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Cheese Curds, 12/2: Packers' offense is embracing the pass due to cloudy running back situation

Although Mike McCarthy has been criticized for clinging to the run too long in the past, he's actually been letting go of the concept of "offensive balance" more this season than ever before.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Green Bay Packers have long been a team that has relied on the arm of its quarterbacks to lead the offense, head coach Mike McCarthy has preached that his offense needs balance between the pass and the run to ensure an effective and productive unit. To that end, Aaron Rodgers has gone through a season averaging 35 pass attempts per game just once in his entire career - which he did last season. In fact,  he has typically been around 32.5 to 34 passes per game in most seasons.

This year, however, is a very different animal. Rodgers has attempted 449 passes in 11 games - an average of 40.8 attempts in each contest. That is a direct result of McCarthy's willingness to adapt his playcalling to suit the personnel issues facing the franchise. While the scheme has not changed significantly, the breakdown of run to pass has - as has been dictated by the injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks.

In today's Cheese Curds, we dig into this idea a bit deeper, examining the running game, the running backs on the roster, and how injuries have affected that breakdown of run to pass.

McCarthy breaks traditional play-calling model |
Mike has traditionally called around 65% passes to 35% runs in his time as the Packers' playcaller. However, for as much as we joke about his obsession with balance and running the ball a certain amount, he has adjusted to his personnel this season and is calling a 72/28 split instead.

Respect for 'Rip' remains on the rise |
Meanwhile, with Eddie Lacy out and James Starks running ineffectively, fullback Aaron Ripkowski has taken on a much larger role in his second year, and is getting a decent little share of those rushing attempts.

More for Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael? Packers want them involved - ESPN
Still, McCarthy says he would like to get his other playmakers involved. I struggle with a statement like that though, since Montgomery has not been given nearly enough opportunities to get him into the flow of the game since Starks' return to the lineup.

Packers give Aaron Rodgers lighter workload to rest hamstring - ESPN
Rodgers did a little less team work than usual on Thursday, and the Packers shifted some of their drills back from yesterday's practice over to Saturday. Thankfully, McCarthy still says that Rodgers' injury is not as serious as his calf injury from two years ago.

Ranking all 32 NFL receiving corps | PFF
The Packers slot in at 19th on this list. Davante Adams' progression was noted prominently here, and he has gone from 1.3 yards per pass route run in the first five games up to 1.8 since.

Missed call mars Vikings' attempt to force overtime -
The Vikings needed a two-point conversion inside of 30 seconds left to tie the game last night against the Cowboys, and although Sam Bradford's pass fell incomplete, he was hit hard in the face by Cedric Thornton - a textbook example of a play that should have been flagged in today's NFL. Somehow, neither official in the backfield saw the hit, and the Vikings fell to 6-6.

Joe McKnight killed in Louisiana shooting -
This is a tragic end for the former USC running back, who once tried out for the Packers a few years ago. Police have said that the shooting was a result of a road rage incident and that McKnight was trying to apologize to the shooter.

Finally, let's give a certain Packers player some congrats on turning 33 years old!