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RB Green at best sharing the load

Dec. 7, 2012
 

With James Starks out for at least a few weeks because of a knee injury and Cedric Benson on injured reserve for the rest of the season, Alex Green is the Packers’ best halfback.

But that doesn’t mean the Packers will use him like a primary back, like they did when he had a three-game stretch of 20 or more carries earlier in the season. Green averaged only 2.4 yards on his 64 carries combined against Houston, St. Louis and Jacksonville. He’s averaged 4.6 yards in his other 45 carries this season, with no more than 12 carries in any game.

“If we’re rolling and (Green) is carrying it and he’s hot, we’re going to keep feeding it,” said Alex Van Pelt, the Packers' running backs coach. “Ultimately, statistically his best games probably are when he’s sharing reps, as far as average per carry, so we’d like to keep him in a manageable amount of carries in a game and not try to over-work him.”

Fullback John Kuhn is likely to see plenty of snaps in one-back sets because he’s the best pass protector of the running backs. The Packers also appear ready to give newly signed Ryan Grant, who played for them the previous five years, some snaps and perhaps a few carries.

“You obviously don’t want to throw (Grant) to the wolves,” Van Pelt said, “but I think he’s definitely ready to go, and his knowledge of the system, there’s nothing new for him. There’s some things he’s not quite familiar with as far as terminology that are new to everybody here. Those are the little things. But as far as running inside zone, outside zone, those are our lead plays, he knows how to do that. He’s been doing that his whole life.”

Coach Mike McCarthy said this week that DuJuan Harris, the No. 3 halfback, is primarily a special teams player. Harris (5-feet-7 1/8, 203 pounds) is a scat-back type runner, and the longer Starks is out, the greater the chances he could get some touches as a running back.

“He has great feet, great lateral quickness,” Van Pelt said. “He can stop and cut on a dime, as they say, so he’s a little different than what we’ve had in the past with the bigger backs.”

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