The Green Bay Packers’ running game was running on empty. Literally.
Eddie Lacy was on injured reserve. James Starks was ineffective. Don Jackson, who was called up from the practice squad, got hurt. The trade for Knile Davis didn’t pan out.
Then, the Seattle Seahawks released their leading rusher, Christine Michael. Green Bay pounced and was awarded Michael on waivers.
Michael wasn’t a savior, not by any stretch of the imagination. But he at least provided a viable, experienced runner. In six regular-season games for Green Bay, Michael rushed for 114 yards on 31 attempts, good for a 3.7-yard average. He blew through the Bears’ defense for a 42-yard touchdown. In the playoffs, Michael added 10 carries for 47 yards against the Giants but didn’t touch the ball vs. Dallas and had six carries for 11 yards in mop-up duty vs. Atlanta.
Our take: There’s no doubting Michael ran hard and fearlessly. However, as has been the knock on Michael throughout his career, he didn’t always run with vision. Michael’s nickname might as well have been Capt. Cutback. After his breakout game against Chicago, it appeared opponents got wise to Michael’s style. In the final two regular-season games and three playoff games, Michael carried 23 times for 68 yards — an average of 2.96 yards per carry.
Also true to form, Michael couldn’t have been any less relevant in the passing game. With Green Bay, he caught two passes for 11 yards (plus one catch for 3 yards in the playoffs). He had a bad drop against Atlanta. For his four-year career, he’s caught 26 passes for 135 yards — a 5.2-yard average — and a long of just 13. Michael also muffed two kickoffs.
The Packers have a need at running back. Like Michael, Lacy is a free agent. Starks is under contract for one more season but apparently hit the 30-year-old wall while averaging only 2.3 yards per carry in nine games. Still, Michael seems a poor fit for a Packers offense that revolves around Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.
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.