Green Bay Packers' Running Back Cedric Benson Likely to Start Week 1

By Kevin Van Pelt

It was just one month ago that Green Bay Packers running back Cedric Benson wasn’t playing for any team and his 2012 season looked like it was going to be in jeopardy. Now with a turf toe injury to the Packers starting running back James Starks, it looks like Benson will have a chance to prove himself as a legitimate starter for Green Bay.

Starks was slated to be the opening day starter at running back, but with his turf toe injury, it looks like he will be doubtful for Week 1. This leaves Benson and Alex Green to battle for the starting job in his absence. Green is coming off major knee surgery and the Packers are leaning towards the veteran Benson. Over his last three season with the Cincinnati Bengals, Benson has rushed for over 1,000 yards in all three of those seasons. The Packers need a consistent running back like Benson in the backfield who can be count on to get 1,000 yards for them in a season.

Green has more speed and agility to make the big plays, but Benson provides great power to run in between the tackles and move the sticks. There has been a lack of a power running game for the Packers in the past few years and Benson is the perfect fit for this flaw. He is the type of running back you want to have on your team on third and short situations or in goal line situations.

Benson practiced in full pads with the team for the first since August 12th last Sunday and coach Mike McCarthy was impressed with what he saw.

“I thought he was fast to the hole,” McCarthy said. “I was impressed with him. There were a couple of runs where you could see his natural inside-run instincts where he drops his weight.

“His footwork, I don’t expect it to be right on the money, especially with our quarterbacks and what we’re asking him to do compared to what he’s done in the past. But I thought he had a good day.”

The Packers next preseason game will be against Benson’s former team, the Bengals, and it will be his first time seeing game action with the team. This will be great game to see what Benson can provide for this offense and whether or not he will be the right fit in place of Starks for now and possibly the future.


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