Johnathan Franklin Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Packers run game: Franklin running himself right out of Green Bay

Johnathan Franklin’s jersey number matches the number of yards he’s accumulated in two preseason games. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Johnathan Franklin was the darling of all the Green Bay Packers draft choices – his potential was over the top – even greater than that of Eddie Lacy. He was projected to wow the coaches, the fans, the scouts and anyone else who had skin in the game.

Twenty-three yards.

Yes, 23 yards.

That’s what Franklin, the player who talked about becoming the mayor of Green Bay, has accumulated over the first two preseason games. His jersey number matches his total.

Clearly, he’s got a ways to go to garner any votes for his mayoral run, but more importantly, he’s got to mount one heck of a campaign to earn a spot on the Packers 53-man roster.

Since the start of camp, Franklin has seemingly run backward. Watching him run between the tackles is as painful as it must be on him when he gets tackled. He has been tried at kick and punt returns, but his indecision and inability to consistently field the ball has put him behind the eight ball in that category.

Consider his decision not to field a punt in last Saturday night’s preseason game at St. Louis. The ball dropped in among a group of players and bounced off a Packers player. The ball was recovered by St. Louis.

He seems tentative when he has the ball and his blocking has been suspect as well. When he does get the ball in space – which should be his specialty – he hasn’t shown the burst needed to make a difference.

So, is Franklin running himself right out of Green Bay? His main competition – Alex Green and James Starks – haven’t done much better in their opportunities, leaving only Eddie Lacy living up to expectations at this point.

Many considered running back to be one of the deepest position on the team, but without projected starter DuJuan Harris in the mix yet, things are looking pretty thin.

Yes, there’s still two weeks of training camp left, but how the Packers proceed over the next couple of weeks will be interesting. Do they release Starks and/or Green? Has Franklin played himself onto the bubble? Will the poor performance by those three runners force the Packers to keep John Kuhn?

These are questions that must be answered and answered quickly.

As for Franklin, the jury is still out. He could climb out of his deficit with solid performances in the final two preseason games. Personally, I’m hoping he comes around and does enough to warrant a roster spot.

Stay tuned …

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