The Green Bay Packers have struggled to find the right player to be the featured running back for the team the past few years. Mostly they have relied on former Packer Ryan Grant and current Packer James Starks. With Grant gone from the team now, Starks was expected to play a big role with the team, now his turf toe injury might put an end to that.
Starks suffered his turf toe injury during the Packers preseason opener on August 7th and the progress on the injury has been slow. According to what coach Mike McCarthy is saying, he may not be ready for the regular season opener.
“James Starks, just talking to the medical staff, is coming along slow,” McCarthy said after practice Tuesday. “So we’ll just continue to treat him. He hasn’t made a whole of progress here of late.”
The update on Starks’ injury status makes Green Bay’s move of signing Cedric Benson look even smarter as he looks like he will be the opening day starter at running back. Benson made his debut with the Packers during their last preseason game, and he looked fresh and showed the power that the team is looking for.
Alex Green is the Packers backup running back in Starks absence and he is on a rep limit since he is coming off major knee surgery from the year before. He has seen limited time in the preseason so far, but that will change heading into this Thursday’s game.
“Alex Green has definitely prepared himself to be ready for the start of the season,” McCarthy said. “I want to see some production from Alex Thursday night. We had him on a rep count and he’ll continue to be on a rep count this last week.
“What you want to see out of every player with their first real opportunity is for him to make progress, and I feel like he’s done that throughout camp.”
Green has a lot of versatility and should be a great weapon for the Packers to use in the run game and be a great target for Aaron Rodgers to throw the ball to. He has been worked into the offense very slowly and Green’s potential with the team is still very high to this point.
Starks, when healthy, still hasn’t proven much on the field so his position on the team is no t safe if his injury keeps him out for a while. If Benson and Green make a good impression, Starks might be the odd man out.