James Starks: Green Bay Running Back Runs Straight Up Like Eric Dickerson

Mike RoozenContributor IIApril 28, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  James Starks #44 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Suddenly, last year, just when they needed it most, Green Bay had a guy out there breaking tackles, running to daylight and rolling up yards in what looked to me like a pretty good imitation of Eric Dickerson.

I didn't say he was Dickerson; just that his upright running style reminded me of No. 29 for the Rams, in a very positive way. 

In contrast, and with good reasons, a ton of fans like backs like Emmit Smith.

Coming into the line as if he was shot out of a cannon, with a low, explosive running style, he definitely got the ball through the hole fast and made record yardage.

Additionally, low slashing runners like Barry Saunders can obviously ascend to greatness and roll up record yards as well.

But then again, upright runners like Dickerson can set and smash records of their own.

The thing I like about the way Dickerson ran, and Starks does it as well, is that these folks have a great view of what's going on ahead of them. 

With their body upright, head held almost high, they can see what's going on before their eyes, and accordingly make quick, yard gobbling adjustments.

In any event, I'm sure you will all think I am Starks raving mad when I tell you this, but another guy and a very famous Packer who ran in a similar straight up Dickerson style, but also in a distinctively different way, was Paul Hornung.

Dickerson and Starks are much faster than Hornung, but No.5 didn't do it with speed.

Hornung was what I would call a drifter, and I'm not referring to his social lifestyle.

I saw him play in the 60s, before the gambling bust, when he was still pretty fresh out of Notre Dame.

It was at County Stadium in Milwaukee, where the Pack used to play half of all their home games.

On a stormy mud-soaked afternoon against Cleveland, with the lights on against a dark snowy sky, I watched Hornung rack up yardage taking pitch-outs from Starr.

When he first got his hands on the ball, he would be very straight up, drifting out into the flat and basically surveying the field in front of him. 

He'd drift upright, see a hole, make a move and shift into a higher gear all at once. 

A lot of tacklers missed that, and Hornung rolled up more points in one year than anyone else in the league.

Of course, he supplemented scores on runs and catches with field goals, but that's another story.

Anyway, heads up. 

Starks could have a big season.