Packers still looking to get Starks involved

Weston Hodkiewicz
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The numbers may say otherwise, but the Green Bay Packers maintain the backfield platoon of Eddie Lacy and James Starks is still in effect.

Green Bay Packers running back James Starks dives for a touchdown.

The Green Bay Packers host the Carolina Panthers Sunday, October 19, 2014, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. 
Wm. Glasheen/Post-Crescent Media

Lacy's production has increased significantly in the Packers' last three games with his 46.3 snaps and 17 touches per game up from 34/15 in Weeks 5-7. Meanwhile, Starks has seen his opportunities dip from 25.3/10.3 to 14.7/5.7 over the last three contests.

Lacy played on the offense's four possessions in Sunday's 53-20 win over Philadelphia, though the Packers didn't call a run on their opening series. Previously, Lacy had been working the first two series before giving way to Starks.

Starks received his first carry on the second drive of the third quarter with the Packers leading 30-6, finishing with 20 snaps to Lacy's 45. Still, running backs coach Sam Gash said Thursday not to read too much into the disparity.

"No reason," said Gash of why Starks didn't enter the game earlier. "It wasn't anything that anybody did and stuff. That was my fault for not getting him in there earlier. I don't think that it was a problem because the head coach hasn't said anything to me.

"Eddie, if he'd been getting three, four, five touches a series and all that, then you pace. But he was just protecting, running routes, and not getting a lot of touches. So I think that when we go, it's kind of based on that. It's based on feel."

The final decision on who handles the football ultimately falls into the lap of coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Tom Clements, but Gash has some freedom to deploy backs at his discretion.

Where it can get it difficult trying to get running backs involved is the Packers' preference to operate in a no-huddle offense, which pushes the tempo and results in fewer substitution opportunities. It's why the Packers placed such a heavy emphasis on all of their backs being able to play on every down.

Starks has 24 yards on 15 carries in his last three games (1.6 yard per attempt), but Gash asserts his chances will come. Right now, Lacy has been the hot hand. He has 414 total yards in his last three starts.

"When I say my fault, I mean just in terms of getting him in," Gash said. "I guess using 'my fault' is a bad word. I just think the flow of the game, the way the game is going, I kind of didn't get him in there. But it'll happen. Oh, yeah, he's going to play. He plays."

-Ryan Wood contributed to this report.

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