Packer Update

Starks is no one-hit wonder

Rookie halfback performed well in his second playoff game

The numbers weren’t nearly as good as they were against the Eagles, but James Starks’ performance on Saturday night in Atlanta was still very encouraging. Playing against a much bigger and much better defense that actually knew who he was and had an entire week to prepare for him, the talented rookie from Buffalo rushed for 42 hard-earned yards on 14 carries while the outcome of the game was still somewhat in question. He also handled his duties in pass protection without incident.

Green Bay’s offensive line pushed Philadelphia around in the Wild Card game, but that wasn’t the case against the Falcons. Atlanta’s front four more than held its own at the point of attack. That’s why Starks’ effort was so promising. He often made something out of absolutely nothing – the No. 1 trait of any good back. He ran hard, and at 6’2, he was able to make himself small when necessary. He also showed some wiggle and a neat little hesitation move that nobody had seen in his previous four games.

Some quick thoughts:

-Few players have improved as much this season as C.J. Wilson. The rookie defensive end seemingly played his way onto the practice squad in August, but general manager Ted Thompson surprisingly decided to retain him on the 53-man roster. At the time, it appeared to be a matter of simply keeping a young player with some talent away from other teams. But that hasn’t proven to be the case. The former East Carolina star has gotten better every week and is now a key part of the defensive line rotation. How key? Wilson started at right end against the Falcons in coordinator Dom Capers’ 4-4-3 package.

-There’s no question that Donald Driver has lost a step a two, but rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Finally over a nagging calf injury that hampered him for most of November and December, the 36-year-old has caught 16 balls for 173 yards in the past three must-win games. He’s also firmly reestablished himself as an integral part of the passing game. Driver might be supplanted as the No. 2 receiver next season, but it doesn’t look as if he’ll be supplanted on the roster any time soon.

-An injury to a starter is rarely a positive thing, but it has been in the case of Atari Bigby. For some reason, the coaches were determined to get the six-year veteran on the field immediately after he was activated from the physically unable to perform list in early November. A pair of leg injuries scuttled those plans, and that’s been a positive. Journeyman Charlie Peprah is the better safety. The former Alabama star may lack ideal size and speed, but he’s an extremely cerebral player who fits nicely in this defense.

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8 Comments to "Starks is no one-hit wonder"

  1. bob says:

    I dont knonw about that being that He got over 25 carries and wasnt that outstanding. They they kept running him as if they were trying to prove a point with him. While a good runner he still has a lot to learn in being a Pro football player. He will in a year or two be a great back. Right now I feel that Jackson should be in for more critical situations to block and on screen plays. Starks is for right now a 2 game wonder. People bash Jackson but ask Rodgers who he would prefere for protection. Rodgers threw Jackson 2 horrible passes that were uncatchable. Give Jackson a break..He is a 3rd down back and a darn great one. His value has been undermised greatly. Starks was getting pushed over somewhat like Grant in the blocking. The packers have never ran Jackson in that manner so we really dont know the jury is still out.

    • CJS says:

      The Packers have never run Jackson in that manner?? Jackson had every opportunity this season to prove that he was “the man”, but failed. He had one great long run and one good game verses the Pats. The posters below nailed it: when Starks is in the game, the opposing D actually has to respect the running game, because Starks can gash them. Something Brandon Jackson did once this entire season.

      As a 3rd down back, Jackson is good, but certainly replaceable. With a few more reps, Starks will have surpassed Brandon Jackson in this role as well.

  2. Michael Rodney says:

    I never suggested that Starks was outstanding the other night, but he did a pretty good job considering the blocking in front of him. He also did OK in protection. No question Jackson is better against the blitz and more reliable as a receiver right now, but there’s no comparison when it comes to running the ball. It’s too soon to anoint Starks, but the early returns are encouraging. That’s all I was trying to say with this post.

  3. jr says:

    Jackson is a good 3rd down back but he’s nowhere as good a runner as james starks.

  4. newcomer says:

    I agree with this post. Starks at least provides the threat of a decent run. Defenses now have to account for this possibility, something they rarely had to do before against the Packers.

  5. Jerry says:

    Exactly right. Defenses now have to at least respect our running game a little. Starks has the speed to go the distance. He reminds me of Grant, but with a little more shiftiness.

  6. Archie says:

    I agree. Starks looks like the real deal as in better than Ryan Grant.

  7. lars says:

    Good points all. I’d still like to keep Grant next year and let them split the duties.

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