Josh Sitton hasn’t been shy about his stance on running the football.
The Green Bay Packers starting left guard has talked for weeks about the need for the struggling offense to rely more on ground game. In Sitton’s mind, the blueprint should be running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks getting a combined 30 carries per game.
Green Bay’s two best offensive performances in the second half of the season came when that exact scenario plays out. Lacy and Starks combined for 30 carries for 114 yards in a 30-13 win over Minnesota on Nov. 22 and then 35 carries for 195 yards against Dallas on Dec. 13.
The Packers started Sunday’s game against the Vikings in power personnel. It worked on the first series when Green Bay ran 15 plays for 70 yards, ending in a Mason Crosby field goal. The lack of a deep threat allowed Minnesota adjust and load the box, holding Lacy and Starks to 21 carries for 58 yards for the game.
“We've just got to be able to get Eddie and James 30, 30-plus carries,” Sitton said. “And when we can do that I think we can be successful. Obviously, some games dictate otherwise. I think to be successful we've got to be able to do that.”
The Packers finished the regular season 12th in rushing with 115.6 yards per game, though some of that production came from quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambling for 344 yards. It’s still been more effective than the passing offense, which finished the lowest it has in 24 years.
Green Bay needs to find an answer quick. Its offense has scored only 21 points the past two weeks and Rodgers has been 13 times in those two games. Lacy's up-and-down season and Starks' fumbling issues have caused some uncertainty in the backfield, but the two still combined for 1,938 total yards. That's only roughly a yard fewer yards tahn a season ago (2,039).