whoever is too hurt to play. Abby has been active, and I would like to see what he has, if anything, at WR.

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