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Packers plan to split backfield reps Thursday night

Ryan Grant , Charles Woodson AP

There has been plenty of speculation about the Packers backfield this year, with one primary question. Who will be The Man between James Starks and Ryan Grant?

The early answer is there is no answer.  The Packers will rotate their backs.

“We know what they can do,” running backs coach Jerry Fontenot told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “It’s just a matter of getting them comfortable and making sure they’ve gotten enough reps to do it. The only way I see them doing that is getting them as equal of work as I possibly can.”

The best laid plans when it comes to carry distribution often changes quickly once the rhythm of the game is established.  Fontenot said both players will be used in all situations and an effort will be made to split reps equally.

They will be facing a remodeled Saints front seven that is without Will Smith and has major questions at linebacker.

Grant isn’t great as a receiver, and Starks had mixed efforts in pass protection in the preseason.  Starks is more explosive at this stage of his career.  The Packers will essentially see how the backfield develops and mix and match from there.

“So, what course is better? I don’t know,” Fontenot said. “We’ll find out.”

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43 Responses to “Packers plan to split backfield reps Thursday night”
  1. scudbot says: Sep 6, 2011 9:27 AM

    I think the Packers receiver issue is pretty well covered by 5 WRs and 5 TEs, one of whom likes to line up wide.

  2. glac1 says: Sep 6, 2011 9:46 AM

    It starts in the trenches. If the Packers can put together a line and establish any running game they will go to the next level.

  3. medtxpack says: Sep 6, 2011 9:46 AM

    not a bad problem to have…

  4. kibawib says: Sep 6, 2011 9:50 AM

    Well regardless of who carries the rock on Thursday we’ll get to see how the greatest team to ever play football (just ask Peter King) matches up against the Saints team they were able to duck in last year’s playoffs.

  5. mdd913 says: Sep 6, 2011 9:54 AM

    Think the Packers offensive line is going to have its hands full with the Saints defensive line. The pressure is going to come right up the middle blitzing linebackers and safeties over Shaun Rogers and Sedrick Ellis.

    It will be an interesting chess match for sure. But I think these defenses aren’t getting enough credit. I’m predicting a low-scoring, 17-14 kind of game.

  6. hailvictory44 says: Sep 6, 2011 9:55 AM

    kibawib says:
    Sep 6, 2011 9:50 AM
    Well regardless of who carries the rock on Thursday we’ll get to see how the greatest team to ever play football (just ask Peter King) matches up against the Saints team they were able to duck in last year’s playoffs.
    ——————————————

    Maybe the Saints should have “ducked” in last year’s playoffs….wait I forgot, they did. *cue video clip of Saint’s defense “ducking” Marshawn Lynch*

  7. rpiotr01 says: Sep 6, 2011 9:57 AM

    Translation: 40+ pass attempts per game.

  8. MCxShow says: Sep 6, 2011 9:59 AM

    There’s not gonna be many carries to split when Rodgers is picking apart defenses w/ a 5 wide set and Finley in the slot.

  9. scudbot says: Sep 6, 2011 10:03 AM

    kibawib: Look on the bright side. Only five more days till you can watch McNabb’s patented skip passes.

  10. tonyt33 says: Sep 6, 2011 10:06 AM

    If one back can’t catch and the other can’t pass block, then it sounds like neither of them are of much use on passing downs.

  11. scudbot says: Sep 6, 2011 10:23 AM

    “If one back can’t catch and the other can’t pass block, then it sounds like neither of them are of much use on passing downs.” Alex Green and John Kuhn.

  12. robf2010 says: Sep 6, 2011 10:25 AM

    “There’s not gonna be many carries to split when Rodgers is picking apart defenses w/ a 5 wide set and Finley in the slot.”

    Who quarterbacks when they do that?

  13. pigskinswag says: Sep 6, 2011 10:33 AM

    We’ve had major questions at linebacker in New Orleans since the days of the Dome Patrol. Outside of Jonathan Vilma, the outside ‘backers are really interchangeable. Dhani Jones is a guy I’d like to see us take a look at. The two games that Will Smith is going to miss gives Cameron Jordan a chance to show why he was worthy of a first round selection, because it’s been so far, so average for him thus far.

  14. snoop24 says: Sep 6, 2011 10:34 AM

    One dimensional team that won’t have the same success as last year. They had a nice run at the right time, but let’s all remember the Bears won the division last year. This will be the Achilles heal and they will be a 500 team this year.

  15. mdd913 says: Sep 6, 2011 10:46 AM

    Who quarterbacks when they do that?

    —————————————————————-

    Rodgers still quarterbacks but it’s because they don’t need any offensive linemen. He just snaps the ball to himself and teleports himself into the backfield to catch the ball. Then if he is getting rushed, he simply sprouts wings and flies around for a while until he can find one of his 19,000 eligible receivers. This is most often Jermichael Finley who has a knack for scaring off DB’s with his laser beam shooting eyes or Greg Jennings with his mythical fire breath.

  16. purpleguy says: Sep 6, 2011 10:49 AM

    Who in Hades cares about the Pack running game? It’s not like they needed it last year.

  17. lonespeed says: Sep 6, 2011 10:57 AM

    The Packers are a passing offense.

    Ryan Grant will start the game. James Starks will get most of the action in the second quarter, and if the two minute offense at the close of the half is required, it will be Starks who will be on the field most.

    Grant will get some token carries in the second-half.

    Starks will play the majority of the second-half. If the Packers build a lead, Grant will close it out for them. If the Packers are in a fight, Starks will be part of a more aggressive shot-gun offense as the game comes to a close.

    Seems pretty obvious this will be cadence of the game.

  18. tformation says: Sep 6, 2011 11:03 AM

    Heh. Just realized that Jerry Fontenot is the running backs coach of the Pack now. I remember him from the lean years of Bears teams. Always good to see ex-Bears landing in coaching positions… even for the Pack!

  19. gregjennings85 says: Sep 6, 2011 11:44 AM

    snoop24:

    “One dimensional team that won’t have the same success as last year. They had a nice run at the right time, but let’s all remember the Bears won the division last year. This will be the Achilles heal and they will be a 500 team this year.”

    _________________________________

    If only we could all be as intelligent as snoop.

    Good God.

    Great call on their achilles “heel”, bud. And, what is it, again?

    Riiiiiiiiight.

    Don’t hurt yourself.

  20. abelgein says: Sep 6, 2011 12:07 PM

    off subject but is anyone else pumped about Vic So’oto?!

  21. glac1 says: Sep 6, 2011 12:13 PM

    If Rodgers has time to throw he’ll pick anyone apart… and if he has time to throw AND they can run the ball the sky’s the limit for this offense.

  22. smoothjimmyapollo says: Sep 6, 2011 12:16 PM

    “Well regardless of who carries the rock on Thursday we’ll get to see how the greatest team to ever play football (just ask Peter King) matches up against the Saints team they were able to duck in last year’s playoffs.”

    While I think the Saints are a good team, you would think their fans would want to avoid drawing attention to the Saints’ playoff performance last year.

  23. welzy says: Sep 6, 2011 12:21 PM

    snoop24 says:Sep 6, 2011 10:34 AM

    One dimensional team that won’t have the same success as last year. They had a nice run at the right time, but let’s all remember the Bears won the division last year. This will be the Achilles heal and they will be a 500 team this year.
    ——————————————-

    Wait… what? Are you drunk?

  24. boiler72 says: Sep 6, 2011 12:30 PM

    off subject but is anyone else pumped about Vic So’oto?!

    __________________________________

    I am, totally. I ordered a SO’OTO jersey, just to annoy everyone who hates the Packers.

  25. bluestree says: Sep 6, 2011 12:34 PM

    “Well regardless of who carries the rock on Thursday we’ll get to see how the greatest team to ever play football (just ask Peter King) matches up against the Saints team they were able to duck in last year’s playoffs.”

    The only ducking that went on in the playoffs was the Saints defensive backs ducking Marshawn Lynch.

  26. gregjennings85 says: Sep 6, 2011 12:39 PM

    So’oto is going to be a household name, come Friday morning.

    Book it.

  27. mdd913 says: Sep 6, 2011 1:21 PM

    While I think the Saints are a good team, you would think their fans would want to avoid drawing attention to the Saints’ playoff performance last year.

    —————————————————–

    Considering the pattern of Super Bowl winners not even returning to the playoffs in recent years, I think the Saints did OK. 11-5 is nothing to sneeze at.

    The Saints team that played in the playoffs was a hollow shell of itself given all the injuries they had.

  28. ruvelligwebuike says: Sep 6, 2011 1:27 PM

    Can’t wait until Thursday. A battle between two well-run, well-coached franchises that have conquered natural disasters to reach the pinnacle of football.

    New Orleans: Rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina

    Green Bay: Being in a state that touches Minnesota.

  29. kibawib says: Sep 6, 2011 1:37 PM

    “The only ducking that went on in the playoffs was the Saints defensive backs ducking Marshawn Lynch.” — you’re right, the Pack looked so strong losing 7-3 at Detroit last year, and narrowling beating the woeful Bears squad. And who could forget Packer Nation trembling as Caleb Hanie had the ball with a chance to win the NFC Championship game in the final minutes. My bad, I forgot the team-without-a-weakness was unbeatable.

  30. purpleisreallypinkyouknow says: Sep 6, 2011 1:48 PM

    snoop24 says:Sep 6, 2011 10:34 AM

    One dimensional team that won’t have the same success as last year. They had a nice run at the right time, but let’s all remember the Bears won the division last year. This will be the Achilles heal and they will be a 500 team this year.
    __________________________________

    What you meant to say was….

    “A VERY deep team that became one dimensional team after 15 starters, including their starting RB, went on the IR. They had a nice run with what they had left on the bench. Let’s remember that the Bears won the division last year, only to be beat silly at home against this team in the NFC Championship game.”

    Are you for real..? If anything…I’d be more concerned about not finishing behind the Lions and Vikes. If I were you, I’d worry more about these 5 things: 1) Want kind of schism that a very overrated and overpaid Lance Briggs (Zambrano Part II) is going to do to this locker room. 2) How long the Roy Williams experiment will last. 3) How long until Johny Knox is broken in half. 4) Realizing just how important Greg Olsen was to your team. 5) How Cutler will handle 8 men in the box bringing heat and stopping Forte at the line.
    My guess is: not so well.
    You are a baffoon to think they would be anywhere near .500, unless Rodgers goes down for the season. This team could beat most of the league each week with its back-ups….something they did for the last 2 months last season.

  31. mineallmine001 says: Sep 6, 2011 1:50 PM

    boiler72 says:Sep 6, 2011 12:30 PM

    off subject but is anyone else pumped about Vic So’oto?!

    __________________________________

    I am, totally. I ordered a SO’OTO jersey, just to annoy everyone who hates the Packers.

    ———————————————————-
    Just imagine how beastly the defense will be if he turns out to be anywhere near as good as CM3. Forget about the offense that defense would scary good!

  32. purpleisreallypinkyouknow says: Sep 6, 2011 1:52 PM

    I failed to mention that “snoop24′s” team will also start out a solid 0-3.

    Good luck with that.

  33. shaggytoodle says: Sep 6, 2011 1:58 PM

    I don’t think it really matters who carries the rock, the Packers are a pass first offense so they are going to split 25 carries or so?

    I dont play in fantasy league but the only time the Packers are going to commit to any sort of run is if they are winning in the fourth quarter.

  34. mdd913 says: Sep 6, 2011 2:41 PM

    New Orleans: Rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina

    Green Bay: Being in a state that touches Minnesota.

    —————————————————————

    Now this is funny.

    No matter who wins, it’s nice to know that Packers and Saints fans are united in their disdain for all things Vikings.

  35. axespray says: Sep 6, 2011 3:09 PM

    As long as Grant & Starks can average more than 1.2 ypc then our running game will be a huge improvement this year.

