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MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:05:38 AM(UTC)
Jason Wilde said:
GREEN BAY — Perhaps it will be, as Aaron Rodgers affectionately calls him, "The Used Car Salesman," who steps to the fore. Or maybe one of the rookies — second-round pick Eddie Lacy, or fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin — will prove ready from the jump. Or perhaps Alex Green, who had the misfortune of not recovering from his torn anterior cruciate ligament the way that Adrian Peterson fellow did, will be the player the coaches hoped he'd be last year. Or maybe, just maybe, James Starks will put his long injury history behind him and manage to stay healthy, since the guy's been pretty good when he hasn't been hurt.

Or perhaps they will utilize some or all of them, playing to each of their strengths and proving that running back by committee can work if you have better talent on the committee.

Whatever happens, however it happens, this much is clear: The Green Bay Packers need someone — anyone — to step up and be the kind of running back that teams actually think might be worth paying attention to.

Because last year, no matter who was back there, defenses didn't.

"It had an effect," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said of the lack of a running threat. "In previous years, our action passing game was very productive. We hit some big shots down the field. And we didn't get the type of reaction on the run-fakes that we had gotten previously, when we were able to run the ball better. Hopefully we get that and they have to come up and stop it, and we get that reaction."

That will require more production than last season, when Green carried 135 times for 464 yards (3.4-yard average), Starks ran 71 times for 255 yards (3.6-yard average), veteran Cedric Benson ran 71 times for 248 yards (3.5-yard average) and Harris burst onto the scene late and ran 34 times for 127 yards (4.6 yard average).

At season's end, it was Harris — the same guy who'd been out of football and working at a Jacksonville car dealershipwhen the Packers called and added him to the practice squad on Oct. 24 — who was serving as the lead back and rushing 28 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs.

Although he ceded some of the built-in advantage as the quasi-incumbent by missing the entire offseason — first with an undisclosed injury, then after having a fist-size cyst surgically removed from his lung — the 5-foot-8, 203-pound Harris has at least one person in his corner as he prepares to battle Lacy, Franklin, Green and Starks for the No. 1 role.

"I love 'The Used Car Salesman.' I think he's a special player," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I think DuJuan Harris is an incredible combination of strength and agility for a man of his size, and I'm excited about seeing what he can do as a featured back.

"It's (also) been good having Johnathan and Eddie here. I think you're seen Alex Green and James Starks do some really good things this spring. It's going to be a tough competition for however many guys they keep at that spot."

The 5-11, 230-pound Lacy and the 5-10, 205-pound Franklin are vastly different players — Lacy should be fascinating to watch once the pads come on in training camp starting July 26, and Franklin's suddenness was impossible to miss in shorts and helmets — but both were able to carry the load as featured backs in college. Whether they get the chance to do that as rookies depends on how quickly they pick up the offense, including pass-blocking.

Even Rodgers, despite his affinity for Harris, sees potential in both.

"Both Johnathan and Eddie bring some different things to the table. Johnathan's a quick, athletic, loose-hipped guy who can make guys miss in the open field regularly, and Eddie is a power back who also has some agility," Rodgers explained. "You saw (Lacy) on some power runs, especially this spring, where he's been able to read his blocks and make guys miss. He's a very patient runner, which we haven't had here in awhile. I think you saw some of that with Cedric but really since Ahman (Green) was in his heyday, we haven't seen anyone be as patient back there.

"I think this training camp will be really important for him, to go from a high pick to a guy who can really be a difference-maker for us in the backfield. I think when he figures out the mental part of this, which I think he's getting closer, I think he could be a very talented back for us."

Rodgers recognizes that his life would be considerably easier if the running backs — alone or in unison — present a genuine threat to opposing defenses, as he believes Benson was starting to do when he suffered a season-ending foot injury last Oct. 7 at Indianapolis. The bottom line? Whoever is christened the No. 1 back will be vital to the offene's success.

