What up with Starks?

The Green Bay Packers finally put rookie running back James Starks on display and early returns are quite promising. But are they promising enough to get the Packers to the promise land? Starks’ 73 yards on 18 carries against the 49ers for the Packers was good but how good was it?

To me it’s like when it has been cold out so long that the first time you feel 40 degrees again it feels hot. The Packers haven’t had a first and second down running back in so long Starks looks like a Pro Bowler already. Starks is already probably the best pure running back currently on the active roster, so now we know why he was activated from the PUP list and not put on IR.

I like Starks size and running style and I think he fits in with the Packers’ zone blocking scheme. He doesn’t dance around like Brandon Jackson and while he may not be a burner my guess is when he gets in the clear he won’t be caught, much like Ryan Grant. Obviously the cat is out of the bag so the Lions, Patriots, Giants and Bears will have video of him now, so he may take a step back while the Packers’ counter attack.

While I’d like to see the Packers saddle him and ride him until he makes a mistake, you have to wonder how much they will actually expose him down the stretch with so much on the line. Starks also has an injury history so you have to be worried about a guy who hasn’t played for a long time pulling a hamstring, which in this case could be devastating considering that is what kept him out so long since joining the Packers.

Maybe head coach Mike McCarthy is telling the truth when he says he will use a three back rotation between Jackson, Starks and Dimitri Nance. That approach seems to work pretty well for New England, as evidenced Monday night against the Jets. Anything to get Jackson back to his third-down role in which he is so dangerous.

I hope the Packers can build up a little lead Sunday against the Lions so these guys can get some carries. It would be nice to get some definition to this position. I also think an improved running game would help the Packers get over their slow start syndrome on offense. Having the option to run on the first play of the game without facing 2nd-and-12  certainly can’t hurt.

It certainly will be fun to watch this young guy develop.

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  • Steve Cheez

    Too bad about Harris going on IR for the ‘Phins.

  • 4205

    Starks size really surprised me – there was a shot of him towering over Jackson on the sidelines last week. I hope they give him a good shot on 1st and 2nd down. Only reason not to is blitz pickup.

  • TRIP

    Idk, could be like Ramen Noodles with no seasonings after a 40-day fast.. anything will do.

    We are desperate for some type of threat, I hope he works out.

  • Monty

    Jackson is shorter than me, he’s only 5 7

  • ScottS

    We can only hope.

  • Steve

    Starks doesn’t need to be CJ, LT or AP. He just needs to be good enough for other teams to have to worry about the run.

    • Lets re-build the OL and give him a chance; we might be able to draft interior or another OT if we don’t have to go high for a RB. He and Grant could be our tandem for a couple of years.
      The DL could be set for years; imagine Jolly, Harrell, Wilson, Wynn, Raji, Jenkins, Pickett, Neal, Green, plus the two on the practice squad coming to camp. You know they always say it starts “in the trenches”. If so, we either are going to be very strong or have a good stable to trade from. Think of the draft possibilities for OLB, CB, or a trade for that runback guy if he’s not on the roster already.
      I know, I know, too early, but you can bet McKenzie and TT are thinking ahead.

      • I don’t believe Harrell will ever be healthy enough to last an entire season.

      • BTW speaking of ACLs, did you guys know MIN made an offer to Al Harris before he accepted the MIA offer?

    • Rick addressed Harrell health issues in the last thread to the effect that he’ll never play again; I have no medical training, however, as I understand it the back surgery was successful and this last injury was an ACL – the most common of athlete injuries, and not usually career ending.
      The only reference to the back was in camp this year and was described as only tightness, which can happen to anybody. At this pointwe’re only guessing, but until he is either waived injured or cut with an injury settlement I’ll stick with the opinion he is coming back to camp.
      I would not feel this way had it been a Lateral or Patellar ligiment (spell?). Most hopeful!

      • Rocky70

        Rick’s got it all figured out ….. What was that one? ….. The Vikings are the team to beat in the North ….. Something like that …..

