Green Bay Packers: With a Suddenly Thin Running Back Corps, Packers Will Look to go Green in the Following Weeks
The Green Bay Packers of Sunday Night Football looked more like the Packers of 2011, albeit with a better defense, in their 42-24 victory over the Houston Texans in what many were calling a must-win game for the Pack. But that must won game had unfortuante developments, with the Packers losing inside linebacker DJ Smith and another running back in Brandon Saine, and the Packers have already lost Cedric Benson.
Now, the Packers will be relying upon second-year running back Alex Green, who is coming off of an ACL injury in his rookie season coming out of Hawaii. Green got the nod over third-year man James Starks, who has missed time with a turf toe injury and is in need of more game-time action to get up to speed.
The Baltimore Ravens' lost player count has been upped to three. And two of them both came in the Ravens' narrow victory against the Dallas Cowboys.
First, it was outside linebacker Terell Suggs in the off-season, who hopes to be back by November. Then, it was cornerback Ladarius Webb with an ACL tear, and then it was Ray Lewis with a season-ending torn triceps injury. Add in a struggling Ravens defense that is now devoid of its biggest playmakers, and the outlook going forward looks like it may be changing soon.
For so long, the identity of this team has been its hard hitting, stout defense. But teams have been able to run the ball on them, and the secondary has been inconsistent at times. Now, it will all fall on one guy: Joe Flacco.
After getting through the first quarter of the season with the Texans and the Ravens riding high at the top of their divisions, both have suddenly been grounded, in more ways than one.
First, the Texans lost Pro-Bowl and defensive captain Brian Cushing for the season with a torn ACL and got pounded by the Packers 42-24 the following week in their own stadium. The Ravens, while they did defeat the Dallas Cowboys 31-29, they lost All-Pro and future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis for the season with a torn triceps injury that also threatens to end his tenure in the NFL.
Both the Texans and the Ravens will undoubtedly miss these players, as both play integral parts in their respective defenses as both leaders and by their play. But which unit will be most impacted?
It's become a given that without good play of your quarterback, it's tough to win in this league, let alone win a Super Bowl. Teams are constantly scouring the NFL Draft every year for the next best thing. For now, it seems as though the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins have found their answers in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, respectively.
But others look throughout the league for younger, non-rookie quarterbacks that will take less time to develop than most rookies, and some find success. The Cowboys did with Tony Romo, and the Texans did with Matt Schaub. This begs the question: what other possible quarterbacks are out there that have starting potential with other teams? Here are five that could help jumpstart a franchise:
1. Ryan Mallet - New England Patriots
Coming off of a regular season where the Gren Bay Packers set records for both their stellar offensive performance with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and bad records with their 32nd ranked defense, people expected the defensive struggles thanks to the number of rookies and young players having to contribute.
People didn't expect the huge struggle from an offense that lost only its starting center in Scott Wells, yet replaced it with a well respected veteran in Jeff Saturday. Add in the defensive inconsistencies, and you have a Packers team that is surprinsingly sitting in third place behind the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.
At first, the Packers at least addressed their running game by signing Cedric Benson, who, as he was getting into a groove, injured his foot and will be gone for the next eight weeks. Add in the lack of Greg Jennings at receiver due to a groin injury and an offensive line that has regressed. It hasn't helped that the Packers have had a rigorous beginning to their schedule and have been unable to answer the call.