Packers claim Christine Michael in effort to boost running game

ByRob Demovsky ESPN logo
Thursday, November 17, 2016

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Coach Mike McCarthy wants the Packers to be more balanced on offense. He might finally have a running back who can make that happen.

The Packers on Tuesday claimed former Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael off waivers. Seattle had cut Michael on Tuesday.

Green Bay is the only NFL team without a rushing touchdown by a running back this season. Although Michael's career in Seattle, which bookended a brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys, was considered a disappointment, the 2013 second-round pick has better numbers this season than any of the Packers' running backs.

In nine games with the Seahawks this season, Michael had 469 yards on 117 carries (a 4.0-yard average) and six rushing touchdowns.Eddie Lacy, who hasn't played in a month and is on injured reserve because of an ankle injury, remains Green Bay's leading rusher with 360 yards on 71 carries.

The Minnesota Vikings(5-4) also put in waiver claim for Michael, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter, but Green Bay (4-5) was higher in the waiver order.

James Starks led the Packers with 33 rushing yards on seven carries Sunday in a loss at the Tennessee Titans. It was Starks' first game since his Oct. 16 knee surgery. Ty Montgomery, a converted receiver, has been the Packers' leading rusher in two games this season.

Michael is the second running back the Packers have acquired from another team this season. They traded for Knile Davis last month but cut him after two weeks, which meant they did not have to give the Kansas City Chiefs any compensation in return.

Davis had just five rushes for 5 yards in the two games for Green Bay.

Michael probably won't arrive at team headquarters until late Wednesday or early Thursday, so he won't have much practice time before the Sunday night game at Washington.

Green Bay put Don Jackson, an undrafted rookie who has 10 carries for 32 yards, on injured reserve Wednesday. Jackson was inactive Sunday versus Tennessee, but the team never listed any injury for him.

The Packers badly need a rushing threat to balance their offense. They have thrown on 71.4 percent of their offensive plays this season, the highest of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' career. Rodgers is the only player on the Packers' roster with a rushing touchdown this season.

"I always want to run the ball more, but I also want to throw it 55 times a game too," McCarthy said Wednesday, several hours before the claim for Michael reportedly went through. "That's the way games are. You have to run the football. Everything starts with running the football. You can't extend your offensive line and your pass-protection unit the way we have. Running the football is very important for a number of different reasons." first reported the news of Michael's claim by Green Bay.

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