Late in Wednesday’s practice, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson struck up a conversation with coach Mike McCarthy.
The subject? Putting in a waiver claim for running back Christine Michael before the 3 p.m. deadline, which was quickly approaching.
“The last segment of practice we have what we call a unit drill, where the offense is working against the offense and just doing different things,” McCarty said on Thursday. “We talked it through and I think it was definitely the right decision.”
The Packers and Vikings put in waiver claims on Michael, who, despite being the Seahawks’ leading rusher, was released on Tuesday. The Packers, by virtue of their four wins vs. the Vikings’ five wins, were awarded Michael.
Suddenly, the Packers have viable depth in the backfield. With Eddie Lacy on injured reserve and James Starks sidelined following knee surgery, the Packers played the Bears, Falcons and Colts with no true, experienced running backs. While Lacy remains out for at least another month, the return of Starks last week and the addition of Michael provide some badly needed depth for a Packers offense that had become dangerously one-dimensional with a pass-to-run ratio of 3-to-1 the past three weeks.
But first, Michael has to get up to speed. He arrived in Green Bay on Thursday, passed his physical and immediately hit the practice field. With four years of experience, McCarthy is hopeful they can get Michael up to speed in a hurry - though it's a short timetable to get him ready for Sunday night's game at Washington.
“He’s played a lot of football,” McCarthy said. “He’s a veteran. I look for the transition to be pretty seamless. They’ll be some carryover like there always his from his prior experiences. It’s really about language and understanding what we’re doing and just like any new player, you work him in packages, and that will be our approach.”
Michael was Seattle’s leading rusher with 469 yards (4.0 average) and six touchdowns. Michael became expandable with the return of last year’s leading rusher, Thomas Rawls, and the rise of dual-threat rookie C.J. Prosise. Because Michael was such a limited factor in the passing game for the pass-happy Seahawks, Michael went from No. 1 back to out of work in barely a week.
The Packers, however, are thrilled to have him considering Lacy, John Crockett and Don Jackson are on injured reserve and the team swung and missed on Jhurell Pressley and Knile Davis.
“Dynamic football player. I love his running style,” McCarthy said. “Once again, he’s productive. His ability to get in and out of breaks (stands out). I think the one thing I know best about him is just the way he’s able to change direction and explode on the second and third cuts. I think he’s a good fit for us.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.
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