Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY

Christine Michael Returns But Packers’ Backfield Needs Upgrade

Christine Michael, who was a key contributor some weeks and a nonfactor in others, has re-signed with the Packers.

After losing Eddie Lacy to Seattle, the Green Bay Packers have re-signed the Seahawks’ leading rusher from last season, Christine Michael.

Michael was claimed off waivers from Seattle in late November and played in six regular-season games for the Packers. He rushed 31 times for 114 yards (3.7 average) and one touchdown. Michael was productive at times — 10 carries for 36 yards against Seattle, four carries for 45 yards and a 42-yard touchdown at Chicago and 10 carries for 47 yards in the playoffs against the Giants. He also was a nonfactor at times, including playing four snaps and getting zero touches in the playoff win at Dallas.

The transaction, while certainly not the defining move of the offseason, at least gives the Packers an experienced body in the backfield. Green Bay had only converted receiver Ty Montgomery, who paced the team with 77 carries for 457 yards, and Don Jackson, an undrafted rookie last year who carried 10 times for 32 yards in three games before going on injured reserve.

Without Michael, general manager Ted Thompson needed to be in the market for a major addition to the backfield. After all, Montgomery has only one game of more than 11 carries in his career, so there’s no proof that he could handle 265 carries in a season — Lacy’s average during his first two seasons. Michael is back but nothing has changed. A strong running back class awaits, which we broke down right here. Also, veterans Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and LeGarrette Blount are available in free agency. Peterson and Blount are poor performers in the passing game. Charles was a dynamic passing-game weapon in his prime but has played in eight of a possible 32 regular-season games the past two years.

In fairness to Michael’s performance last season, he was forced to learn an offense that was in midseason form and was in the process of committing to Montgomery. Now, he’ll be able to learn the offense from its roots throughout the offseason program.

However, he appears to be a less-than-ideal fit in the Packers’ cerebral, pass-first offense. In four career seasons, he’s caught merely 26 passes for 135 yards (5.2 average) and has never had a longer gain than 13 yards. Michael caught two passes for 11 yards for Green Bay.

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com 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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