GREEN BAY – Johnathan Franklin isn’t really in the doghouse. It may have seemed like that after his second fumble in as many games landed him on the bench last Sunday, but the Green Bay Packers rookie running back will get another chance to carry the football, according to running backs coach Alex Van Pelt.
Two weeks after coughing the ball up on a fourth-and-1 at Cincinnati and watching it be returned for the go-ahead touchdown by the Bengals, Franklin fumbled again against Detroit last Sunday, although quarterback Aaron Rodgers recovered it.
Franklin didn’t play another snap from scrimmage, but Van Pelt said Franklin, who was hit from the side by Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah, wasn’t being punished long-term for the mistake. Ansah put his helmet right on the ball on the hit, and Franklin’s ball-security wasn’t horrible on the play.
“Hopefully we’ll get him back in there and get him into the mix for sure this week,” Van Pelt said. “If he would have been careless with the football, I would have an issue with it. I wouldn’t have put him back in the game. But he wasn’t. It was an awkward hit for him, kind of a blind shot off the side.
“I couldn’t tell you that the best ball-security guys to ever play the game wouldn’t have spit that one out. It’s unacceptable, but … I’m not too concerned about it. I think they were two unfortunate hits on the ball that happened when he was in there. It just happened to be him.”
Van Pelt said Franklin didn't get another offensive snap because fellow rookie running back Eddie Lacy was playing well and had a chance at a 100-yard game.
"He knows it’s unacceptable and we can’t have it, (but) I told him after the game, ‘You know, we didn’t put you back in because you fumbled,'" Van Pelt said. "It’s just the way the game unfolded at that point. Eddie was getting hot, was approaching 100 yards and we were trying to get him there. So I didn’t say, 'Hey you’re done for the rest of the game because you put the ball on the ground,' because I don’t think he’s that guy."
Still, Franklin knows he has to re-prove himself, despite the 103-yard game he had against the Bengals.
"It’s all about practice," he said. "Coach will call on me whenever he’s ready, but until then, it’s all about what I do in practice. I have to keep it high and tight and place an emphasis on it."
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