        • iccyfan

          Rocky70 says:
          November 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm
          GB 27 ….. Atlanta 16 …….. Bank on it.

          You’re not in a position to call anybody out on anything with all the stupid sh!t you post (see above – “bank on it”), be it drafting Sergio Kindle or expecting the Vikes to be the competition within the division (EVERYBODY did). If I recall correctly, you had the Packers trading away half their draft to move into the top ten for Bulaga. That would’ve been a stellar move – Duh…

          In further defense of Rick, he was talking about the Packers and Bulaga back in January, well before you became his champion. I recall this well because I live in Iowa City and participated in the conversation with Rick.

          • Rocky70

            Itchee …. Rick’s right hand boy …. Both copy & paste real well ….. Why? …. Because they have little content of their own to share …. Both need “Football 101” after the season …. Try again, Itchee …. Good luck.

          • iccyfan

            Rocky70 says:
            November 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm
            GB 27 …. Atlanta 16 ……

            Meg Ryan & Rosie White will realize what it’s like to face a pressure defense with corners that can cover ……. Green, Pickett, Raji & Jenkins will introduce Turner to the ground enough to force Meg Ryan to throw to win ……. He’s just not good enough.

            Rocky70 says:
            November 27, 2010 at 10:29 pm
            AR decisiveness & fearlessness in the pocket has returned …… He gets 3 TD passes versus the Falcons ….. Bank on it.


            One thing we can “bank on”; when Rockbottom isn’t off sulking like my 7th grade daughter, he’s good for at least one stupid post per thread, usually more….

            How many times have you said you’re “leaving until playoff time”? Are you incapable of making good on anything you write?

          • Rick

            Not sure, but I think the truth and facts just tripped you up again Rocky. Iccy seems to have continually pointed out your flawed statements.

            Iccy is correct. He and I mentioned O linemen we would love to see drafted and we thought Bulaga would be perfect but probably would go in the top 10.

    • LT, why would anyone bring up Harrell. He’s never done anything for us and chances are he never will. 26, how long does it take for us to find out if someone can play in the league? 2 years, a little more for a QB or O-lineman. I wouldn’t want to base my rotation depending on him, would you?

    • dave76

      I agree Harrell is gone. See Jamal Reynolds, huge expectations at D line that never worked. Traded in 4th season to Colts because he couldn’t pass team physical. Harrells injuries are unfortunate, but its a move that would be in the best interest of our D-line, IMO

      • ……………..and if Harrell had been properly diagnosed and had his surgery (back) a year earlier? Point is when he plays he shows something and this last injury happens to a lot of guys. At 36 Harris could not come back, with Harrell at 26 he might. Its moot anyway since we would not go to 9 or 10 in a 3-4 rotation. All I’m saying is he has a chance and is a low cost gamble now.

  • Pierre

    Packers should continue to pass first and this will open up the running game. Looking for Starks to get running attemts in the teens once again and maybe break a long one against the Lions. Keep the screens going to BJax. Gotta score the first TD and then keep scoring. CJ Wilson and/or Jarius Wynn should fill in adequately for Jenkins and get a sack or two on the Lion QB. Can’t let the Lions stay close in this game.

    If BF plays against the Giants their front four will probably end his season and career. T. Jackson at QB would be the better choice to get the Vikings a win against NY. Have to see if NE can regroup quickly on a short week, with travel to Chicago, and knock off the streaking Bears. If the Giants and Bears get beat, it bolsters GB’s position…if the Packers take care of business in the Motor City. Competition for playoff spots should be intense to the end this season.

  • Oddly the Vikes next 3 games are vs teams that are our main competition for the last playoff spots, the Giants, the Bears and Eagles, with NO getting better and Atl having the tie breaker with us. What are the chances they win any with #4, who’s a beat up wreck. It would be coaching malfiesance to start him. May be we could sue the League, citing competetive dereliction of duty, to get a restraining order.

