One of the best, if not the most intriguing stories brewing for the Green Bay Packers as the start of training camp nears this week is that surrounding the team’s running game.
We all know about the Packers changes and upgrades at the position: Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin – two of the highest-rated running backs who will now be competing for playing time in Green Bay’s already-vaunting offensive scheme. Everyone’s excited about the potential and possibilities they bring to the table.
But there are so many questions to add to the matrix. Where will last year’s late-season phenom DuJuan Harris fit? Will the Packers continue to stay with the oft-injured James Starks? And what about the team’s leading rusher from last season, Alex Green? We also must question how undrafted free agent Angelo Pease will play into the mix.
Many over the past few months have been saying that Starks will be the odd man out. In fact, his name was the first to come up during the NFL Draft when trade bait came up. But most recently, there are others who feel that it won’t be Starks on the trading block before the start of the season, but rather it will be Green.
When I first saw the headline, I said ‘no way.’ But after reading this piece and giving it a bit of thought, it made sense. When it comes down to roster spots, the three locks at the position will be Lacy, Franklin, and Harris. Green and Starks should be the two on the bubble. Because Starks might be considered damaged goods, there probably won’t be any teams willing to give up anything for him. Whereas Green was a starter most of last season and led the team in rushing. He’s got some credentials that might be attractive to others.
Unless Green and Starks burn it up in training camp, most likely both will be considered for release or a trade. The Packers might consider four running backs, but if that’s the case, my guess is that they would go the youth route and keep undrafted rookie Angelo Pease on the practice squad.
So, as I see it, the Packers will go into the regular season with Lacy, Harris, and Franklin as their main guys out of the backfield. Starks will most likely be a street free agent and Green may be wearing different colors.
But any way you slice it, this should be one of the most important, one of the most exciting position battles to watch over the next six weeks.
I’m looking forward to it.