Follow The Trend: Running Back Corps Short But Still Deep

With news that Johnathan Franklin has been released, the Packers find themselves once again bitten by the edinjury bug before the season even begins. This is probably the last hesitation for fans who for the most part have truly begun to believe that this coming season could be special. But this running back corps is deep even though it will be short one rising fan favorite before training camp. Hang in there Packers fans, there’s hope:

This is a Packers running back group that is deeper than it was in the past. Franklin will be missed but James Starks and DuJuan Harris are ready to step in for their lost team-mate. Of course, both of these guys have had injury problems of their own but their role now will be to spell Lacy, not carry the load so it should be a symbiotic relationship: Starks and Harris spell Lacy to keep him fresh down the stretch, and with Lacy carrying the bulk of the load, the injury prone can watch the Hammer take away some of their risk. 

Eddie Lacy

OK…get this, last year’s offensive Rookie of the Year says the game has slowed down for him. That is a natural progression for a second year back but it can’t be good news to anyone called upon to bring Lacy down this coming season. This guy will stay hungry year in and year out and we can expect some highlight reels…especially with the strength of our passing game and our best in the business qb, Aaron Rodgers.

Lacy ended last season gutting out an ankle injury. This says so much for the character of a running back. Ankle injuries are painful and as a running back, the ankle is strained by rotational torque EVERY time he carries the ball. Lacy didn’t just stick it out but was productive…The question remains though, what would happen if we kept him fresh and healthy moving toward playoff time next year?

Packers would love to see it and defenders…well…NOT! Eddie Lacy delivers blows as well as any running back in the league and while I see him as less reckless than Adrian Peterson was his rookie year…he is more angry than Peterson was. The Punisher returns to make defenses pay. Low and angry is a recipe for success in NFL backfields.

James Starks

starksAnybody else remember how glad we were to have James Starks come on during the Super Bowl run in 2010 (well, mostly 2011 by year)? I do, and Starks looked good again until injured (again) last season. But Starks’ MCL issue should be behind him and he should be ready to go. As stated above…the guy can’t seem to stay healthy enough to carry the load but as a back who spells Eddie Lacy, he could be very valuable.

Add to that the mileage Starks could take off Eddie Lacy for use down the stretch and Starks has a chance to be one of the unsung heroes of the 2014 season.

 

DuJuan Harris

Reports out of Milwaukee have said that Harris is fully recovered from his knee injury and at about a year removed…he will be ready to work his way back into action. But until the pads go back on and the hitting commences, we will have to wait and see. The good thing is that Harris is not expected to go after the starting spot (that clearly belongs to Lacy) and the coaches will be able to manage his reps. If they do it right, and Harris doesn’t have any psychological setbacks, he could be another option to spell Lacy and a plug and play back if called upon. This guy is not new to our system and has had success in it. Here’s to him coming back full strength and getting some reps.

Gone but not forgotten

jfAnd last but not least. To Johnathan Franklin:

You are gone but not forgotten. All of us in Packernation feel for you on a very human level. Sorry about the way it all went down man. By now you know that Packers fans have their very hearts in their team. We are happy when you are happy, sad and angry when the chips are down. And when someone doesn’t get to fulfil their dream…we feel it with you. Godspeed to you in whatever endeavors your life’s journey carries you to next. One thing you have surely also learned about Green Bay Packer Nation is that they NEVER GIVE UP! Don’t give up, we all believe that great things are in store for you!

Go Pack!

 


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