  • roy jamison

    Good article in SI on our former qb number 4. After reading it, I get the feeling his theme song should be…I did it MY way.

    And now, the end is near, (thank God, before I break my neck)
    And so I face the final curtain.
    My friends, I’ll say it clear;
    I’ll state my case of which I’m certain.

    I’ve lived a life that’s full –
    I’ve travelled each and every highway.
    And more, much more than this,
    I did it my way.

    Regrets? I’ve had a few, (like that damn text message in NY)
    But then again, too few to mention.
    I did what I had to do
    And saw it through without exemption.

    I planned each charted course (Atlanta-GB-NY-Minnesnowda)
    Each careful step along the byway,
    And more, much more than this,
    I did it my way.

    Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew,
    When I bit off more than I could chew, (like throwing the ball to the wrong guy)
    But through it all, when there was doubt,
    I ate it up and spit it out.
    I faced it all and I stood tall
    And did it my way.

    I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried,
    I’ve had my fill – my share of losing.
    But now, as tears subside,
    I find it all so amusing. (13 mil a season will do that)

    To think I did all that,
    And may I say, not in a shy way –
    Oh no. Oh no, not me.
    I did it my way.

    For what is a man? What has he got?
    If not himself – Then he has naught.
    To say the things he truly feels
    And not the words of one who kneels.
    The record shows I took the blows (oh, did I take some blows this year alone!)
    And did it my way.

    Yes, it was my way.

    • Excellent, and for an encore, “The Partys Over”! Unitas, Montana, Testerverde, Tittle, Blanda, Layne, Luckman, Namath! Ugh; after 10 years elapse, what most people remember is the ending not the career, with possibly Montana being the exception.

      • Rick

        LT- When you said the song “The Party’s Over” I thought off the early Monday Night Booth.

        We miss you Don Meredith. RIP

        • Man, isnt that the truth, I had forgotten about that!!!

        • Rick

          I actually tried to you tube Howard Cosell and MNF as well.
          My kids had no clue as to he was.

          ESPN and 24 hour news cycle really has changed the world we live in.

  • cdk4205

    yes – it feels strange to be a big Viking supporter for the next three weeks!

  • Rick

    @ Rocky

    As far as your axe to grind with me on Sergio Kindle and Harrell coming back.( BTW, didn’t I shut you up the last time you talked this nonsense??)

    Sergio fell down two flights of stairs and nearly died of a fractured skull months after being drafted by the Ravens. I am not sure if that really discounts his draft status Rocky. He was taken in the first round. Healthy and back on the field I would rather have him then the oft injured Harrell. He is working out everyday and physically his body is in great shape.

    Rehab and getting cleared from the fracture is what he is waiting on. Recovery is unknown but approximated at March April.

    Harrell was injured in college and I said he would probably be an early 2nd rounder because of it. Instead TT drafted him as the #2 DT off the board.

    I disagreed on that pick as we needed bodies that could come in to OTA and camp and practice.
    Since then he has had two major back surgeries that IR’d him for two years. Third year he tears his ACL with a 6-9 month recovery.

    So we have a 26yr old guy that looked 3years ago in college, knows the playbook, can’t stay healthy and has stepped on the field in any capacity ( D or ST) in only 14 games in 3 years for the Pack.

    His remaining contract is 2010: $550,000 (+ $408,375 roster bonus), 2011: $650,000 (+ $575,000 roster bonus), 2012: $1,536,750,

    Is he worth 1.1 million next year? I say injury settlement and you can bring back into camp as a body and see. Unless he stays healthy I just don’t see him sticking around much longer in the league.

    Especially not the 15 years Rocky you said

    Rocky70 says:
    December 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    …… He could end up a 15 year vet if things start going his way ….. There are many players who struggled out of the gate …..