"There's competition at that spot. No doubt," Clements said. "You've got James and Alex and DuJuan from last year, who came in and did well, and now you have the two rookie (draft picks) in the mix, and the free agent (Angelo Pease) as well, who's a good player. So it's a talented group, and it'll make our team better and that position better."
User is suspended until 4/29/2043 11:56:55 PM(UTC) texaspackerbacker  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:46:47 AM(UTC)
Quantity doesn't really help that much, though. What we need is for at least one of those guys to emerge as special - vision, strength to break tackles, cutting, at least some degree of breakaway speed. My bet is on Lacy.

Unlike what some have said, I DON'T want to see a major change in play calling. Oh sure, run most of the time on 3rd and short, that would be nice, but mostly I want the Packers to still be a pass first team, and the enhanced running ability - hopefully - to be used mostly as a threat so that Aaron Rodgers can be even more efficient and super than before in the passing game.
warhawk  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:08:05 AM(UTC)
texaspackerbacker said: Go to Quoted Post
Quantity doesn't really help that much, though. What we need is for at least one of those guys to emerge as special - vision, strength to break tackles, cutting, at least some degree of breakaway speed. My bet is on Lacy.

Unlike what some have said, I DON'T want to see a major change in play calling. Oh sure, run most of the time on 3rd and short, that would be nice, but mostly I want the Packers to still be a pass first team, and the enhanced running ability - hopefully - to be used mostly as a threat so that Aaron Rodgers can be even more efficient and super than before in the passing game.


I like the quantity of talent from two different angles.
First, from a depth perspective. It's highly unlikely there will not be injuries at the RB position. I can see less drop off in production with all the talent there.

Secondly, this amount of diverse talent will allow to go with the guy that gets hot and is the right fit for the D they are playing on any given week. Certainly the goal is for an Eddie Lacy to standout and clearly show he can be the horse they ride but there will be times where the RB styles of a Franklin or Harris will be very effective.

There is nothing wrong with quantity when the quality is there and I would say this is the most talented group of RB's we've seen in a very looooong time.

DarkaneRules  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:55:03 AM(UTC)
Play calling. I don't want to see us passing as much on 2nd and 3rd and 1. Do it a couple times but we have made it a habit these past couple years and that's no good.
nerdmann  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:06:46 PM(UTC)
texaspackerbacker said: Go to Quoted Post
Quantity doesn't really help that much, though. What we need is for at least one of those guys to emerge as special - vision, strength to break tackles, cutting, at least some degree of breakaway speed. My bet is on Lacy.

Unlike what some have said, I DON'T want to see a major change in play calling. Oh sure, run most of the time on 3rd and short, that would be nice, but mostly I want the Packers to still be a pass first team, and the enhanced running ability - hopefully - to be used mostly as a threat so that Aaron Rodgers can be even more efficient and super than before in the passing game.


Instead of the FB dive to Kuhn, I'd like to see us develop a classic WCO screen/short passing game. Johnathan Franklin and Alex Green would look pretty good as Roger Craig.

However, it will be interesting to see if controlling clock to help out our suspect defense will even be a consideration to Mike.
TheKanataThrilla  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:51:35 PM(UTC)
nerdmann said: Go to Quoted Post
Instead of the FB dive to Kuhn, I'd like to see us develop a classic WCO screen/short passing game. Johnathan Franklin and Alex Green would look pretty good as Roger Craig.

However, it will be interesting to see if controlling clock to help out our suspect defense will even be a consideration to Mike.


Our sad running attempt on 3rd and 1 will hopefully be a thing in the past. I am still thinking that Franklin will be the shocking rookie for this season. His intangibles seem to match very well with A-Rod and I do see defences having fits trying to figure out what we will do. Fakes on the short game set up deep throws to our WRs. My only concern is a sure handed TE which should be a check-down safe.
nerdmann  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, July 17, 2013 8:32:14 PM(UTC)
TheKanataThrilla said: Go to Quoted Post
Our sad running attempt on 3rd and 1 will hopefully be a thing in the past. I am still thinking that Franklin will be the shocking rookie for this season. His intangibles seem to match very well with A-Rod and I do see defences having fits trying to figure out what we will do. Fakes on the short game set up deep throws to our WRs. My only concern is a sure handed TE which should be a check-down safe.


