Breaking Down the Packers' Situation Following Eddie Lacy's Concussion

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Breaking Down the Packers' Situation Following Eddie Lacy's Concussion

Just when it looked like the Green Bay Packers had found a ground game in rookie running back Eddie Lacy, Brandon Meriweather appeared on the schedule.

Lacy was knocked out of the game against the Washington Redskins with a concussion thanks to a helmet-to-helmet hit from Meriweather. 

The problem with concussions is that the recovery time can be all over the place. Some players return the following week while others like Jahvid Best, Austin Collie and Ryan Swope have taken weeks, months and years to recover.

Obviously, the Packers are hoping that Lacy's concussion is as minor as a concussion can be, but Green Bay also has to be ready in case Lacy is out for an extended period of time. Let's break down the Packers' situation at running back after Lacy's concussion.

 

James Starks

To say that Starks has had an up-and-down career with Green Bay could be quite the understatement. After bursting onto the scene during the Packers' Super Bowl run in 2010, he's struggled with injuries since. In 2011, Starks rushed for 578 yards in 13 games and last year he went for only 255 yards in six games.

After getting zero carries in Week 1, Starks was the first running back off the bench once Lacy went down. To say that Starks took full advantage of Lacy's injury would be the understatement of the century. Starks did something that a Packers running back hasn't done in 45 games and almost three years.

As you can see in the chart below, Starks was absolutely fantastic throughout the blowout of the Redskins.

James Starks' Week 2 Production
Rushes Rushing Yards Yards per Carry Rushing TDs Receptions Receiving Yards
20 132 6.6 1 4 36

Via NFL.com

He consistently displayed great vision and the ability to pick up positive yards, as was evident by his average of 6.6 yards per carry. He also showed that he can be a big-play threat with his 32-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

Starks picked a great time to put together the best game of his young NFL career.

 

Other Options

The only options in the backfield for Green Bay other than Lacy and Starks are rookie Johnathan Franklin and fullback John Kuhn. Neither Kuhn nor Franklin received a single carry against the Redskins.

While Kuhn's lack of carries isn't overly surprising, as he's usually used in short-yardage situations, Franklin getting a goose egg was certainly an interesting revelation. Franklin had his struggles throughout the preseason, but he is still a fourth-round pick with plenty of potential. 

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

However, the fact that Franklin didn't receive a single opportunity to touch the ball is quite concerning for his immediate future. Green Bay obviously doesn't feel comfortable with Franklin and his ability to be productive on a consistent basis. 

As for Kuhn, he probably won't see a spike in his carries if Lacy is out for an extended time. He's best used in passing situations and near the goal line where his physical style of play can be best utilized.

 

What Does the Future Hold?

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If Lacy is out for an extended period of time, look for Starks to continue to be the team's No. 1 option at running back. In fact, even if Lacy returns in Week 3, it shouldn't come as a surprise if he begins splitting carries with Starks.

The best possible scenario for the Packers is that Lacy's concussion isn't nearly as bad as it looked and that he and Starks create a dominant one-two punch to complement quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. However, even if that doesn't happen, the future looks surprisingly bright for the Packers' ground game thanks to the outstanding Week 2 performance of Mr. Starks.

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