The Green Bay Packers running game has been absent for nearly three years. Last week against the Washington Redskins it returned with a vengeance. Eddie Lacy’s first run, a 10-yard bolt, was impressive. But a shot to the jaw from Washington’s Brandon Meriweather sent Lacy to the locker room concussed.
Enter James Starks.
What I liked about the performance by Starks is that he was playing fast yet patient at the same time. He was decisive and the game seemed to come easily to him. Despite the usual caveat that his performance came against the Redskins, a poor defensive team, I for one believe Starks is primed for a nice season.
With that said, I am still confident that Lacy is as well. Sunday could have been Eddie Lacy’s break-out performance. But a trip to la-la land allowed Starks to seize the moment. Lacy has looked good, as the insiders and important types say, he has flashed his potential several times since camp.
Welcome to the era of the Lacy/Starks one-two punch. For opposing defenses this could be brutal. Two backs with a bruising running style.
For the Packers it will have pros and cons.
The pros: I believe a running game will make the passing game even more dangerous.
The cons: Two running backs that will often be injured and seldom on the field together.
The pros by far out way the cons. Two running backs that dish out punishment like a bartender slinging drinks at last call is a running style that sends the defense home staggered and a luxury the Packers have not had in some time.
However, this same style will take a toll on both Lacy and Starks. I am certain at different points during the season Lacy and or Starks will be sidelined.
My optimism regarding the Packers running game is not based merely on the potential I see in Lacy and Starks. The offensive line is not overly talented. No news there.
Outside of Josh Sitton there are no big names keeping Aaron Rodgers upright. But there does seem to be a determination and will to succeed running the ball. Following the 49ers game Sitton made remarks that seemed to be directed at Coach McCarthy and his lack of commitment to the running game.
I liked that, to me I got the impression that the offensive line takes pride in their craft. They see the value of the running game.
The mere threat of a successful running game will make Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense all the more dangerous. Green Bay’s offense is predicated on creating mismatches and having more talent on the field than the defense.
If the Lacy/Starks one-two punch can develop into a sincere threat, let me be the first to say that Aaron Rodgers will rewrite the record books.