Will Ben McAdoo pilfer the Green Bay Packers’ roster?


James Starks carries against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field last November.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

It’s inevitable that coaches, such as Ben McAdoo, who leave one team (the Green Bay Packers), reach back to snatch a player or two from their former team.

Recent reports indicate that may be the case as February turns to March and the NFL Free Agency period gets under way.

The first report surfaced just a couple of days after McAdoo accepted the offensive coordinator’s position with the New York Giants. That report stated that the Giants would go after Packers tight end Andrew Quarless. Only a couple of days later, it was reported that the Giants may also show an interest in free agent running back James Starks, who had a successful season backing up rookie Eddie Lacy, though he did miss a couple of games because of a leg injury.

Andrew Quarless, known as a good blocker, does his business against the Eagles last November.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

In 13 games this season Starks had 89 carries for 493 yards and three touchdowns – and that was in fill-in situations, for the most part, for starter Lacy. Anyone who watched the Packers play this season knows that Starks was highly valued.

When he was on the field he averaged well over five yards per carry and ran with a reckless abandon that hasn’t been seen for some time in Green Bay. When combined with the pounding style of Lacy, the two of them formed a combo that reminded me a lot of Jimmy Taylor and Paul Hornung.

The two of them gave the Packers a running game to concern opponents’ defensive coordinators and had they both been healthy for the entire season, those numbers would have been even better.

Same goes for Quarless, who stepped into the Packers lineup when starter Jermichael Finley went down with a season-ending injury – an injury that may just turn out to be career-ending.

He ended the season with 32 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns – not sterling statistics, but given the fact that for much of the time he was on the field he was on the receiving end of passes being flung by Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn.

Now with McAdoo setting up shop in the Big Apple, there’s no reason to think that he won’t step back into the arena of the known. He worked directly with Quarless and knows what he brings to the table. And though he’s not been directly affiliated with the running backs in Green Bay, he’s watched what Starks is capable of doing to a defense – when he’s healthy.

I would be shocked if McAdoo doesn’t reach back toward those Green Bay free agents who could help the Giants take a step in the direction of becoming a better team. Starks and Quarless could do just that.

The bigger question here in Packers Nation is whether Ted Thompson covets these two players enough to offer them contracts that will keep them in Green Bay. Do the Packers move on or do they open the wallet a bit wider to entice them to wear the Green and Gold for another two, three, four years or more.

As the calendar turns from February and into March the discussions are likely to start heating up. By then we should know if Thompson is comfortable with the running backs he has in camp and whether he’ll let these two guys take a jaunt down the road. If he does, the general manager will most likely have to dip into the draft for a young tight end and maybe another running back to restock the team’s talents.

On this issue, stay tuned …