Starks suffered his turf toe injury during the Packers first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers on August 7. He has been unable to do much since then as the injury has taken longer than expected to heal. Head coach Mike McCarthy did say that Starks recently began running during rehabilitation workouts.
With Starks’ injury, the Packers will rely on veteran Cedric Benson to handle a majority of the carries. Expect to see second-year player Alex Green see some significant playing time while John Kuhn will handle most of the third down snaps.
The 49ers had the top ranked defense in the NFC last season and were terrific at stopping the run. If the Packers are unable to get a rushing attack going, it could be a long day for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, if Benson and the other running backs are able to get any kind of positive yardage it will help greatly in the passing game.
Green Bay prides itself on the play-action passing game but Benson lining up in the backfield will not be enough to fool San Francisco’s defense. Benson will have to have a few decent carries early in the game to get the defense to bite. Once that is established, Rodgers and the NFL’s top receiving corps should be able to pick apart the secondary.
There is no question not having Starks in the lineup for Week 1 is a big loss, but it is not as bad as it would have been in previous years. With the addition of Benson, the emergence of Green, and the reliability of Kuhn the Packers running back corps should be well intact to take on San Francisco.