The news about Johnathan Franklin was stunning and devastating.
Even without Franklin, the Packers’ running back position still appears to have plenty of promise. There is a Rookie of the Year returning in Eddie Lacy and a guy that tore up the postseason en route to a Super Bowl title in James Starks.
But with Franklin’s career-ending injury, DuJuan Harris is a guy that the Packers really need to produce.
Harris injured his knee last August on a screen pass against the Seahawks and was subsequently placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Harris and Starks are easily comparable. Both are compact and hard-charging runners. Both have decent speed and both don’t shy away from getting or laying a hit.
But the difference is that Harris has plenty of tread left on his tires. He only has 43 carries entering his fourth season as opposed to Starks who’s got 322 carries entering his fifth season.
Starks has been riddled with injury problems his entire football playing career. Whether it’s the knee, turf toe, both shoulders, hamstring, or an ankle, he has seen his fair share of pain.
Which is why Harris needs to assert himself in training camp and make a case to be the No. 2 running back. Fans fell in love with Harris’ story in 2012. Before he was signed in October he was just an ordinary car salesman.
And the Packers could use a solid complement to Lacy, who cannot be expected to maintain his workload from a year ago. While Lacy does have a nice spin move, he is a straight-up runner and is a big target for defenders.
But it’s all up to Harris’ knee and his psyche. If his knee feels well, but he has reservations about getting hit or potentially injuring it again, then he will never unseat Starks.
However, if he runs confidently like he did in 2012 when he averaged 4.6 yards a carry on 34 rushing attempts, he will be spelling Lacy soon.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn