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Packers “hopeful” for James Starks breakout year

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The Packers of Vince Lombardi might have made the power sweep their signature play, but the Packers of Mike McCarthy haven’t had much use for it.

They are a passing team, gaining more than 72 percent of their yards through the air since McCarthy took over the reins. No one is expecting things to swing too far in the other direction this season, but the team is looking to James Starks to provide some balance. Injuries have cost him 16 games over his first two seasons, but the flashes of talent have been there and offensive coordinator Tom Clements has high hopes that they will translate to a breakout season.

“You hope that every guy gets better every year,” Clements said, via Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “He has a lot of ability. He’s powerful, runs hard, catches the ball out of the backfield pretty well. We’re hopeful.”

The Packers aren’t particularly deep at tailback behind Starks. Alex Green is coming off of a torn ACL and may not be ready for the first week of the season and Brandon Saine has just 18 career carries. There are veteran options like Cedric Benson and they could bring Ryan Grant back, but there’s no sign that the Packers are going to move in that direction.

While the team still has hopes for Green, it looks like the onus is going to be on Starks. The team’s reliance on passing makes it a bit easier to lean heavily on one running back, although Starks is going to have to stay healthy to make good on the high hopes for his performance.

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8 Responses to “Packers “hopeful” for James Starks breakout year”
  1. dv5454 says: Jul 6, 2012 11:32 AM

    The Alex Green injury last season was tough. Ted Thompson isn’t taking a running back in the 3rd round unless there is some ability. The kid could run, cut, and has hands. ACL injuries are tricky though.

    Grant is done. He has no burst left. ”

    Saine is just a guy.

    Starks – He has shown flashes but doesn’t have big play ability. Still, I don’t think that is necessary in the offense the Pack runs. If he can pick up the blitz and get 3-4 yards a carry, he’s doing exactly what the team asks. His TD’s won’t be high – Rodgers throws the ball a lot in the red zone – as he should – and Kuhn and others may take a couple more TD’s away. But Starks is solid, just not spectacular.

    Go Pack Go

  2. buffalobills2012 says: Jul 6, 2012 11:35 AM

    james starks is a local kid (niagara falls) and is a class act. Met him on numerous occasions before he was drafted and came away impressed and hopeful he would make it. 1st met him when he was a junior at UB when he was working the scoreboard during a summer league basketball game at his high school. Im sure he could have been at a lot of places but was there giving back and volunteering. I hope the kid rushes for 2000 yards.

  3. lionspaw71 says: Jul 6, 2012 12:43 PM

    He just need to be a solid back. Nor much will be asked of him

  4. pappert says: Jul 6, 2012 12:50 PM

    Jaws said Shonn Green was a solid back but a one speed runner. I feel the same exact way about starks.
    Hes a solid number 2 and Id take him for my team. (not my fantasy team lol) Starks is Avg in the Power and Speed Department.

    Thumbs Up If You Agree

  5. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 6, 2012 12:52 PM

    Good luck with that.

  6. len462 says: Jul 6, 2012 1:00 PM

    They’re offense is geared to make the QB look good no matter how much talent he has. They proved that last year. Running back is in afterthought in the system.

  7. schmitty2 says: Jul 6, 2012 4:03 PM

    I shudder to think how good the Pack would be with a decent running game. How would a DC plan to stop that AND the pass attack?

  8. teal379 says: Jul 6, 2012 5:11 PM

    A back needs to be able to do 2 things in McCarthy’s offense.

    1. Pick up the blitz (with a QB like Rodgers – you MUST protect him)

    2. Catch a pass out of the backfield

    McCarthy uses short passes (either to RB’s or WR’s on the line or just across) just like a hand off.

    Aaron’s a rather accurate passer with low turn over numbers and he can afford to use that as a run.

    70%+ passing isn’t like they’re throwing the ball 20 yards down the field on every pass – they use those short ones like runs.

    Hope Starks comes in and shows some of his promise – would be nice if the guy covering Finely had to worry just a little bit about the RB in the backfield and trick him into coming down a little. Might get him some more opportunities.

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