Alex Green’s zero snaps during Sunday’s 37-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings weren’t a fluke.
After missing last week’s game against Tennessee with a concussion, the second-year running back was one of three active Green Bay Packers who didn’t see any action against the Vikings, along with backup quarterback Graham Harrell and recently demoted center Jeff Saturday.
While Green was suited up, he was relegated to an observation role as the game plan called for veteran Ryan Grant and first-year back DuJuan Harris to carry the brunt of the workload.
The 30-year-old Grant received the start one week after carrying the ball 20 times for 80 yards against the Titans, but was pulled after only two carries on two ineffective offensive drives to start the game.
Enter Harris, the fleet-footed but undersized speedster who finished with a career-high 14 carries for 70 yards, which marked the Packers’ third different leading rusher in as many weeks.
Just because Harris produced against the Vikings on Sunday, however, doesn't completely mean that'll be the same game plan for Saturday's Wild Card rematch.
“We don’t have a starting running back,” McCarthy said. “That’s something that the work week will answer. We’ll go through the game-planning. We’ll try to make sure all three of those guys are ready to go. But really the game, the way the game flows, will have a lot to do with who gets the carries.”
Whether it’s been injury or performance, the Packers’ running back situation has been a revolving door for most of this season. Following injuries to Cedric Benson and James Starks, Green leads the team with 135 carries for 464 yards, but has often lost ground to other backfield options when healthy.
With Grant re-signed and Harris’ development, the backfield situation could be on the verge of getting even more cluttered this week with Starks possibly being ready to return to practice after missing a month with the bone bruise he suffered against Minnesota on Dec. 2.
In the meantime, the team will continue to go with whichever back is producing the most, which on Sunday was Harris, a 5-foot-8 midseason practice-squad addition who was promoted to the active roster on Dec. 1.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep progressing him because he does have unique skills and run ability I haven’t had the opportunity to work with in my time here,” McCarthy said. “Like I said before, we’re going to run the guy we feel has the hot hand and he was that guy (Sunday).”