Johnathan Franklin Deserves Credit for Breakout Performance in Week 3

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Johnathan Franklin Deserves Credit for Breakout Performance in Week 3
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Johnathan Franklin had a breakout performance in Week 3.

With Eddie Lacy sidelined in Week 3 due to a concussion and James Starks knocked out of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a knee injury, the Green Bay Packers were forced to rely on fourth-round rookie Johnathan Franklin to carry the ground game.

The end result was 103 rushing yards and a touchdown on only 13 carries. Franklin also added four receptions and 23 yards to put on a rather impressive display.

The big question, however, was whether his success was due to his play of Green Bay's offensive line. Today we'll break down three plays from Franklin to prove that the credit for his breakout game belongs to him and him alone.

 

3rd Quarter, 12:47 Remaining

Franklin's first two carries of the game went for five yards each, but it was his third run of the game that showed the potential that he can bring to the field.

Franklin runs a sweep early in the third quarter.

On this third-down play, the Packers are lined up in the shotgun formation with Franklin to the right of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The play is a simple sweep to the right.

The Bengals have this run play defended perfectly.

As Franklin gets the ball, the Bengals are defending the play perfectly. The Packers offensive line has failed to get to the second level on this play, and Cincinnati's linebackers have a clear shot at Franklin.

Franklin literally has nowhere to go.

As Franklin gets to the outside, there is simply nowhere for him to run. It appears that the end result of this play is going to be a loss for the Packers.

The safety reads the cutback perfectly.

However, Franklin displays his great instincts by cutting back towards the opposite side of the field in order to keep the play alive. Unfortunately, Bengals safety George Iloka reads the cutback perfectly and appears poised to keep Franklin from a big gain.

Franklin stops on a dime to cut upfield and gain eight yards.

Instead of cutting all the way back, Franklin stops on a complete dime, turns upfield and picks up the first down.

It was this play that showed the type of playmaking and creativity that Franklin brings to the field.

 

3rd Quarter, 6:45 Remaining

This next run was Franklin's best and longest run of the game.

Franklin runs a sweep to the left.

The Packers are once again in the shotgun, and the play is another sweep, except this time it's a run towards the left side of the field.

This play from the Packers looks dead before it even starts.

The Bengals once again defend the play perfectly and look poised to stop Franklin for a loss in the backfield. However, Franklin keeps his eyes upfield the entire play, looking for even the slightest lane to run through.

Franklin's cutback opens up a huge running lane.

When Franklin makes his cutback, a huge lane opens up for Franklin to run through. It's here that he displays an impressive burst to get through the hole quickly before it closes.

Franklin easily breaks the arm tackle of the Bengals defender.

After picking up the first down and not much more, Franklin is met by a Cincinnati defender. Instead of going down at first contact, Franklin easily breaks through an arm tackle to continue the play.

The end result was a 51-yard gain to put the Packers deep in Bengals territory.

 

3rd Quarter, 3:50 Remaining

The final play we'll look at was another impressive run that displayed qualities of Franklin's game that will make him successful in this league.

Franklin lined up to the left of Rodgers.

Much like the other plays we've looked at, the Packers line up in the shotgun formation. 

There appears to be nowhere for Franklin to run on this play.

The play is a quick pitch to the left. Franklin has poor blocking from his offensive line, and the play looks absolutely dead right from the start.

Franklin makes an impressive cutback.

However, Franklin makes an extremely impressive cutback towards the middle of the field in an attempt to pick up extra yards.

Franklin sets his feet to make a move against the safety.

When Franklin gets some open field in front of him, he is met by Iloka once again. Franklin sets his feet and makes a move to get by Iloka.

Franklin's juke move gets Iloka out of position, and the running back breaks a tackle.

Franklin's juke is enough to get Iloka out of position so that the running back can break his arm tackle and pick up extra yards.

While this play only went for seven yards, it once again showed off great vision, instincts and open-field ability from Franklin.

Should Franklin continue to get opportunities on offense?

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As you can see in all these runs, it was't the offensive line for the Packers that resulted in Franklin's success in Week 3. Instead, it was his ability to make something out of nothing and consistently pick up positive yards on the ground.

It's unknown what type of role Franklin will have once Lacy and Starks return from injury. However, he's definitely shown that he can be a big factor in the offensive game plan when given the opportunity.

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