James Starks isn’t running away with the Green Bay Packers’ starting running back job quite yet.
While the 6-foot-2, 218-pound running back saw his heaviest workload in two-plus NFL seasons during Sunday’s 24-20 win over Detroit, the Packers still plan to incorporate Alex Green into their backfield rotation.
After having three consecutive 20-carry performances last month, Green was relegated to zero carries and only six offensive snaps Sunday as the Packers decided to put the ball into the hands of Starks, who rushed 25 times for 74 yards.
In a platoon with Ryan Grant last season, Starks never rushed more than 13 times in a game. He had that many carries in the first half against the Lions, but the Packers coaching staff still felt Starks left some yardage on the field as the Lions blitzed only four times and played back mostly with two deep safeties.
With Cedric Benson a few weeks away from a return following the Lisfranc foot sprain he sustained on Oct. 7 against Indianapolis, it sounds like the Packers could fall back on a two-man backfield against the New York Giants on Sunday.
“As far as our running game, we left a lot of production on the field was my conclusion after going through the tape and going through the grading sessions with the coaches,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “And frankly, Alex Green not getting carries was a poor performance by myself managing how we were running the ball. We’ll continue forward working both James and Alex and get those guys ready in our preparation for the Giants.”
Two weeks ago against Arizona, the Packers used a pretty even split of Starks and Green, who started three games after Benson’s injury but produced only a 2.4-yards per carry average over that stretch.
Green rushed 11 times for 53 yards against the Cardinals on 41 plays in their no-huddle offense and obvious passing situations with Starks receiving 17 carries for 61 yards on the rest of the backfield snaps.
Although the Packers have been pleased with how Starks has responded since missing the first two months of the season with a turf toe injury, they haven’t forgotten about Green, either.
“He ran hard,” said Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements of Starks. “He pushed the pile a couple times and kept driving his legs and got some extra yardage, but we did leave some yards out there on the field. The line for the run game had blocked pretty well. We missed some holes at times, and had we hit those holes we would’ve been more productive.”