Green Bay Packers running back DuJuan Harris rushes with the football during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. He was hurt not long after this rush and was out the entires season in 2013. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

DuJuan Harris: Green Bay Packers should be really excited for his return

I would be a fool to say that I wasn’t ecstatic about the Green Bay Packers‘ running game in 2013 – rookie of the year Eddie Lacy, a strong backup in James Starks, and the potential that is Johnathan Franklin.

But I would also be foolish to say that there isn’t room for improvement – something that will be accomplished with the return of DuJuan Harris to the Packers backfield.

Remember last summer when we were all scratching our heads over the enthusiasm that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was showing over Harris? He was adamant about his claims that the guy who helped carry the team into the 2012 playoffs was going to be the team’s starter. That was before Harris blew up his knee a couple of plays into his preseason.

McCarthy knew something at that point and he should still be excited about what could be in 2014.

However, since going down with his injury Harris became an afterthought.

We forgot about him after Lacy came out and powered his way to more than 1,100 yards, broke John Brockington‘s rookie records and then went on to be named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. James Starks also played a huge role in Lacy’s success, as well, coming in as a reserve to bust out on some huge touchdown runs and to take over with impressive games when Lacy was injured. Though he missed a couple of games with his own leg injury, Starks came back and helped the Packers later in the season with several steady performances.

And then there was Franklin. When Starks went down against Cincinnati in week three last year, Franklin came in and gained more than 100 yards in a single half and it was only his game-turning fumble on a bad play call on fourth down that was his downfall. He didn’t play much after that fumble, but we all saw his potential. He didn’t get another legitimate chance and went out with an injury about three-quarters of the way through the year.

So, the Packers have the foundation built. They’re stronger at the running back position that they have been in recent memory. While Starks may leave for greener pastures and more money, the team will still be in great shape. As a matter of fact, I don’t expect Starks to be back. I can see another running back-starved team snatching Starks up – and the Packers will probably allow him to walk.


Because they have DuJuan Harris waiting in the wings.

Eddie Lacy Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Eddie Lacy
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Harris, if he comes back healthy and ready to play as hard as he did in 2012, the Packers will have their yin to Lacy’s Yang. The two of them will surely add up to the one-two punch that McCarthy was envisioning during training camp last season.

Throw in Franklin and the Packers will have a trio of running backs that could prove to be one of the best in the entire league.

However, the challenge of striking a balance between the thunder and lightning will be key and something that will have to managed well by the coaching staff. Without the right mix, it could be a failed experiment, but with the right amount, it could translate into dynamite.

I could actually see the Packers coming away at the end of the 2014 campaign with two 1,000 yard rushers.

Having DuJuan Harris back on the field is going to give the Packers offensive attack something special and I, for one, can’t wait to see what the possibilities are going to bring.

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Tags: DuJuan Harris Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers

  • Vvait Fang

    Raymond – I like what you posit, and I would love for Harris to turn out to be as good as everyone, especially MM wants. But maybe you can give some “meat” to support your vapid statements? What will make him the “yin to Lacy’s yang”? What specifically makes it a 1-2 punch, and not just 2 running backs? Give us some analysis, real info – about what you see in his running style, or whatever. Would defenses need to do something different if both of them were in the backfield at the same time? How about comparing him to Franklin… who stands to be more beneficial as a #2 behind EL?

    • NJPackFan

      I think they’ll be a great 1-2 punch because of their varying styles. Harris hits the hole and gets to the 2nd level with such incredible burst, I think it’s the perfect counter to Lacy’s hard-nosed power back style of running. It’s almost like they complete each other.

      Harris just needs to work on his patience and look for holes. He took off and ran right into the lineman too often.

    • Vvait Fang

      NJPackFan – I hear you. The real interesting question is Harris vs. Franklin. Would really like to see if one of these self-proclaimed experts on Lombardi Ave can actually put together some research and compare. Or is their insight limited to 200 words or less (maybe 30 minutes of thinking or less?).

      Another interesting idea to ponder – what if nobody bites on Starks, will he still be available for a song for the Pack?

  • Mike Brand

    love this kid he made the niners pay til mccarthy took him out to try passing . i think he and lacy will be that 1-2 punch and hill and franklin get special teams