Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Some even argue he's the best quarterback playing right now. Even so, great quarterbacks always benefit from a good running game, and that's something Rodgers would like to benefit from as well, changing his tone from last season when he said of the running game on NFL Network, "Do we need to?"
"I just think it's better when we have balance for everybody," Rodgers said in a Q&A with Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, published Saturday. "It helps with the passing game. It slows down the rush. It gives us opportunities to have some more one-on-ones outside."
When asked to elaborate on how the absence of a legitimate running game has affected the offense, Rodgers elaborated further.
"It just hasn't given us the consistency that we need from that department. The ability to have a balance can give you those eight-man boxes and one-on-one matchups outside and open up some lanes for those guys. We usually win those one-on-one battles. When teams play more Cover 2 and match up or go three over two and trust their front four to not only stop the run but get after the passer, that really makes our job difficult."
Basically, Rodgers is acknowledging a simple truth in football. You can win with a great one-dimensional offense, but it's a helluva lot easier to just win with a great balanced attack.
For too long, teams have been able to bank on the Packers not running the football, and that's just not how you win games deep in the playoffs. The easiest route to a Super Bowl is by keeping the opponent off balance. That doesn't mean the run is used to open up the pass, quite the opposite in fact. The Packers need to be able to open the run up with the pass, and once the running game is going well, passing lanes become even wider, making life much easier on the entire team. That's what Rodgers is looking for, and there's no reason the Packers won't be able to attain some sort of of balance this time around.