Pack looks for backs to step up

Updated: August 13, 2007, 1:31 PM ET
By Ken Moll
The Packers are going into what might be future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre's last season without a true go-to running back. And that could be what keeps the Packers from making the postseason.

Ahman Green was Green Bay's mainstay for years but is now in Houston, leaving unproven backs Vernand Morency and Brandon Jackson to carry the load. With all the accolades that Favre has racked up over the years, his most impressive and productive seasons came when the Green Bay ground attack was effective and Green was the heart and soul of that running attack, posting over 1,000 yards rushing and averaging better than four yards per carry in six of his seven seasons. The one year he didn't reach that mark, he was injured and played just five games. With the departure of the 10-year veteran, there is some apprehension about how well the Green Bay offense with fare without Green.

The Packers' front office has seen flashes of effectiveness in Morency during his short time in Green Bay. He rushed for 434 yards on 96 attempts and averaged 4.5 yards per carry last year and is slated to be the starter entering his third season in the league. Still, he's never had to carry the load for an entire season and the question is whether he can handle three times as many carries as he had last year. The Green Bay offense is based on a West Coast air attack along with a hard-nosed zone ground game and it's uncertain if the Packers have a hard-nosed back right now. Both Morency and the rookie Jackson have the same physique (both are 5-foot-10, 212 pounds) and running styles. Where Green was a downhill, one-cut power runner with excellent inline vision, both Morency and Jackson tend to be more elusive with less power to move the pile. That lack of power may come back to haunt the Packers late in the season when power running is a must in bad weather.