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Offline MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 2:18:04 PM(UTC)
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Jason Wilde wrote:
GREEN BAY — DuJuan Harris is hoping to be part of the 1-2 running back punch with Eddie Lacy next year that the two were supposed to be this year.

Harris entered training camp as the Green Bay Packers starting running back, coach Mike McCarthy had insisted, but a right knee injury that had sidelined him all offseason recurred in his preseason debut, landing him on injured reserve.

Harris said at midseason that there was fluid on the knee and irritation of the patellar tendon but no structural damage found when he underwent surgery in August, which is a good sign for a full return to action when the offseason program and organized team activities kick off in spring.

"If they would've needed me last night, I'd have switched jerseys with somebody if I needed to," Harris said as the Packers players cleared out their lockers Monday, one day after their season-ending 23-20 NFC Wild Card Playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.

"I can run. I can outrun a lot of the guys in this league right now. my test is going to be getting it at top speed and then stopping all of a sudden. Once I get that down, I know [the] things I can do."

While Lacy rushed for a Packers rookie record 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns in essentially 14 games — he added 21 carries for 81 yards in Sunday's loss to the 49ers — No. 2 running back James Starks, who carried 89 times for 493 yards (5.5-yard average) and three touchdowns, is an unrestricted free agent and rookie fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin suffered a season-ending neck injury after contributing little (19 carries, 107 yards) in his first season.

The door would certainly be open for Harris, who was the Packers' lone productive running back in 2012, to have a role. After his promotion to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, Harris carried 34 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season, then added 28 carries for 100 yards and two more TDs in the playoffs. He also caught two passes for 17 yards in the regular season and seven passes for 64 yards in the playoffs.

"It's going to be interesting for people to tune into it," Harris said of 2014. "Hopefully Starks comes back, hopefully I come back. None of us knows what's going to go on this offseason. There could be some surprises. Every year there's some surprises. We've just got to bust our butts. Hopefully everyone's healthy and we're a force to be reckoned with."
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Offline blueleopard  
#2 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 2:47:22 PM(UTC)
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Starks was simply fantastic this year, but if he gets too expensive, I wouldn't mind going into next season with Lacy, Harris, and Franklin in the backfield.
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Offline sschind  
#3 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:12:53 PM(UTC)
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If Starks leaves Harris will get his chance. We all know Lacy isn't going anywhere and I doubt Franklin is either so that leaves Harris and Starks. Will the Packers keep 4 RBs next year? Who knows. If they go into next season with Lacy, Starks, Franklin and Harris I'll be more than fine with it. If they decide to go with Lacy, Harris, and Franklin that would be OK as well.

I know players don't always say the right things and I'm sure lots of times they don't mean what they say but you gotta at least give Harris credit for saying "Hopefully Starks is back" Its is Starks is his biggest threat to making the team.
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Offline DakotaT  
#4 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:17:54 PM(UTC)
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Packers won't be able to afford Starks, and Harris makes him expendable. I think our bases are covered. Besides, having 4 capable running backs is an unnecessary luxury when obvious glaring holes exist elsewhere on the roster.
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Offline sschind  
#5 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:26:26 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
Packers won't be able to afford Starks, and Harris makes him expendable. I think our bases are covered. Besides, having 4 capable running backs is an unnecessary luxury when obvious glaring holes exist elsewhere on the roster.


You are probably right about affording Starks and its a luxury for sure but I wouldn't say unnecessary. Having 3 capable backups is ALWAYS a good thing if it doesn't hamper your salary cap.
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Offline DoddPower  
#6 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:29:57 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: sschind Go to Quoted Post
You are probably right about affording Starks and its a luxury for sure but I wouldn't say unnecessary. Having 3 capable backups is ALWAYS a good thing if it doesn't hamper your salary cap.


That's the problem though. It very likely WILL impact the salary cap. I think the Packers need two dependable borderline #1 running backs given Lacy's physical running style. I would love to see Starks back, but I think Harris and Franklin could get it done. Starks will likely be too expensive, although I'm sure the Packers could afford to keep him if they really wanted to. It may be a wise decision. I really doubt Starks will be incredibly expensive, but who knows. Given how cheap Harris and Franklin probably are, it's not a bad idea. But still, keeping four RBs and a FB is a little excessive on a team with many needs.

Offline rabidgopher04  
#7 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:35:10 PM(UTC)
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DuJuan Harris? Oh yeah. I forgot about that guy.
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Offline beast  
#8 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:37:30 PM(UTC)
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I want another physical RB behind Lacy, in case something happens to Lacy.

Yes they got Harris and Franklin but both of them were on the IR and can you trust and count on them that they won't again?

but some interesting names out there if Packers are willing to grab anyone in FA (I doubt it at RB).


