In Tuesday’s press conference following the team’s last training camp practice, Coach McCarthy said both veteran backs Alex Green and James Starks have had good camps and he’s excited about the camp Starks has put together.
Going into the Green Bay Packers camp this year, it looked like Green and Starks would have to fight for the last roster spot at running back. With DuJuan Harris done for the season and placed on injured reserve and Jonathan Franklin‘s slow progression to the NFL, it now appears Green and Starks could play bigger roles in the Packers’ backfield this season.
For the first time all year, it looks like the Packers might not have to decide between the two veteran backs, but instead, it’s looking more likely that they will both be on the team’s final roster this year.
Now the question is which back will play a bigger role this season and become a complement to Eddie Lacy in the running game.
Starks began the preseason as the Packers starting running back and he had a few nice runs but didn’t do anything outstanding. Granted, both Harris and Lacy didn’t suit up because of injury, so Starks getting the start might not have meant anything. Starks has disappeared in the preseason since fumbling against St. Louis in the second exhibition game.
Green’s stock on the team has risen as of late. He’s quietly had a good camp and looks like a different back this year. He’s fully recovered from his knee injury and is cutting well and showing some good burst out of the backfield. He had a nice 31-yard run against Seattle on a toss play. He’s also been working as a kick returner on the Packers starting special teams unit. Green is showing his versatility by playing special teams and could offer another option from Jeremy Ross in the return game.
Green can also serve well as a third-down back. He’s both good at receiving out of the backfield and picking up the blitz. However, can Green handle a game’s worth of carries out of the backfield if anything happens to Lacy this season?
I’m not sure. This may be where Starks has the edge over Green. Starks runs hard and isn’t afraid to throw himself at defenders. He can certainly handle full load of carries out of the backfield, but because of his height and upright running style, he’s also more susceptible to injuries.
Green, Starks, and Franklin will each get a long look on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs. With both Green and Starks now good bets to make the Packers’ final roster, the question remains which back will play a bigger role on the team during the season?
With his versatility, my bet is Green, but what do you think?