    • Rick

      Edit… Looked good 3years ago in college…

      • Rocky70

        People make mistakes when they think they can predict the future ….. Besides, my prognosis for Harrell is a positive one ….. Your prognosis is strictly negative …. Neither of our opinions means anything nor are they a basis for predicting the future …… However, I still prefer mine just because it means one more person may prevail over adversity ….. It’s a good attitude to have for others & yourself ……..

        Itchee ….. Please don’t respond to this ……. It’s way over your head …. Thanks.

        • Rocky70

          To be completely honest, I’m think’in Sergio will come back strong next year ……. I wish he were a Packer …..

          • Rick

            You and me both. He really would fit our scheme here in GB.

        • Rick

          You can’t predict the future but you can forecast things.

          I understand negative versus positive comments. I just don’t see him getting that money still and I don’t see him staying in the league 15 years.

          I have never said anything different then I love football at all levels.
          I like many teams, but love my Packers.

          I am also a draftnik. It is fun to see these young men grow and develop and try to figure out what Billion dollar franchises will do with their prospects.
          If I had Bill Gates money and owned the team, what would I do kind of stuff.

  • Rick

    On to the Lions game.

    I just read that Bigby might be ready to play, Cullen Jenkins is out this game, and Woodson should be ready to go.

    I hope we can get up on the Lions early and play from in front and run Starks some more and see what we have against a division opponent.

  • Did not mean to stir up a hornet’s nest specifically re Harrell. I apologize!
    However, back to my point that if Starks proves NFL ready and can go tandem with Grant, we could go high draft for that OLB or OL and not spend a one or two at RB. Adding to the ability to trade up (like last year) is the fact that we have the potential to trade from a stable of nine or ten returning DL guys (which we do not need in a three/four rotation).
    Whether Harrell is a rehab keeper or not is moot. When he WAS on the field I liked him.
    Thats my opinion, period.

    • Rick

      Agree. RB by committee works for most of the league and we proved that very few RB like Grant can handle the whole game load. Starks Nance and B Jax seem to be jeeling in a RB by committee, then add Grant back next year. All that should be a benefit to GB.

      Harrell I hope proves me wrong. I have no ill will to the man personally. As a business, if my employee is not healthy and consistanly gets hurt I MUST find someone that can show up, because the work still has to get done.

    • TT doesn’t draft for immediate need, an example is #12, which you have to give him credit for. Bulaga and Raji were needs that fell to him but he wouldn’t trade up to get them. I personally think Jackson and the 2nd round QB we cut were more need picks and out of character for TT. Trading up is also a rarity. But he had so much luck with Matthews he might do it again.

      • True, I’d catagorize Arod as a BPA since he was a falling star that year. We were lucky!

      • Rick

        I somewhat disagree with you Mark. Brian Brohm was supposed to be THE quarterback when he went to Louisville and was very hyped all through his years there.
        I watched him and he looked NFL ready especially in his junior year- some even had him picked as early 1st round material.

        I think we did draft him because he was the best player still on TT’s big board. I was not against the move because we needed to develop a solid backup QB for AR. I just didn’t think it would be Flynn from LSU that would do it.

        Matt Flynn and Ryan Fitzpatrick(Bills) are two guys that are football smart. Athletic but not great so they have to work hard to succeed at this level. Now they have stronger arms and are more gifted then they ever were in College or when drafted originally.

        Maybe Brohm will make the leap as well.

        • Rick, #12 had never started a game and was injured the previous 2 years. He outplayed #4 vs the Cowboys but had no viable backup. I saw a desperate need and though Brohm was top rated I’m convinced TT would have gone elsewhere if he were in the same position today.

          • Rick

            Good Points. I no longer disgree.
            I guess we may be both right. We had a need pick fall to us in the draft that was the best player available and a possible starter QB, it just worked out.

            Unfortunately Brohm just could not beat out Flynn and was odd man out.

