Beyond the Game: Green Bay Packers rookie running backs

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GREEN BAY (WITI) — Aaron Rodgers is undoubtedly the leader of the Pack, and nobody on the roster has been in Green Bay longer than he has. But Rodgers could rely on a pair of newcomers to keep the team moving forward this season.

With the well-compensated and highly efficient Rodgers at quarterback, it makes perfect sense that the Packers are known for their aerial attack. But perhaps fresh legs will bring a fresh look to Green Bay’s offense. The Packers selected Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin in April’s draft, landing two running backs in the Top 125 picks of the whole process.

“I think it brings a little more balance to the offense. It’s not like they have to rely on just the pass or the run — we have a combination of both. As far as me and the other running backs that were drafted, as well as the backs that were here, we should have a pretty good running game this season,” Lacy said.

Lacy averaged more than six-and-a-half yards per carry in his career at perennial power Alabama, while Franklin became the all-time leading rusher at UCLA.

“It’s great, and it’s competition that’s going to bring out the best in you. We’re definitely going to find out what kind of man we are, and what kind of athletes we are. I’m excited to compete with Eddie and get better with him and learn from Eddie as well.¬†Everybody wants to be the best, but at the end of the day, the best person on the team is the team, and it’s all about the team. We’re here to make the Green Bay Packers better,” Franklin said.

Packers rookie running backs Lacy and Franklin are excited and expecting to share that sideline as teammates coming up this fall. Right now, they are sharing a room.

“Eddie is my roommate and we were laughing all night last night. He’s a great guy. I met him at the Combine and we’re excited. They brought us here for a reason. We have to contribute if it’s at running back or special teams — we’re here to make this team better,” Franklin said.

“We’re friends. We met. We’re roommates in the hotel. We talked — but we’re going to have to compete just like in college when you first get there and you meet all the other running backs. You’re friends, but you have to compete so it’s no different here,” Lacy said.

The competition within the position group figures to spur both of these players, as does the knowledge that each ended up being drafted lower than he expected.

“I think you play with a chip on your shoulder, but you have to be smart as well,” Lacy said.

“If God put me here, it’s the right spot,” Franklin said.

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy has good early reviews for his new ball carriers — calling Lacy and Franklin very smooth and very natural during this weekend’s rookie orientation camp.