The Green Bay Packers got their running game going against the Detroit Lions in week 3, when Eddie Lacy recorded over 100 rushing yards on 17 carries. Lacy is currently running at a better pace (over 5 yards per carry and 70 yards per game) through the first three games of this year than at the same point in any of his other seasons.
Still, there is a feeling that the run game could do with some improvement. For one thing, backup James Starks has been a complete non-factor so far as a runner and he has done little in the passing game to suggest that he will continue to be productive in that area.
With the Packers carrying just those two running backs on the roster at this time, there may be room for a back to come in off the street and contribute. In fact, the Packers worked out C.J. Spiller (formerly of New Orleans) last week before he signed with Seattle.
As of Tuesday, however, there will be another veteran back on the market who might fit in better with the Packers' ideal role for a third running back: Justin Forsett, who will reportedly be cut by the Baltimore Ravens later today.
Forsett is adept as a receiver and a blocker, and could take pressure off Lacy and Starks on third downs. He also made a name for himself early in his career as a special teams contributor, which the Packers have expressed is a critical factor for a third running back.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that Forsett's best season came in 2014 with Gary Kubiak as Baltimore's offensive coordinator. Kubiak runs a strict zone blocking run scheme, whereas the Packers tend to prefer a more power-based scheme. Forsett's struggles with Marc Trent man's offense likely contributed to his release, which leaves the Ravens with Terrance West and rookie Kenneth Dixon as their primary backs.
As mentioned earlier, Forsett is a very good receiver out of the backfield, however, and that alone might make him intriguing to Ted Thompson. In eight NFL seasons, Forsett has caught 20 or more passes five times, and he is well on his way to a sixth such season with 11 catches in three games.
Finally, Forsett's contract situation may make him appealing. He was owed one year at $3 million on the final year if his contract for this season, but was released at final cuts. Then he was brought back almost immediately (after the Ravens placed a player on injured reserve) on an identical one-year, $3 million contract. That deal became guaranteed when he suited up for week one. That means that he could be willing to work for the league minimum with a new team, and may pick a suitor based on having the best chance of winning a Super Bowl. That should certainly make the Packers an appealing destination for him.
If the Packers indeed want to deepen their group if running backs, they should at the very least bring Forsett in for a workout to see what the 30-year old has left in the tank.