  36. wafflestomp says: Sep 6, 2011 5:31 PM

    First, I too am looking forward to a great game by two organized and well run franchises.

    I’ll adress the post by acknowledging that I have alot more faith in our ground game than I ever did last year.
    But, in saying that, no matter how much McCarthy talks about wanting to run the football, he just doesn’t have the stomach to commit. He simply doesn’t. Maybe someday he’ll prove me wrong but I doubt it.

    Thank God we have a pretty good passing attack. But at some points throughout the season you are going to have to grind it out.

    Also, I don’t know jack about V. So’oto, having only watched him playing against scrubs and the Chiefs offense but, I know we wont be watching him this week because he’s the only Packer to be ruled out for Thursdays game due to a back injury.

  37. wafflestomp says: Sep 6, 2011 5:32 PM

    New Orleans: Rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina

    Green Bay: Being in a state that touches Minnesota

    Oh yeah, I enjoyed this one too.

  38. ruvelligwebuike says: Sep 6, 2011 6:03 PM

    “I’ll adress the post by acknowledging that I have alot more faith in our ground game than I ever did last year.
    But, in saying that, no matter how much McCarthy talks about wanting to run the football, he just doesn’t have the stomach to commit. He simply doesn’t. Maybe someday he’ll prove me wrong but I doubt it.”
    —————-

    Outside of the first 11 weeks last year, I’d say the McCarthy era has done pretty well on the ground. Ryan Grant was the 4th leading rusher in the NFL between mid-2007 until his injury…and Starks was the league leader in playoff rushing.

    Down and distance plays a lot into it, and when Brandon Jackson is getting you one yard on first down and you have one of the best in the league at chuckin the rock, you line up five wide and make them stop you. How’d that work down the stretch last year?

  39. mineallmine001 says: Sep 6, 2011 6:56 PM

    Playoff or not. Repaet or not.

    I will take great joy in watching the viking get pummeled to the turf weekly.

    Viking fans, say Hi to the lion as you pass them down the stairs to the NFC basement. Enjoy your craptastic season. I know I will.

  40. balzosteel says: Sep 6, 2011 8:23 PM

    The Packers are gonna do a lot of rhythmic combo “backfield reps” on the rest of the league this season. You watch!

  41. brewdogg says: Sep 6, 2011 8:48 PM

    How does a thread about the Packers running game (which was joined to discuss the upcoming Saints game, which is perfectly understandable) devolve into Viking bashing?

  42. contra74 says: Sep 6, 2011 9:42 PM

    mineallmine001 says:
    Sep 6, 2011 6:56 PM
    Playoff or not. Repaet or not.

    I will take great joy in watching the viking get pummeled to the turf weekly.

    Viking fans, say Hi to the lion as you pass them down the stairs to the NFC basement. Enjoy your craptastic season. I know I will.

    —————-
    Just goes to show you how very true it is that Packer fans dont care about how their own team does but rather how another team does. It doesnt matter if the Packers win that week, what matter is whether or not the Vikings lose? Man you are pathetic!

  43. mineallmine001 says: Sep 7, 2011 11:40 AM

    contra74 says:Sep 6, 2011 9:42 PM

    mineallmine001 says:
    Sep 6, 2011 6:56 PM
    Playoff or not. Repaet or not.

    I will take great joy in watching the viking get pummeled to the turf weekly.

    Viking fans, say Hi to the lion as you pass them down the stairs to the NFC basement. Enjoy your craptastic season. I know I will.

    —————-
    Just goes to show you how very true it is that Packer fans dont care about how their own team does but rather how another team does. It doesnt matter if the Packers win that week, what matter is whether or not the Vikings lose? Man you are pathetic!

    —————-

    Of course I care how they do. In fact a superbowl repeat and a vikings 0-16 would be a perfect season. That could actualy happen. But if things don’t go as well I know I will find some happiness knowing that your pathetic team will get smashed weekly.

    Another year will pass and minihaha will have no meaningful title to hang up. If you would like to see whats ahead have a look at the jills franchise.

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