According to ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert, the Green Bay Packers are committed to 2010 sixth round pick James Starks as the featured back in their offense. His report:
The Packers have committed to James Starks as their primary running back. Ryan Grant‘s locker is now occupied, indicating his return is not in the team’s plans, and Tuesday, Starks took the first-team repetitions while second-year back Alex Green continued his recovery from knee surgery. Starks has a long injury history, but coach Mike McCarthy is clearly prepared to take that risk. McCarthy: “He’s a young raw guy that needs to play. If he can stay healthy, I think he’ll make a significant jump as a player.”
My reaction initially is that the Packers really have no choice but to be committed to James Starks. He is really the only healthy back on the roster who has ever played a significant amount in the NFL, so of course they would commit to him at this point. When the competition will really open up is when 2011 third round pick Alex Green gets healthy. Green is a big, fast back out of Hawaii who was a big play waiting to happen every time he touched the ball. If he can get healthy, he can really be an impact player for this team.
Up to this point, Starks hasn’t really done anything in the NFL to prove to me that he can be a true “featured” back, specifically because of his health concerns and lack of overall experience. I think he has a chance to be a very good player, but I won’t read too much into this until Alex Green gets a fair shot at the starting running back gig as well. This could be a real problem area for the Packers this season.