There is no question the running back competition has been the most competitive for the Green Bay Packers this summer. There are simply several talented backs that are fighting for what is assumed to be four roster spots. With James Starks getting benched against the St. Louis Rams and his playing time taking a dive, is it possible the Packers are prepared to move on from the fourth-year player?
Starks is the most experienced back on the roster. Green Bay knows what they have in him, which is why other players have been seeing more playing time in practice this week.
“He started the first game,” running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re just trying to make sure guys have the right opportunities through rep count. DuJuan’s been taking a lot of the reps this week just to catch him up.”
The team needs to get DuJuan Harris up to speed after missing time with a knee injury because they feel he can be a big-time contributor. Head coach Mike McCarthy views Harris as a possible starter because of what he accomplished last season. Even if Eddie Lacy in all likelihood will be the featured back at the start of the regular season, Harris appears to have a roster spot locked up.
Starks has been listed as the fifth running back in practice this week, which stems from his dismal performance against the Rams over the weekend. Not only did he fail to properly pick up a blitz, but also he fumbled the ball out of bounds in the fourth quarter, which resulted in Van Pelt taking him out of the game.
It would certainly be unfortunate to see Starks get released considering how much potential he has shown over the last few years. However, the fact is the Packers think very highly of Harris, Lacy and Jonathan Franklin. They also might have a hard time letting Alex Green go, which could leave Starks as the odd man out. Not to mention, his injuries that have only allowed him to suit up for 22 games over a three-year span will certainly come into consideration.
All in all, Green Bay has a very difficult decision in the next couple weeks regarding who will play the running back position. It would be hard to watch Starks get cut from the team but it might be in the best interest of the team to do so.