Found January 18, 2013 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- All season long, a carousel of running backs spun in and out of the Packers' offense. From James Starks to Cedric Benson to Alex Green to Ryan Grant to DuJuan Harris, there were plenty of serviceable players for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to hand the ball to. That variety has its advantages, but most teams aren't going to carry five running backs with relatively equal talent from one season into the next. This offseason, general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy will have to make the difficult decision of which players among those five are worth hanging onto. Grant, a two-time 1,200-yard rusher who was re-signed late in the season only after injuries hit, probably isn't in the discussion. From there, things get murky. Starks had yet another injury-plagued year beginning with turf toe in preseason that cost him the starting job. But the soon-to-be 27-year-old who helped Green Bay win Super Bowl XLV wants another season with the Packers to prove himself. "I'm going to come back way better; I know I am," Starks said Sunday. "That's my goal, that's my mentality this whole offseason. I'm going to be the best back to come out here and just play, play, play. I'm going to be one of the best backs to come out of injury and be healthy. That's my goal. "I'm going to be better. That's what I'm going to do." Six weeks after Starks returned from turf toe, he suffered a knee injury that didn't allow him to get back on the field, though he was close by playoff time. As has happened all too often in Starks' career, he had started to become an important part in Green Bay's offense again -- carrying the ball 25 times in a Week 11 win in Detroit right before another injury struck. "It's upsetting, but stuff happens," Starks said. "It is frustrating. I will make sure I'm better by the time I come back next year." Starks also believes he can shed his injury-prone label next season. "I'm going to be a little smoother, I'm going to be smarter," Starks said. "Some hits I took were unnecessary, just looking at film and stuff like that. I ain't going to come back and be no different. I'm still going to be a tough runner and just going to minimize those unnecessary hits that might have made me get some injuries somewhere." It was Starks' preseason injury that led the Packers to sign Benson, a veteran free agent coming off three straight 1,000-yard seasons with the Bengals. Benson immediately became Green Bay's starting running back and quickly earned Rodgers' support. However, a Week 5 foot injury ended his season. Now, at age 30, Benson also wants another season with the Packers. "I thought I fit the formula well enough to be very successful and to contribute to the offense," he said. "Hopefully upstairs (Green Bay's front office) feels the same way. A contending team and a team that takes pride in being precise and executing and doing things correct; I'm all for it. "I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from teammates and some of the staff. But they're not the ones that make those decisions." Benson underwent surgery on his left foot in late November and is still in a walking boot, but he has no doubts he'll be healed in time for training camp. "We're just waiting for things to settle down," Benson said. "I feel great. I actually need to slow down. I always want to do more. I want to rush myself to run." It was a disappointing season for Green, the Packers' third-round pick in 2011. Following Benson's injury, and with Starks still recovering, Green got a chance to prove himself as the team's featured running back. He was given the ball 20-plus times in three consecutive weeks but didn't have a per-rush average above 3.0 in any of those games. In the Packers' playoff loss to San Francisco, despite being healthy, Green was on the gameday inactive list. He tore his ACL midway through his 2011 rookie season, and it can take some players a full season of playing to regain full strength and quickness. So it's possible the injury was a contributing factor to Green's struggles, but it also leaves him vulnerable to being out of the Packers' future plans. The biggest backfield surprise of the season, though, came late in the year when Harris, a recent practice-squad call-up, became the team's most impressive running back in 2012. Harris ended up starting four games, including both playoff games, and looks like a player who could be counted on in a significant role next season. The question for Thompson and McCarthy now becomes whether Harris, who is just 5-foot-9, showed enough in his 62 carries for the Packers to put their faith in him. Perhaps he becomes the full-time starter with Green or Starks waiting behind him in case he falters. Maybe the team goes with Benson, the steady veteran, and keeps two of the younger running backs behind him. But the answer might be that none of them are starting-caliber running backs, at least not on a team that has a legitimate chance of winning the Super Bowl every year as long as Rodgers is healthy. If so, it might be time for Thompson to invest one of his top two draft choices in a running back, a strategy that he has shown to be somewhat averse to. In order for the Packers to turn from contenders back into champions, a consistently strong ground game needs to be established. Rodgers didn't have as many big throws this season because most opposing teams dared Green Bay to beat them with the running game and short passing routes. That's why the decision of whether to draft a running back or plan around Harris, Starks, Green and Benson is one that could define the success of the Packers' 2013 season. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Green Bay Packers helmet, uniform concept design

A number of designers have taken their shot at redesigning the Green Bay Packers helmets and uniforms to their liking. Could you imagine Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, or Clay Matthews wearing something like this? Featured are a number of Green Bay Packers’ helmets and uniform designs. Some are interesting options that fans may like and others may strike  a nerve with some fans...

Greg Jennings on his way out of Green Bay

Free agent, Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers,  only played in a total of eight games during the 2012 season but there sure seems to be a ton of hype surrounding the potential free agent. In case you have not seen his commercials, Jennings is currently pimping out Old Spice and the NFL’s own ticket exchange website through television, but most importantly, he’s pimping...

Aaron Rodgers says the read option will fade away

Aaron Rodgers is not convinced that the NFL’s turn to the read option offense scheme will last for an extended period of time.   Please Click Here To Read This Story. The post Aaron Rodgers says the read option will fade away appeared first at Players View Dot Net

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t believe the read-option will last in the NFL

After his team got torched by the 49ers’ read-option last week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he doesn’t believe it will last long. “I think the league is cyclical and things can come back around that were being used 20, 30 years ago. But this too will pass,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com on Tuesday. “Some of...

Packers Overachieved In 2012

Linebacker Erik Walden was one of many mediocre starters for Green Bay There’s no excuse for how poorly the team performed against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs, but looking back, it’s hard to be disappointed in the 2012 Green Bay Packers. If you look objectively at the 24 players (including kickers) who took the majority of snaps at their respective...

Jermichael Finley Expected To Stay in Green Bay

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, tight end Jermichael Finley is expected to be back with the Packers next season.Fantasy Spin:Finley received a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy earlier in the week. Finley finished 12th among NFL tight ends in receiving yards this season with 667 yards in 16 games.

Highlights: 49ers vs Packers Divisional Round

Highlights from the 49ers Divisional Game Playoff win over the Green Bay Packers.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.