Running back James Starks has only six carries in the past three games
While Alex Green has averaged a pathetic 2.4 yards per carry in the past three games, a now healthy James Starks has carried the ball a total of six times. And five of those six carries came in garbage time against Houston. People can blame the offensive line all they want, but I blame Mike McCarthy. There’s nothing the coach can do at this point about Jeff Saturday’s inability to get even the slightest bit of movement at the line of scrimmage, but there is something he can do about who’s running the ball.
It’s time to reinstate Starks as the No. 1 running back. Remember him? He’s the guy who helped the Packers win the Super Bowl less than two years ago. He’s the guy who was averaging 4.5 yards per carry before spraining an ankle last November. He’s the guy who ran for 8 yards on his only carry on Sunday (which, by the way, was 1 yard longer than Green’s longest run in 22 carries). Look, Starks isn’t perfect. Besides being injury prone, he’s not very reliable in pass protection and he drops too many passes. But the former Buffalo star can run the ball. And that’s what this offense desperately needs.
Jacksonville played six men in the box on Sunday because they had absolutely no respect for Green Bay’s running game. And why should they? Green lacks the vision to see the hole. I noticed that last summer. He’s big and he runs hard, but that doesn’t matter when you’re constantly plowing into the backs of your linemen. I don’t think the former Hawaii star will never be a featured runner at this level, but he has the skills to be a productive third-down back. And that’s exactly the role he should play going forward.
I have absolutely no idea why Starks has been stapled to the bench for the past three games. You’d think one of the beat reporters would ask McCarthy that question, but that’s probably too much to expect. It seems as if the coaching staff has lost confidence in the 26-year-old. Fair enough, but if that’s the case, then he should be released. If he’s on the active roster on game day, he should be used. Especially when the alternative is averaging less yards per carry in 2012 than Michael Haddix averaged in 1990.