GreenBay Packer Nation

Really, Really Cold in the Windy City

With air temps hovering around zero and wind chills possibly in the minus 20 range, the Packers versus Bears game this time around may take on a different tone than the Packers/Seahawks cold weather game last Sunday. If the wind is a factor, will the Packers be able to compensate with the run game? Aaron Rodgers is already dinged up, though the reports on the calf are promising , and will likely be more limited than he was against the Seahawks. The Packers will still need him to deliver the ball to a receiving group that may be without Jared Cook again…though Cook was a full participant in practice. I believe the short passing game will be important early, but I think this game will come down to who runs the ball better. 

The Packers 3-headed monster is developing

The Packers felt the loss when Eddie Lacy went down with an ankle injury. The sting was made worse by the fact that backup James Starks hurt his knee as well, and then the Packers went through a revolving door at the running back position. Ty Montgomery stepped up but was seen as a wide receiver filling a gap, Aaron Ripkowski was a blocking back and a guy that could squirt out of the backfield and catch a pass from time to time. And the Packers had a revolving door at running back, bringing in one after the other only to see them exit. All that has changed.

Ty Montgomery

Ty Montgomery is no longer a converted wide receiver…he is a running back…period. Montgomery has been money all the time he has been healthy in Green Bay and playing out of the backfield has been no different. Monty has speed and fluidity but has shown a remarkable ability to get skinny and hit a hole. Last Sunday against the Seahawks, he made a fantastic touchdown run dragging Seahawk defenders into the endzone…not the kind of thing one would think of as Montgomery’s forte. But with 40 and 41 yards rushing respectively in the last two games, Montgomery has proved consistency comes with carries. Add to that his 45 in the passing game against the Seahawks and you have the kind of player that will have defensive coordinators scratching their heads. Monty can stretch the defense side-to-side, he can catch everything thrown to him, and now we know he can find holes up the middle, this is the main head of the three-headed monster.

Aaron Ripkowski

Aaron Ripkowski had his work cut out for him with the Green Bay Packers. For starters, he was responsible for the exit of John Kuhn…not a good start. But Rip has become a true player and one that Aaron Rodgers has had some high praise for of late. With the ability to get a couple yards when the offense needs it, and lately showing that he has a nose for the endzone, Rip has proven that he can carry the load. As a lead blocker, Rip brings the wood and he can catch out of the backfield as well. Aaron Ripkowski has become a fan favorite in his own right…now, we just need a chant-able name!

Add Aaron Ripkowski with both his run ability on the quick hitter, as well as his ability as a lead blocker and the only thing you need is a traditional back to run behind him.

Christine Michael

Christine Michael may be just the traditional running back that the Packers need down the stretch. After a miscue in the Seahawks game, Michael knows he has to get his stuff together if he wants to stay on the field. Michael is only averaging 3.0 yards per carry with the Pack but he has not had a chance even to get in a rhythm during a game. Michael averaged 4.0 a carry with the Seahawks before they let him go upon the return of Thomas Rawls. Rawls had 67 yards against the Packers last Sunday but had Michael not had his miscue, he might have been over 50 by the time all was said and done.

The good news is that the Packers don’t have to rely on Michael to carry the load down the stretch, they can sprinkle him in and hopefully when he gets his feet under him, he becomes a strong component of the three-headed monster. Michael is still a question mark but he has potential, and in the game agains the Bears, with the weather being what it is, he may have a few extra opportunities to show his stuff. Michael is progressing.

So the Packers, when they need a running game, now have one. With Aaron Rodgers dinged up, the Bears game is the perfect opportunity to use this new running game to our advantage and help Aaron get the injury under control. If we can do that against the Bears, I like our chances against both the Vikings and the Lions.

Go Pack!