Eddie Lacy is once again ready to lead the Packers. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Green Bay Packers are ready to run

The Green Bay Packers will have no problems this upcoming season with depth at the running back position.

At a position of question since the departure of Ryan Grant, the Packers finally have stability heading into an upcoming season.

Last season the Packers finished the year ranked seventh in overall rushing yards (2,136). The Packers haven’t finished the season ranked that high in rushing since Ahman Green’s record-breaking season in 2003.

The success on the ground last season was much in part due to the addition of Eddie Lacy.

The Packers were able to get one of the early steals of the 2013 draft with the selection of Lacy last year in the second round. Lacy’s physical running style is the perfect complement to the Packers’ high octane passing game.

Lacy’s production really picked up after the loss of Aaron Rodgers on the first drive of week nine’s Monday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears. Lacy averaged 81.3 yards per game rushing and scored eight touchdowns over the course of the remainder of the season.

The depth behind Lacy from last season will all return for the 2014 season as well.

James Starks carries against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field last November. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

James Starks carries against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field last November.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

James Starks signed a two-year deal with the Packers after making some free agent visits. Starks averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season, finally showing the flashes we remembered from his brilliant rookie playoff campaign.

The Packers will also look forward to the return of Johnathan Franklin and DuJuan Harris from injury.

Franklin had a big game in his one chance to shine against Cincinnati last season, rushing for 103 yards on just 13 carries.  Unfortunately, most people only remember his fumble late in the game that sealed the fate of the Packers. Franklin was lost for the season with a neck injury sustained week 12 against the Vikings.

DuJuan Harris is also returning after knee surgery stemming from an injury during last season’s preseason. Harris was looking like the number two running back heading into last season before his injury. Harris was a pleasant surprise in the last three games of the 2012 season.

Both Franklin and Harris give the Packers a smaller, more dynamic threat in the backfield.  They also very well may be battling each other for a spot on the roster this season.

Assuming Aaron Rodgers goes through the season healthy, the running game should in the very least remain the same. Another factor will be the return of Bryan Bulaga at right tackle. Bulaga missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

There’s a lot to be excited for leading into the 2014 season, the running game is one of those things.

Will they continue to improve? Or will Eddie Lacy get hit with the dreaded sophomore slump?

Either way, they have a couple horses in the stable, and they are ready to run.

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