Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Please Don't Feed Cedric Benson The Ball

This isn't something that's going to have a major impact on the Packers' offense, over the first four games they've attempted 157 passes (not including sacks) and rushed the ball only 88 times, but it was discouraging to see offensive coordinator Tom Clements say this bit of conventional wisdom:
“He’s a workhorse and when he touches the ball, the more he touches it, the better he gets,” said Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements on Monday of Benson. “We’d like to work those other guys in there if the opportunity presents itself but you try to get (Benson) the ball to get him going.” 
This looks like a corollary of The Establishment Clause (a.k.a. establish the run). Teams don't run to win, they run when they are winning. He may look better as he approaches the 20th carry mark because it probably means his team is winning.

I view more touches as an opportunity for more fumbles, which was something that almost cost them against the Seahawks. RB Cedric Benson is a strong runner who is probably the best back on the roster at fighting through tackles. His 53% success rate is the 10th best according to Football Outsiders but they only rank him as the 17th best back overall. He's useful, but he's not going to make the offense that much better and the risk of fumbles is real.

Also, this would take RB Alex Green out of the mix and he has the potential to be an explosive player. He was eased back into action following his knee surgery, but he came close to breaking a couple runs during the preseason. He has upside that Benson doesn't have and he may even be a better running back right now, if he was given the opportunity. RB James Starks (when healthy) is a lot like Benson (strong runner) and neither back is a big play threat. Green could provide that element to the offense which has been lacking since RB Ryan Grant's 2009 season.

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