Adam Schefter is the latest pundit to chime in on the Marshawn Lynch-to-the-Packers rumors.
Green Bay has to do something at running back, and I think the organization recognizes it. It knows it can’t rely on Brandon Jackson as its workhorse from now through the playoffs, assuming it makes them. Green Bay will continue looking for a trade, and Lynch makes as much sense as anybody. But the problem is, teams have been trying to pry away Lynch since the off-season and so far, Buffalo hasn’t budged.
This has been something of a hot topic of late, so I thought I’d enlist the help of our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, and try to come to some sort of conclusion about whether or not the Packers should trade for Lynch.
JP: Anthony, these rumors have been out there for a while, and given Buffalo’s situation (sucky) and the fact that they have three pretty good running backs, it makes a lot of sense that they would move him for a draft pick to help their rebuilding process. Lynch is 24 years old, has a career 4.0 ypc, decent hands out of the backfield and has had several run-ins (hit and run, misdemeanor gun charge) with the police. Given the fact that the Broncos gave up a 4th rounder for Laurence Maroney, what type of draft pick is Lynch worth in your opinion?
AS: One of our readers recently took the time to compare the career numbers between the two backs and they’re very similar. I would argue that Lynch still has more upside than Maroney, but given his off-field issues I would say no more than a 4th round pick. Keep in mind that every week the Packers or another team doesn’t pick up the phone to call Buffalo GM Buddy Nix is another week Nix loses leverage in a deal for Lynch. The trade deadline is quickly approaching and if the Bills want to move him, the time is now. If Ted Thompson or another GM makes it known that he’s fine with the backs that are currently on his roster, than Nix has no choice but to accept lesser value for Lynch. There’s no doubt that the Packers could use a back of his talent, but Thompson isn’t going to overpay. He never does.
JP: Ryan Grant was effective in the Packers’ running game because he made one cut and hit the hole extremely hard. Usually, he’d gain 2-3 yards, but occasionally he’d break through to the secondary and rattle off a 10- to 15-yard gain. Brandon Jackson doesn’t run the ball downhill, but he’s effective on deceptive runs (draws, inside handoffs, traps, etc.) and has very good hands out of the backfield. Would Lynch’s running style be effective given the Packers’ limitations in the running game?
AS: Lynch’s style is definitely more comparable to Grant’s than Jackson’s. When healthy, Lynch is a north-south runner who gets better as the game wears on. He’s the type of back that needs 20-25 carries a game in order to be completely effective, which may not work for a pass-first team like the Packers. That said, if Green Bay can use its passing game to build leads on opponents, then Lynch would be a perfect back to wear teams down in the second half and chew up the clock. Again, he has to stay healthy and sometimes that can be a problem with his reckless running style, but the short answer is yes, I think he would be a fit for the Packers. I think any back that can potentially wear on opponents would be a good fit for the Packers.
JP: As a Packer fan, I think the team can get by with a combination of Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn, especially if they do most of their running out of passing formations, utilizing Jackson’s ability in deceptive runs. I don’t understand why they bother with the I-formation when Grant isn’t there to hit the hole at 50 MPH. The Colts do enough damage in the running game with Joseph Addai, but they would never be mistaken for a power running team. However, I know it’s important to chew up four-yards a carry in the fourth quarter when you’re nursing a lead, and I don’t see Jackson or Kuhn doing that, so I wouldn’t mind a trade for Lynch, but not for a 2nd or 3rd rounder. The idea of a conditional 4th that could turn into a 3rd if Lynch met certain playing time and productivity requirements sounds like it might be fair.
AS: I agree on all fronts. It was embarrassing to watch Julius Peppers build a small fort in the Packers’ backfield on Monday night and Green Bay do nothing about it. Peppers was rushing up field virtually every snap and the Packers only ran the ball at him a handful of times. The best way to beat a speed rusher is to run the ball directly at them because they create their own running lanes with their aggressiveness. Yet there Peppers was, setting up camp in Rodgers’ backfield all night. Granted, the Bears did a nice job moving him around, but that’s why offenses have audibles – so that they can adjust to what the defense is doing. Some Buffalo fans appear to be delusional about what their team can get for Lynch right now. I agree that a fourth that could turn into a third based on playing time and productivity is more than fair. Because the Bills aren’t going to get more than a 3rd rounder for him and the Packers shouldn’t pay more than that either, especially if he doesn’t produce.
JP: Get Ted Thompson and Buddy Nix on the line! I think we have a deal!