Harris, Bradshaw combo would add punch to the Packers backfield


DuJuan Harris was the Packers best running back at the end of last season.

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Three days ago, the rumor wires announced that the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers were interested in securing the services of former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

Today, Bradshaw confirmed that information and added another team to the mix – the New York Jets.

Ahmad Bradshaw could add a punch the team hasn’t seen at running back for some time.

Jim O photograph

Interviewed today on ESPN Radio’s The Michael Kay Show, Bradshaw said that he was ready to go back to work and that the Jets had expressed interest as well as the Steelers and Packers.

“Pittsburgh, the Jets and the Packers, which are teams that I feel like need a running back, that I could help. Like I said, it’s a process. I just want to take it slow.”arious

And slow it is … the Packers head coach Mike McCarthy may have signaled today that the Packers are looking at various ways of manning the backfield. He said that he was impressed with the play of DuJuan Harris last season and that he should have a place in the Packers backfield in 2013. Most agree that Harris is not a three-down back, but could certainly provide a change-up to another backfield mate who might be the pounding type of back that Bradshaw could bring to the Packers.

“I wish we would have had DuJuan earlier,” McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today. “He was a young man that we were just getting ready to try to put in the game. Everybody’s like ‘just put him in there.’ Well, hell, you put him in there, there aren’t too many runs in our offense where we can’t go to a pass and now he’s protecting for Aaron Rodgers.

“That’s why there’s a lot of stress schematically and responsibility wise on our running backs, and that’s not going to change because of our quarterback. Once he got ready, I felt great about the way DuJuan finished the season. Looking forward to having him for an offseason and look for good things for him.”

Alex Green struggled last year, but was coming off a major knee injury.

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If the Packers pursue Bradshaw aggressively and do find a way to sign him, the Packers could have one of the most dynamic one-two punch backfields in the league. If the Packers don’t get Bradshaw in the end, they may look to the draft to select a running back as early as the first or second round. Clearly, the team is looking to bolster the backfield – if they weren’t they wouldn’t have pursued Steven Jackson until the end, nor would they have shown any interest in Bradshaw.

I feel the Packers know they can’t go into 2013 relying on James Starks and Alex Green, for that matter, Cedric Benson. The team needs some fresh blood and Bradshaw and Harris may be the answer.

But it could be a while before we know anything about Bradshaw as he is committed to playing the market for all he can get. “I’ve decided not to work out with teams yet,” Bradshaw said today. “I want to be as healthy as I can be, I want to be explosive, and I want teams to see what they are able to get. Right now, I’m working on that, and I think it’s coming along faster and faster. I’m walking around without the boot.”

How long that takes isn’t clear, but he can’t leave teams hanging for too long. Should we expect him to start working out before the draft? Teams like the Packers or Steelers will want to make plans and if they use draft picks to fill their need, Bradshaw may be left without some teams with which to audition.

And if Bradshaw wants to go to a team to be the main man, he’s got to show he’s healthy enough to do so.

“I want to go to a team (where) I can be the No. 1 back, get multiple carries every game. I just want to be able to help and be a big part of it,” Bradshaw said.

McCarthy also understands the teams needs at the position and how one or two players will need to make it work: “It’s tough on your run blocking unit when you’ve got a different running back all the time,” McCarthy said. “Not that we’re just going to try to stay with one but you’d like to get into a one-two punch deal and maybe get some more rhythm and let guys build off last week’s performance and adjust to how the defense is playing week in and week out based on what you did the week before.”

At this point, the backfield is in flux. The Packers will need to make some big decisions between now and the draft and will most likely be tweaking the personnel after the draft.

One thing is for sure, if it’s Bradshaw and Harris, they could add an element to the Packers’ offense that’s not been seen for some time.