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Packers Activate RB James Starks From PUP List

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Packers Activate RB James Starks From PUP List

In what could be classified as a mild surprise, the Green Bay Packers have activated rookie running back James Starks from the PUP list.

In order to make room for Starks, they have released first-year linebacker Robert Francois who played in three games this season, mostly on special teams.

Starks hasn't played in a game since January of '09 in the International Bowl with the University of Buffalo. He missed his entire senior season with a broken collarbone.

The sixth-round draft choice missed a majority of the offseason workouts with a hamstring injury and then re-aggravated it immediately before training camp in late July.

He was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list and forced to sit out of the first six weeks of the season. He was then allowed to practice the past three weeks with the Packers before they had to make a move.

The only other option was to place the rookie running back on injured reserve, in which case he would have been lost for the season, or cut him in hopes he could be placed on the practice squad. But that would also risk losing him to another team on waivers, a chance the Packers likely didn't want to take.

It's somewhat surprising that the Packers made the move considering he hasn't played a game in almost two years. Of course, the Packers aren't required to play him. He very well could be part of the gameday inactive list for the rest of the season.

Suddenly, the Packers have a lot of depth at the running back position. It was thought that if the Packers happened to activate Starks, they may part ways with backup Dimitri Nance. Instead the Packers have Starks and Nance in addition to starter Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn at halfback. And they continue to have Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson at fullback.

When Robert Francois was inactive this past weekend against the Cowboys, it showed that he had fallen down the depth chart behind new acquisitions Diyral Briggs and Erik Walden despite only being around for two weeks.

In that regard, the Packers didn't lose much at the expense of keeping James Starks around.

It's noteworthy that Starks has been practicing as a kickoff return specialist, although that job seems to be Sam Sheilds' for the moment being.

The Packers also cut safety Michael Greco from the practice squad. It's possible that the move could have been made to make room for Francois if he clears waivers.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Chad's picture

If he can eventually take over the PR and/or KR duties this year, then I'm all for the move. It will help diminish the risk of injury to two of our three primary CBs.

Other than that... he'd better be a damned good RB. ;)

RockinRodgers's picture

He has to get hit sometime. Might as well break him in. I'm sure hes just around in case something were to happen to Bjax.

dougie smooth's picture

"In that regard, the Packers didn't lose much at the expense of keeping James Starks around."

Uh, Al Harris? There has got to be more to the Harris story if they can find room for 6 RB/FB, but not 7 CB (0-3 on field vs 2-4 on field on any given play). Special teams value is a red herring, "future depth" is a non-issue if they IR Lee, and $2.5M is immaterial. We're left to conclude that 2010 Underwood/Lee/Bush are all better than 2010 Harris, which I'm having a real hard time buying unless the knee is still gone.

Mr. Bacon's picture

Harris was expendable. Tramon looks good enough to handle a starter position, Shields looks to fill a safe trial by fire at the Nickle. It clear that our pass rush is dominent with Matthews at the helm, so the Cornerback is not as needy. If you get a fine pass rush, corners become expendable because passes become more prone to interceptions.

dougie smooth's picture

Everything you said is true. But Tramon and Shields are starters. The consideration has to be about the backups. Starks is the *4th* RB, whereas you need 3 CB backups for RCB, LCB, and nickel.

Maybe Starks will show something and this will make more sense. Or maybe Harris' career will prove to be over. I know where'd I'd put my money, but time will tell.

Chad's picture

"Special teams value is a red herring..."

In a year where ST players have been called into starting duty after declaring 10 players on IR, then it's not as much of a red herring as you would like to believe.

At this stage in the game, the Packers are looking for contributors... not starters.

PackersRS's picture

"Special teams value is a red herring,"

Wow. I'm gonna leave at that.

Mr. Bacon's picture

Thompson knows what he is doing, anyone who doesn't think so should get themselfs off the bandwagon and swim in the Purple Waters of Minnetonka.


WoodyG's picture

How can IR be an option if the player is healthy? ...... I was hoping GB would throw JS into the fire yet this season ..... Knowing very little about him, he could surprise ..... Kinda like a Ryan Grant clone but who can catch the ball out of the backfield (supposedly) .....

