Following a debut in which James Starks ran for 73 yards in his NFL debut, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't commit to naming the rookie running back his starter or the first player on the depth chart at the position.
"There really are no depth charts," said McCarthy on Monday. "Brandon Jackson has done an excellent job and will continue to do so. I think I stated this yesterday after the game, I’d really like to get into more of a rotation now that I know I have three halfbacks."
If actions speak louder than words, the workload shouldered by Starks yesterday was indicative of the role played by what one might classify as a "featured back" or "primary back" by toting the ball a team-high 18 times.
Comparatively, John Kuhn carried the ball six times and Jackson four, only one of which came in the first half of Sunday's win over the San Francisco 49ers.
One thing is for sure, Starks is not going to be campaigning for more carries or a starting position.
"I just was excited for the opportunity," said Starks following yesterday's game. "Hopefully they like me a little more. But that's not going to affect me. I'm just going to continue to be myself and keep working hard, trying to get better. If you work hard, hard work pays off."
Whatever label, or lack thereof, is placed upon Starks, so far he's shown to be selfless in his words and actions. When asked a question specifically about himself, Starks instead chose to speak about the team.
"I think as a team we did a great job," said Starks on what he thought of his debut. "Hats off to the offensive linemen. It takes all of us to do that so my production is from them."
While McCarthy said he'd like to rotate his running backs, he still put Jackson at the top of the list. But it came with a qualifier.
"I would like to have some type of rotation of all three of those backs, but Brandon is still our main guy," said McCarthy. "He’s done it all year. As I’ve stated before, I don’t think it’s in our best interests with as much football as we have in front of us to sit there and run Brandon Jackson 25 times a game."
Given Jackson's ability as a pass protector and production he's had as a receiver out of the backfield, it might make sense that he takes ownership of a third-down back responsibility.
However it shakes out, McCarthy said he had to be cognizant of how he utilizes his running back lest upcoming opponents pick up on any tendencies.
"You have to be careful when you rotate backs like that in the game because I think it was very apparent yesterday when 44 went into the game we were running the ball," said McCarthy. "That’s something we have to obviously plan against as we move forward."
Part of the reason Starks was able to get as much work as he did yesterday was in part because fellow rookie running back Dimitri Nance wasn't part of the team's gameday 45-man active roster.
Nance suffered a concussion in the Week 11 game at Atlanta and missed Wednesday's practice last week. He was cleared and returned to practice Thursday and Friday, but the team chose to make him inactive on Sunday.
From here on out, it's a wait-and-see game regarding James Starks, because McCarthy isn't tipping his hat.
"I don’t really want to get into specifics of how we’re going to use each one," said McCarthy. "That’s really what the games are for and for our opponents to plan against."
- Like Like
- 0 points