James Starks an Unexpected Weapon for Already Dominant Aaron Rodgers-Led Packers

Ryan WolcottContributor IIJanuary 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  James Starks #44 of the Green Bay Packers avoids the tackle of Ernie Sims #50 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

James Starks was a shining star in the rush game by the Green Bay Packers last night in the Wild Card victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Starks was clearly the best threat to rush through the entire game last night with 123 yards on 23 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He also had two receptions for nine yards.

The only thing Starks did not get out of this game was his first touchdown in the NFL.

Going into the Packers-Eagles game this week, I expected the Packers’ offense, led by Aaron Rodgers, who can dissect a defense just as well as Peyton Manning, to throw the majority of the game.

I also expected Rodgers' passing to make the difference in the game, especially since the best opportunity for the Eagles to make a difference was through the rush game, and Michael Vick was not 100 percent during the game last night.

I was correct in my prediction that the Packers would win and that the difference would be in the Packers' passing offense beating the Eagles' passing defense and the Packers' passing defense beating the Eagles' passing offense. What was unexpected was the rush game that Starks performed last night.

Overall, for the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, Starks had the second most rushing yards and third in yards per carry. Looking at the rest of the time that Starks played in this season, his rookie season, he only had 101 yards on 29 carries.

In the pass game, Rodgers did not have the best day for fantasy football fans. Vick had 112 more passing yards than Rodgers on two more completions. Vick had one passing touchdown and one interception. However, Rodgers was the big difference because he passed for three touchdowns.

Although the game was won through Rodgers' passing, the rush game of Starks and the threat that he posed against the defense may have kept the Eagles’ defense off balance enough throughout the game.

So could James Starks be the future of the rush game for the Packers? I would think that he may have proven himself in yesterday’s performance against the Eagles. Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league already. If he is paired with a more effective run game, perhaps through Starks, the Packers offense will be able to keep opposing defenses off balance and could be even more destructive.

Rodgers and Starks could very well be the future highlights of the Packers’ offense, especially once Starks becomes a little more seasoned and experienced with playing in NFL.

Rodgers can dominate the best passing defenses in the NFL, and having a threat like Starks in the backfield could add a further threat to the Packers' fifth-ranked offense. Starks has the definite potential to be that threat, and he will have another test this week against the Atlanta Falcons.