When the Green Bay Packers brought in Cedric Benson in hopes that the bruising back could boost their running game, it came as a surprise to many. The Packers rarely bring in players with legal issues, which is what made the addition so unusual. The hopes were Benson could bring something the team didn’t have in the past 2 seasons, a 1,000 yard rusher.
The Benson experiment didn’t get off to a great start in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. Going against the top run defense in the league last year, Benson carried the ball 9 times for a pedestrian 9 yards. It was so bad for Green Bay that their leading rusher was QB Aaron Rodgers who picked up 27 yards on the ground. Benson looked uncomfortable during the game, as he was never able to get into a rhythm and was quickly an afterthought in the game plan. While this is a passing team, they absolutely need a running game to make this offense a finely tuned machine. Going into Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, Benson made it clear that his 2 yards per carry against the 49ers was unacceptable and he needed to turn things around against the Bears, and that is exactly what he did.
Going against the team that took him 4th Overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, Benson punished the Bears early and often. After managing only 18 yards in Week 1, he had 18 yards in just the 1st quarter. Benson was strong on the ground for the Packers, carrying the ball 20 times for 81 yards, and helped open up the passing game for Aaron Rodgers late in the game. Benson also contributed in the passing game, something people questioned if he could still do as he nears his 30’s. Benson was targeted 4 times on Thursday and caught every ball thrown his way, picking up 35 yards to give him 116 all purpose yards on the day. What Benson did for the Packers goes far beyond just picking up yards for Aaron Rodgers, it gave them a ground and pound style of attack they haven’t had since 2010. If Benson can keep up the pace he showed on Thursday it will open up the downfield throws for Aaron Rodgers and makes this Packers offense even more lethal than it was last season, and that is scary.