Green Bay Packers: A work in progress


Packers rookie Johnathan Franklin solidifies an offensive backfield that should give the team a running threat from here on out. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph

This is the first in a series of articles on why the sky is not falling for the Green Bay Packers like some people think and say it is.

I get it; the Packers are 1-2 and both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are 3-1. Let’s flash back two years ago to when the Packers went 15-1 in the regular season then 0-1 in the post season. How did that work out for the team and us as fans? I would much rather the Packers be 11-5 and playing great football heading into January than 15-1, predictable and shut down at home in a playoff game.

I am not saying it is good we are 1-2, but let’s look beyond the record and look at the team overall.

We have heard non-stop for the past two years that the Packers are one-dimensional, need to balance pass/run and they have no run game. Have we all not heard these terms said about our Packers?

The hits on Packers players have been brutal during the first three weeks of the season. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

I know I am sick of hearing it.

The last two games we have run for 139 yards and 182 yards.

Just let that soak in for a moment.

The team who could not run for more than three yards per carry and 50 yards per game has done that in back-to-back weeks while using multiple running backs. This was even done without Eddie Lacy, the second round draft pick and  potential star running –  he was removed from the game after his 10-yard first carry against the Redskins with a concussion thanks to the illegal hit by Brandon Meriweather.

Yes, week one was not that great in San Francisco, but what do you expect when you open the season on the road with a rookie running, a rookie left tackle and a right tackle entering his second year in the NFL where he only started a handful of games last year?

Let’s also not forget that San Francisco has one of the better defenses in the NFL. I think that might have been asking a bit much for them to come out and to rush for more than 150 yards against them.

Another thing I heard during training camp from these same people was how disappointing Johnathan Franklin was. There were actually some who thought he would not make the team. He sure did not disappoint in Cincinnati, rushing for more than 100 yards in the second half alone. Yes, he had a fumble on the fourth and one – but guess what? These things happen to rookies.

I would much rather he make that mistake now in week three and learn from it, rather than in a playoff game at home and cost us the season. Franklin also had a 51-yard run, which tops the 41-yard longest run by anyone in a Packers uniform in 2012.

Not bad for a half game’s work by a rookie making his NFL debut.

James Starks in the last game and a half has rushed for nearly 190 yards alone. It was just week one of this year everyone was still saying Green Bay had no rushing attack. Now we have guys running for 70-100 yards per half. Yes, once again, Starks went down with an injury, but as of now it does not appear to be season-ending. It appears Starks will not be available this week, but the Pack gets Lacey back on the field this week after healing from his concussion.

The Packers have shown they have legitimate depth at running back.

Since the draft weekend back in April we have all been thinking what a great one-two punch Lacey and Franklin would add to this great passing team. This Sunday, the two rookies will be on display and give the Lions something else to have to game plan for other than stopping Aaron Rodgers.