Toby Gerhart, Vikings ~ Packers fans really say he's poor and only a back-up but he's flashed some really good games and has been behind AP so could he be a very good back-up or even a starter on another team? I think it's possible. Also his brother is a Center on the Packers practice squad.

Rashad Jennings, Raiders~ i got a feeling the Raiders are going to try to resign him. Jennings is a guy I've like since he was in the draft and I wanted the Packers to draft him. Got drafted to the Jags and didn't really get to show anything with Maurice Jones-Drew there. Went to the Raiders flashed some potential.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jags ~ He'll only be 29... of course 29 is old for a RB, and he'll probably be looking for big money and want to be starter.

Darren McFadden, Raiders ~ Very talented but very injury prone... might do him some good being a back-up though, if no one throws big money his way who knows...


Though i see resigning Starks as more likely or grabbing someone in the draft.
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Offline steveishere  
#9 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 3:57:30 PM(UTC)
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Rashad Jennings I think is a really good back but I think the Raiders are going to re sign him to be their starter. I wanted us to draft Gerhart and I like him but I think someone will over pay him. Pass on McFadden. Out of all those I'd rather keep Starks but I won't be surprised if he gets a good offer from someone. I think Harris and Franklin have shown enough ability that they'd be adequate back ups. We don't need to over pay for a RB behind Lacy, I don't see it as a big enough priority. I think we just keep the guys we've got.
Offline luigis  
#10 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 4:20:45 PM(UTC)
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Lacy, Harris and Starks will be a very good group of RBs.

I don't see Jonathan Franklin making the roster next year regardless of what happens with Starks and Harris.

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Offline beast  
#11 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 4:25:26 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: luigis Go to Quoted Post
I don't see Jonathan Franklin making the roster next year regardless of what happens with Starks and Harris.


Why not? He showed a lot of potential in the Bengals game tons of quickly and showed he was willing to pass block and was surprising good at it. He's the 3rd down back of Packers future (I think).

It will be like having a second Cobb but this one stays in the back field. Heck after Franklin gets Rb down I wouldn't mind if they also taught him the slot position.
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Offline luigis  
#12 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 5:24:01 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: beast Go to Quoted Post
Why not? He showed a lot of potential in the Bengals game tons of quickly and showed he was willing to pass block and was surprising good at it. He's the 3rd down back of Packers future (I think).

It will be like having a second Cobb but this one stays in the back field. Heck after Franklin gets Rb down I wouldn't mind if they also taught him the slot position.


I hope to be (very) wrong but I don't see Franklin playing in the NFL.
Besides that game against the Bengals the coaches didn't trust him to be in the field when he was healthy.
I think he played very soft but as I said before I would love to be wrong.
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Offline macbob  
#13 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 5:38:00 PM(UTC)
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Franklin hasn't been through a full offseason of conditioning, etc yet. I'm withholding judgment until after training camp.

I would be surprised, though, if we draft a running back again this year...
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Offline luigis  
#14 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 5:45:27 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: macbob Go to Quoted Post
Franklin hasn't been through a full offseason of conditioning, etc yet. I'm withholding judgment until after training camp.

I would be surprised, though, if we draft a running back again this year...


Franklin and Lacy had the same offseason, conditioning, etc. So I would say there's a lot to judge from what we have seen so far.
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Offline beast  
#15 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 7:10:37 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: luigis Go to Quoted Post
Franklin and Lacy had the same offseason, conditioning, etc. So I would say there's a lot to judge from what we have seen so far.


I hope you realize that comparison is pretty off as there is a lot of difference between them...

Lacy was already a complete back where Franklin is project for the coaches and they haven't had a full offseason with him yet.

Lacy is a physical back already and some said he would of been a 1st round pick if there was no injury concerns. Where Franklin is a speed/quickness back where he has to get used to more physicalness and used to having defenses faster... where that doesn't matter with Lacy but he's used to not using only his speed/quickness but some physical as well.


Some guys are going to need little adjustments into the NFL where others are going to need a lot.
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Offline DoddPower  
#16 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 7:13:22 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: beast Go to Quoted Post
I hope you realize that comparison is pretty off as there is a lot of difference between them...

Lacy was already a complete back where Franklin is project for the coaches and they haven't had a full offseason with him yet.

Lacy is a physical back already and some said he would of been a 1st round pick if there was no injury concerns. Where Franklin is a speed/quickness back where he has to get used to more physicalness and used to having defenses faster... where that doesn't matter with Lacy but he's used to not using only his speed/quickness but some physical as well.


Some guys are going to need little adjustments into the NFL where others are going to need a lot.


