Green Bay Packers: Who Will Start at Running Back in 2013?

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 19, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  Running back DuJuan Harris #26 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball in for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers have had a high-powered offense for the past few years.  Aaron Rodgers has led that offense, airing it out game after game.  His efficiency in the passing game has led to several Pro Bowl selections and even an MVP award.

However, there has been one consistent problem with this offense for the past few seasons.

The lack of a running game.

The Packers have struggled to find consistency on the ground over the past few years.  Since the 2009 season, the team has failed to find another 1,000 yard rusher.

Thankfully, the Packers have a lot of potential options to become the starting running back next season.  With so many backs to choose from, hopefully they will find the one that could provide some consistency in the running game.

Cedric Benson was the starting running back for the Packers at the beginning of last season.  Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to a Lisfranc injury in Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Benson played alright before the injury.  He carried the ball 71 times for 248 yards on the season, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.  However, with Benson just turning 30 a few weeks ago, it feels like age might be finally catching up with him.

Once Benson went down to injury, the Packers called upon Alex Green to become the starter.  Green appeared to struggle a bit, consistently tripping at the line of scrimmage.  He had 464 yards running this year, averaging 3.4 yards a carry.  His inconsistency became an issue over time.

James Starks was also asked to get some carries after coming back from his own injury.  However, Starks also struggled with consistency, averaging only 3.6 yards per carry before being injured once again.

While Starks was a big factor in the Super Bowl run in 2010, his inability to stay healthy has started to become a liability to the team.  The Packers know that he has talent, but he has been unable to stay healthy, and that is something you look for in a starting running back.

After the injury to Starks, the Packers decided to resign Ryan Grant.  Grant was the last player to run for 1,000 yards for the Packers, and he was looking to prove himself once again.

Although he didn't have many carries, he was still able to run for 127 yards and two scores on just those 31 carries for the Packers.  Unfortunately, Grant is also slowing down, and may not be a very reliable workhorse back.

Perhaps the best option the Packers found last year was in DuJuan Harris.  After spending a year on the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was signed by the Packers in October.  After the injuries at running back, he made the most of his opportunities.

Harris played in his first game against the Detroit Lions.  He ran for 31 yards on seven carries, including a touchdown on a 14 yard run.  He had an impressive short season, running for 157 yards on just 34 carries. 

Harris appears to be a reliable back for Green Bay.  His physical downhill running impressed many fans, as well as the coaching staff.  His ability to run through defenders could be a valuable asset for the Packers, and help open up the passing game as well.

The Packers may look to draft another running back, but Harris could be the back of the future for them.  As long as they can find a reliable back, they will have a dangerous offense in 2013.