The Seattle Seahawks stunned pretty much everyone when they released their leading rusher, Christine Michael, on Tuesday.
People probably shouldn’t be that stunned. In is four-year NFL career, Michael has been traded by Seattle (to Dallas), cut by both the Cowboys and Redskins and now cut by the Seahawks for the trifecta.
The Seahawks are kicking Michael to the curb this time because Thomas Rawls is returning from injury.
Now, all of that being said, the Green Bay Packers are terrible at running the football right now. They barely even try and when they do, they don’t get very far. That was increasingly the case when Mike McCarthy decided to hand the No. 1 job to James Starks last week, even though Ty Montgomery is clearly the best running back on the active roster.
Starks is averaging just 2.4 yards per carry this season. Montgomery is averaging 5.3, but who cares about statistical analysis when you’re the Green Bay Packers?
Clearly, Starks started the season ahead of Montgomery on the running back depth chart, so that’s where he needs to be when he’s healthy. Just ask Mike McCarthy.
Nonetheless, the Packers’ running game is devolving into a nonexistent entity.
That said, you might be surprised to look at the statistics. The Packers are still averaging 102.4 yards per game, which ranks them 19th in the league. The ranking isn’t exciting, but the fact that they are over 100 yards is almost stunning.
How are they doing that, you ask? Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is now accounting for an increasing percentage of that total.
But quarterback scrambles a running game does not make.
Could Michael help the Packers achieve some balance?
Maybe, if they actually give him the ball. Michael has run for 469 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Those numbers would lead the Packers, especially the latter one. The Packers’ only rushing touchdowns this season have come courtesy of Rodgers.
This wouldn’t be a solution to all of the offensive woes, however. Michael is averaging a decent, not great, 4.0 yards per carry.
By comparison, Eddie Lacy was averaging 5.1 per carry before he went down.
On the bright side, while Michael isn’t Lacy, the Packers do have a much better offensive line than the Seahawks. At least when they’re healthy.
So two questions remain.
Since Michael will have to go through waivers, would the Packers have a chance at him? Interestingly, the majority of teams with fewer rushing yards per game than the Packers actually have better records than they do.
The exceptions are the Rams (4-5), Jaguars (2-7), Steelers (4-5), Colts (4-5), Browns (0-10) and Bears (2-7). The Rams and Steelers aren’t in the running back market.
Would the Packers actually make a claim?
Knowing Ted Thompson, we doubt it. He wouldn’t want to upset the delicate roster balance with — gasp! — an outsider!
On the other hand, this season is starting to look like a dumpster fire, so what do you have to lose? It isn’t as if McCarthy is suddenly going to give Don Jackson 25 carries in a game.