Yeah, that was a silly comparison.

Offline nerdmann  
#17 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 7:23:24 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: luigis Go to Quoted Post
Lacy, Harris and Starks will be a very good group of RBs.

I don't see Jonathan Franklin making the roster next year regardless of what happens with Starks and Harris.



I see Franklin as the next Tony Dorsett, assuming his neck injury isn't career ending.

I don't think this staff likes Starks, for whatever reason. I love Starks, but the coaches don't seem to think very highly of him imo.
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Offline sschind  
#18 Posted : Monday, January 6, 2014 11:51:04 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: nerdmann Go to Quoted Post
I see Franklin as the next Tony Dorsett, assuming his neck injury isn't career ending.

I don't think this staff likes Starks, for whatever reason. I love Starks, but the coaches don't seem to think very highly of him imo.


I'm not sure I agree about them not liking Starks but it looks like they may be higher on Harris. Personally, if it came down to the two, I'd rather see them cut Harris and give Starks whatever money they would be paying him. It may not be enough to make a difference but anyone who says they would rather have Harris over Starks as the #2 man given what Starks has done this year is an idiot. I'm talking from a position aspect and not from a salary cap aspect of course. I'd much rather have Lacy, Starks, Franklin over Lacy, Harris, Franklin even if it mean an extra million or 2 a year.
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Offline nerdmann  
#19 Posted : Tuesday, January 7, 2014 6:52:58 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: sschind Go to Quoted Post
I'm not sure I agree about them not liking Starks but it looks like they may be higher on Harris. Personally, if it came down to the two, I'd rather see them cut Harris and give Starks whatever money they would be paying him. It may not be enough to make a difference but anyone who says they would rather have Harris over Starks as the #2 man given what Starks has done this year is an idiot. I'm talking from a position aspect and not from a salary cap aspect of course. I'd much rather have Lacy, Starks, Franklin over Lacy, Harris, Franklin even if it mean an extra million or 2 a year.


If Harris can really be a Sproles type guy, that's awesome. I just have a small body of work to go on.

Dude needs to prove it to me. Unlike Starks. I feel like we know what we have with him. Could want to start somewhere tho.
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Offline sschind  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, January 7, 2014 10:37:08 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: nerdmann Go to Quoted Post
If Harris can really be a Sproles type guy, that's awesome. I just have a small body of work to go on.

Dude needs to prove it to me. Unlike Starks. I feel like we know what we have with him. Could want to start somewhere tho.


Exactly. Starks should have erased most of if not all of the doubt people had about him this year. He was injured for a few games so that doubt may still linger but any doubts about his ability should be gone.

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Offline gbguy20  
#21 Posted : Tuesday, January 7, 2014 11:26:15 AM(UTC)
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whats the thought process behind starks not being affordable? i mean, obviously he is a luxury and in that it makes him expendable, but what makes people think he expects a big contract? he did nothing more than play a backup role this season and in training camp he was most peoples' pick for not making the team.
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Offline sschind  
#22 Posted : Tuesday, January 7, 2014 1:00:09 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: gbguy20 Go to Quoted Post
whats the thought process behind starks not being affordable? i mean, obviously he is a luxury and in that it makes him expendable, but what makes people think he expects a big contract? he did nothing more than play a backup role this season and in training camp he was most peoples' pick for not making the team.


I think the thought process is that at 5.5 YPC he may have caught the eye of some other team that may offer him more than the Packers are willing to pay.

Maybe affordable is not the right word to be using as they could easily sign him if they wanted and it wouldn't hurt their cap position too much.

He played a backup role but it was big. 100 yards in one game. a 5.5 YPC average. As far as being everyone choice to be cut last season so what. If a guy is your choice to be cut and he has a great year does that mean you still should cut him. A lot can change in a year.

I see James Jones and James Starks in the same boat. Both have played important roles and both are more than capable of stepping up and playing more than a backup role if need be but they may become victims of crowded positions and perceived over value. It seems that a lot of people look at a team as a bunch of high priced starters and the rest a bunch of minimum wage backups. IMO however, if you want quality depth you have to pay for it.

Jones made about 3.75 million last year and I think he earned it. If they can get him to go for another deal worth around 3.5 to 4 million per year I say go for it. As for Starks, he earned every bit of his 655 thousand dollars and I say he is worth a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million per year especially since they have Lacy relatively cheap for the next 2 years (771K and 925K) If he keeps up production they will give him an extension and his 1 mill number in 2016 will certainly go up. For the next two years however spending 4 to 4.5 million on a very good group of RBs is something I could live with. D. Harris is also a FA after next year.

I wonder what everyone else thinks these guys would be worth?
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