  • dave76

    I’m looking forward to seeing a good dose of Starks again.I think running between Sitton and Bulaga looks like our best blocking combo. I do like the swing passes to BJax, that definitley seems to be his strength and it worked well last week. On and 1, I still like Kuhn to plow forward, like Dallas uses Marion Barber these days. Someone already said earlier not to get too excited and give Starks too many carries. Excellent point, let him get into “football shape” slowly, and he can hit his stride by Bears game and playoffs. 49ers and Lions were a good time of somewhat “weaker teams” to get Starks going. I am very optomistic with Starks working out for us. I can’t help but think of Starks next year with Grant and Finley back on O. WOW!

    • Careful dave, remember how TT gets hammered for drafting the wounded if he does’t work out.

      • Rick

        You so crazy 🙂

    • dave76

      True LT. I am a TT fan and although all draft picks are not going to pan out, IMO, TT has done an excellent job in the draft. For me, the good outweighs the bad easily. Starting with #12 at the most critical position, could end up being his best ever draft pick. His picks, through all our injuries, have really shown their true potential. Maybe even some upgrades. But you are right, some look for a failed, injured, draft pick to drop the bomb on him. To me, 8-4 with all our injuries, means he has drafted well to cover. I always like to look to the light though, not back in the shadows, just me.

      • Rick

        I will say that TT has struck much gold later in the draft and other than Harrell and Brohm (maybe Pat Lee- another Harrel in the making injury wise ) he so far has not missed on many of our higher draft picks.

        AR, Bulaga, Raji, Nelson, Burnett are great examples.

        The late round and UDFA’s we have picked up has been simply amazing. Brad Jones(7th), Zombo(UDFA), Shields(UDFA), CJ Wilson(5th) to name a few.

        The FA aquisition has always been light until this year but how effective it has been.

        Woodson, Peprah, Smith, Pickett, Poppinga etc.

      • dave76

        Good point on FA Rick. You’re right, later rounds have been brilliant.

        • Rick

          Nope. It was your good point first.

          I just added a quick review to back it up.

  • Other than me, does Flynn remind anybody of Bart Starr. Just thinking out of the box.

    • Rick

      Not really, but you have peaked my curiosity. In what way(s)does he to you?

    • Late round pick out of the SEC with a below average arm and average mobility. Good, self confident leader with football awreness who played within his system and without mental mistakes. Where they differ was all Starr’s passes came off play action, the result of an intimidating running game. Much like Griese with the perfect Dolphins. The league doesn’t play that game any longer and MM doesn’t coach that so I don’t see 5 Championships in his future. Could be a steady backup, I have seen improvement.

      • Rick

        Very intersting. I never put the SEC/ ball control images together. I guess Starr in my mind was always “born” a Packer. 🙂

        Flynn can make throws and run an offense better then he ever could on the National Champ LSU team. His velocity has improved a lot. Luckily he always had a good accurate compact throwing motion.

        He can make reads and throws now he never could have pulled off two years ago.

    • Mark covered most of it, but I was thinking of the sitting around doing nothing until Lombardi went with him when Parilli and McHan flopped. Wondering if we will be able to keep him, ala, all those we lost when Favre was here. I guess looking for a tandem like Starr and Bratkowski. Ah, those were good times.

  • Rick

    I guess the Giants are stranded in Kansas City because the storm kept them out of Minnesota.

    • dave76

      I vote Giants must forfeit if they can’t make game time, no excuses!

      • Rick

        We wish. That would tip the tie breakers further to GB for the playoffs.

      • Nah, they’ll rent a bunch of Hummers and drive up.

  • Well, its solved, move the game to Monday…..!
    Seems DET going with a 2 and a half man team, hard not to be overconfident. Suh handled pretty well last time by Wells and Sitton; when he slides over there is an improving, every game, Bulaga.
    Burleson-Johnson pretty much their O without Best and down to their 3rd QB. How would you like to go with Harrell, Nance, Jennings, and DD only? Maybe one of those trap situations but it takes more talent than that to spring it. Traps are not usually effective with third string QBs.