It’s simple. The Green Bay Packers still need to know what they have in DuJuan Harris, the second-year running back who was called up from the practice squad late last year and made his mark on the team with his performance out of the backfield.
Last season, Harris recorded 157 rushing yards on 34 carries for two touchdowns in four games and two starts. Despite being the Packers most impressive back late last season, the small six-game sampling (two playoff appearances) doesn’t tell us a lot about what to expect from the undrafted back from Troy this season.
Coach McCarthy has declared Harris the starting running back as of now, but Harris has still yet to play in the preseason and he just returned to practice last week.
The Packers don’t know if Harris can handle a full season’s workload out of the backfield, or how well he’ll mesh with second-round pick Eddie Lacy.
What will be Harris’s role on the team this year?
No one knows.
With Harris back now and fully healthy, he should see a lot of carries against Seattle on Friday. The Packers need to know if Harris is the real deal and can contend for the starting job at running back (Sorry, Mike, I’m just not handing it to him quite yet).
Rookie back Lacy has done nothing but impressed so far in camp, and he’s champing at the bit to be Green Bay’s featured back.
Harris and Lacy could be a dangerous duo out of the Packers backfield this season, but first, the team needs to see Harris run in a game.
In what was otherwise a lackluster practice today, Coach McCarthy praised Harris for running hard and demonstrating maximum effort during team drills. The Packers like what the young back did last year, but now it’s time for Harris to prove he can handle more responsibility and really make an impact on the offense.
This Friday’s preseason game against Seattle is just as important for Harris as it is for anyone else. He has a lot to prove on the field, but I get the feeling he won’t disappoint.
Expect him to get a lot of looks.