Green Bay Packers: Does the Packers Running Game Need a Spark from Starks?

Alex PetersonContributor IIINovember 3, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  James Starks #44 of the Green Bay Packers runs onto the field during pregame introductions and festivities against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

James Starks has been an enigma during his time in Green Bay. Just a few years ago, people discussed whether he should be the featured back for the Packers in the future, but now he has become a forgotten man.

During the Packers 2010 Super Bowl run and to start the 2011 season, Starks looked like an explosive player who had a chance to be a solid NFL runner. Injuries, however, have hindered his progress toward stardom, as he is now seen as a plodder without upside.

While Starks frustrates coaches and fans, this once highly-touted back deserves one more chance to help give the Packers running game a little productivity.

Ever since Cedric Benson went on Injured Reserve with a foot injury, the Packers running game has been disastrous. Mike McCarthy handed the reigns to Alex Green, a third round pick in 2010, and he has failed to produce. He has managed a mere 2.9 yards per carry on 76 attempts, even with defenses focusing on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.

After tearing his ACL last season, Green has looked hesitant in his cuts and lacks the vision to find open holes in the ground game. While it is too early to completely give up on this kid, the Packers cannot accept his poor production.

A change needs to be made, and while the offensive line deserves some of the blame, Green looks incapable of handling the load for an NFL team at this point in his career.

Starks can provide Green Bay with the threat on the ground that they've been looking for since Benson suffered his injury. Averaging 4.3 yards per carry last year and racking up 700 yards of total offense, he's shown ability in the past to provide balance for the Packers.

This guy carried the Packers through the playoffs in 2010, and without his 123 yard outing against the Eagles in the Wild Card round, we might be talking about Aaron Rodgers incapability to win in the postseason instead of of him as a Super Bowl MVP.

He has shown flashes the past two seasons, and considering how pitiful the running game has been thus far, it's surprising that Starks hasn't received more carries.

If he's currently healthy, Starks will be infinitely more productive than Green if McCarthy gives him a chance. He's a more powerful runner who rarely loses yards and, at this point, has a better feel for the game than his counter part.

James Starks has been unreliable, injury prone, and irrelevant in the past, but he has undeniable talent. If the Packers give him one more shot to prove himself, Starks will do what Alex Green cannot: keep defenses honest and help Aaron Rodgers thrive.