Eddie Lacy is money on short yardage. He also gets better in the clutch.

Gonna be fun to watch.
Dexter_Sinister  
#8 Posted : Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:45:26 PM(UTC)
The yards are all the same no matter who's name is on them.

It doesn't matter if there is one guy getting 100 yards or 4 guys totaling 100.

The teams with a feature back putting up top 5 rushing totals each year are not the ones winning super bowls.
Mucky Tundra  
#9 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 10:38:46 AM(UTC)
UserPostedImage

With an improved run game in 2013, I'm hoping for more 10-15 play dives. Let'em drop two safeties back and Rodgers, the WRs and the RBs will chew defenses up short this year! With any luck, the image I posted will become a figment of the past.
nerdmann  
#10 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 1:43:23 PM(UTC)
Mucky Tundra said: Go to Quoted Post
UserPostedImage

With an improved run game in 2013, I'm hoping for more 10-15 play dives. Let'em drop two safeties back and Rodgers, the WRs and the RBs will chew defenses up short this year! With any luck, the image I posted will become a figment of the past.


My fear is that defenses will keep their safeties deep, because they KNOW Mike and Aaron won't run the ball or throw short anyway, even if they can.
agopackgo4  
#11 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 5:18:58 PM(UTC)
Don't forget that Mike McCarthy said that the quick slants, and the short passes are a staple of this offense. I guess not just last year, or when you only need a yard.
TheKanataThrilla  
#12 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 5:51:37 PM(UTC)
agopackgo4 said: Go to Quoted Post
Don't forget that Mike McCarthy said that the quick slants, and the short passes are a staple of this offense. I guess not just last year, or when you only need a yard.


Who is the quick slant receiver? That used to be a TE or Driver job when Favre was leading the team. Not comfortable with Finley being the 3rd down go to guy. I can see Franklin being the short pass RB this year.

agopackgo4  
#13 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 6:24:53 PM(UTC)
TheKanataThrilla said: Go to Quoted Post
Who is the quick slant receiver? That used to be a TE or Driver job when Favre was leading the team. Not comfortable with Finley being the 3rd down go to guy. I can see Franklin being the short pass RB this year.



Cobb could be the quick slant receiver. Not that he is limited to that. I know he says he doesn't want to be.
Dexter_Sinister  
#14 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 7:06:04 PM(UTC)
Rodgers had a total of 16 attempts over 30 yards last year. Over 97% of his throws were under 31 yards.

498 attempts were 20 yards or under compared to 54 over 20. About 90% of his throws were under 21 yards.

378 attempts out of 552 total were 10 yards or under. About 67% of the throws were under 11 yards.
beast  
#15 Posted : Friday, July 19, 2013 7:50:14 PM(UTC)
DarkaneRules said: Go to Quoted Post
Play calling. I don't want to see us passing as much on 2nd and 3rd and 1. Do it a couple times but we have made it a habit these past couple years and that's no good.


Great point, and I've said it before... going for the bomb pass play on 2nd/3rd and short is a great play when teams aren't expecting it... BUT Mike McCarthy gets into happens (like this and Kuhn on FB run) and they go from successful trick plays to everyone is expecting it and working at much small % of the times they run it.

Like Kuhn FB run,

Kuhn had 10 carries for 8 yards against NFC North teams. An average of 0.8 yards per carry.

Kuhn had 13 carries for 55 yards against teams outside the division. An average bit over 4.23 yards per carry.


He did the Kuhn FB run against teams in the division that they knew it was coming.

The 2nd/3rd and short long pass he's used it enough that I think most coaches game planning him that they know it's coming.

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