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Can Christine Michael Give the Packers Six Good Weeks?

“Christine, that’s all I ask of you.” –Phantom of the Opera Lyrics

When Total Packers ran stories on November 15 and 16 on the Packers’ possibly acquiring just-released Seahawks running back Christine Michael, and then confirming Green Bay did indeed claim him, commenters were less than enthusiastic. Some of the gripes: fumbles a lot, a head case, cut by three teams, not right for the Packers’ offense, has character issues, doesn’t catch many passes.

I’m going to take the opposite view – in desperate times like these, optimism is called for.

Christine Michael (pronounced Kris-tin), was among the top three running backs in the country coming out of high school in Texas. He went on to Texas A&M, had a fine college career, and was drafted in the second round in 2013 by Seattle’s savvy general manager, John Schneider.

He played sparingly in 2013 and 2014, but he has a Super Bowl ring from that first season, and would have another but for Russell Wilson being intercepted when he passed from the 1-yard line in the final minute of the Super Bowl in 2015. He was also on the field two weeks earlier when Green Bay infamously lost to the Seahawks in overtime 28-22.

Seattle traded him to Dallas as the 2015 season was about to begin. Seattle Times reporter Jayson Jenks at that time described Michael as being “a strange cocktail of talent, potential, immaturity, and inconsistency.” But he also quoted an NFL scout as saying he was the most gifted running back in the last five years. A strength/conditioning coach felt he was “as explosive as Adrian Peterson.”

Michael is 5’10″ and weighs 221. He is strong (27 bench presses) and was cast as the apparent successor to Marshawn Lynch. One observer gushed that all he had to do is walk on the field and his potential demanded to be seen – it was that obvious.

On the downside, others said the intricacies of the position evaded him (his Wonderlic score was 11), and that his inconsistency proved to be his downfall. One person noted that he’ll tease you with his potential.

As to those commenter complaints, I see no indication of a fumbling problem (he’s lost one fumble in 233 regular season carries), and no dire character issues (drugs, domestic abuse, criminal record, etc.). He caught 20 passes in his nine games with Seattle this year – though at under five yards a catch, they must have been mostly dump-offs by Wilson.

As for being cut by three teams (twice by Seattle), the fact that Seattle brought him back for the tail end of the 2015 season, and started him right up to the time of his release this year indicates the Seahawks by no means viewed him as damaged goods. He even started last year’s playoff game against the Vikings, rushing for 70 yards on 14 carries, and helping Seattle survive, by a 10-9 score.

There’s an additional irony here. Seattle released Michael last week when Thomas Rawls got his health back, rendering Michael a third stringer, behind Rawls and fast-rising C.J. Prosise. Five days after the Packers acquired him, Prosise damaged his shoulder and is probably out for the rest of the year.

A second irony: the Vikings were also ready to claim Michael off waivers, but the Packers had first dibs due to their worse win-loss record on the year.

A Realistic Plan

The last thing the Packers (or their fans) need to be worrying about is Michael’s long-term prospects. Unlike Knile Davis, Michael has not been warming the bench. Until last Sunday, he played in all nine Seahawks’ games, and he averaged over 15 carries and 2.7 catches in the first seven – considerably more work than Eddie Lacy was getting at the time.

He’s ready to go. All the team needed do is assign a coach to him, work up a small number of basic plays designed expressly for him, and start him on Monday night. See what he can do – unleash that potential.

Maybe Michael can tease us for just six weeks with his talent. Christine, that’s all I ask of you.

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Rob Born

Due to Aaron Rodgers’ reckless ways, I’m officially launching the Campaign for GM Gutekunst to Acquire the Best Available (Veteran) Backup Quarterback – NOW.

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9 Comments

  1. PF4L November 26, 2016

    Desperate times don’t call for optimism, It calls for change. Not pinning the seasons hopes on some guy that just landed in Green Bay.

    For some reason, i don’t think in the Eagles meeting room, someone is saying…”Oh shit!!, the Packers picked up Christine Micheal”.

    Don’t fear losing people, LET IT GO!! Neither you, nor i, nor Christine Micheal is going to change the fate of a shit season. Unless he can play corner and pick off 3 passes a game, he’s a non factor.

    Losing is temporary, change is permanent.

  2. PF4L November 26, 2016

    In other breaking news…

    The Star Tribune has reported that Mark and Zygi Wilf have officially petitioned and applied for the vikings to become the newest team in the Canadian Football League. CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge has confirmed that talks have been ongoing for about 5 weeks. Orridge also stated that approval could take only 3 months, allowing the Vikings to start playing in time for the 20 week CFL 2017 season starting in July.

    ESPN reports that the Wilfs, seemed overjoyed and relieved with the prospect of being in a 10 team league. Zygi Wilf stated: “It’s no secret we’ve found it incredibly hard competing in the NFL for the last 45 years as a losing franchise.” and he went on to say…”our odds of winning with only 9 other teams increase 3 fold”.

    Mark Wilf added: “What really sold us on the idea is that a mathematician explained to us how we could increase our chances of winning in a smaller league, when we finally understood it in the 2nd day he explained it, we were all in”. “We look forward to winning a Grey Cup for our fans as they deserve something besides a banner” Zygi added.

    1. Kato November 26, 2016

      LOL

  3. PackAttack November 26, 2016

    Rob,

    You need to put this whole save the running game thing to bed. It’s irrelevant on so many different levels and in a long list of what’s wrong with the Packers — the running game is somewhere close to the bottom.

    First and foremost, Green Bay’s offense isn’t the problem with this team — Aaron Rodgers (despite Green Bay’s horrendous record) is performing at an MVP caliber level again. It’s ironic that during Green Bay’s 2010 Super Bowl run they had a non-existent running game too — weird. Coincidence? You want the ball in Rodgers hands 85% of the time or more — not Eddie Lacey, James Starks or Christine Michael — Rodgers is being paid to throw (and run the football) not hand it off. Let Rodgers continue to throw, throw and throw some more.

    Secondly, Christine Michael has been cut four different times in three seasons. He was ripped apart by Seattle brass for not knowing the playbook (multiple times) — he couldn’t cut it behind the best offensive line in the league last year in Dallas. Washington found nothing for him but a spot on their practice squad and the only reason he ever saw a snap with Seattle was due to the fact that every RB on the roster went down with an injury. There’s a reason he’s been cut this many times — he’s not very good.

    Rob, how is Green Bay going to establish a run game when their defense is constantly putting the offense in holes? How is Christine Michael going to help this when he isn’t effective in the screen/pass game? How is Ty Montgomery any worse of an option than Michael?

    The NFL is a passing league — you don’t need a run game to be successful.

    1. Kato November 26, 2016

      Passing the ball 85% of the time is winning football. Hah, that’s adorable

  4. NachoDan November 26, 2016

    Packers could of had Marshawn Lynch. Think how that would of changed the NFC Ted.

    1. Big Gay Clay November 27, 2016

      I still get irritated thinking about that.

      1. icebowl November 28, 2016

        Ditto…..
        TT claimed Beastmode was done..

  5. Kj November 27, 2016

    Ugh!! I was so pissed when Thompson passed on Lynch. We might ve been in at least 1 more Super Bowl for sure. Thanks for reminding me of that. Oh well,have to remember it’s not life,it’s entertainment.