Ruppert's picture

Lessee here...we kept a RB when we have 1 good and a couple average RBS, and we dumped an old CB when we have a bunch of good CBs. Simple

WoodyG's picture

You need to be more exact .... GB has BJax, a converted FB & a PS RB who obviously hasn't impressed (5 carries in 5 games) ..... I'm looking forward to the debut of JS ..... The sooner the better.

RickyBobby's picture

i'm not sure why... but i have a really good feeling about this.

PkrNboro's picture

I'm not sure it was a "clavicle" (which often does not require surgery).

This was on
2009: Sat out the entire season after undergoing surgery on his shoulder in August... Was limited by the shoulder injury during spring camp in March, tried to play through it and aggravated the problem, which turned out to be a torn labrum...


Doug In Sandpoint's picture

Tore my labrum last year waterskiing. Shoulder is still shot. At 47 I doubt I'll ever get off the PUP list.

PkrNboro's picture

is your physical therapy limited to 12oz curls ??

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

Looking at all TT's moves together one may conclude he is following the Indianapolis method of building a team. Have a few great players at key spots who you pay very well and then fill in the holes with younger less-expensive talent. It explains tying up key players with long term contracts and then a revolving door with the rest.

Puts a premium on finding and developing talent, but to be role players not superstars. I think TT and MM think of these as their strengths. Any thoughts?

PkrNboro's picture

I see what you're saying...
...but how do the contracts for Poppinga, Chillar, Clifton, & Tauscher support that position?

WoodyG's picture
al's picture

that could be true but id say the packers role players tend to be very good. All of the players that i wanted off the roster at the beginning of the season (colledge, bush) have impressed me enough now that i would keep them on board too. Did anyone else notice that Quinn Johnson was on the field alot during the end of the cowboy game. And was that him they kept spreading out into the slot?? I said to myself no that cant be quinn johnson, they wont really pass to him..

PkrNboro's picture

Does anybody have any gut reactions(TM) to Dmitri Nance?

(I know we've seen next to nil, but give it a shot anyway, please)

Chad's picture

He looks to be in "mid-season form" to me!

Oh wait... that's Chucky's line.

packsmack25's picture

I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Starks > Nance PERIOD!

Ruppert's picture

In addition to everything else, I can't think we're going to see him in a game for a long time just because he's gotta figure out the pass protection aspect of the RB in the Packers' offense. They don't put a guy on the field unless he can keep a blitzing LB off of QB1. It'll be interesting to see if and how he picks it up.

PkrNboro's picture

!!! WILDCAT !!!

Ruppert's picture

Yeah, we could call it the Bull formation in honor of the U of Buffalo.

Tarynfor 12's picture

James Starks was my sleeper pick(confirmed in ESPN GB draft in Mar)is #44 which is exactly half of DR Emmett Browns equation (88MPH)of time travel,but "we will see some serious shit when he hits the field".

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Kiper had Starks ranked as the #2 RB in the country before the shoulder injury. Dude runs a 4.5 40, the same as Greg Jennings.
He can catch too.
Rap on him in OTAs was that he was running too high.

Tarynfor 12's picture

Every player has some kind of rap on him in OTAs. Nothing that is uncorrectable

nerdmann's picture

Other RBs you may have heard of who "ran too high," Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, OJ Simpson, just to name a few.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

I am not sure he ever makes the 45 roster the rest of the season. If he does, not sure I want him in the game when he has to block blitzing players to protect A-rod.

Jackson's running ability maybe average and Starks may have the bigger burst BUUUTTT,

Jackson is a great blocker and picks up the blitzes, Starks has not played in almost 2 years, missed training camp, and is a rookie protecting your MVP of your offense?

Big gamble to play him in a real game situation.

Jackson = good protection for A-rod

Starks = possibility of losing your QB For the season on a rookie mistake

nerdmann's picture

Pass protection="Third Down Back." Bjax was the third down guy even when Grant was starting. The reason Kuhn gets carries now is that they don't want to take away Bjack's role as the third down pass protection guy.
Like I said before, Kiper had Starks ranked #2 RB in the country, behind only CJ Spiller. If Nance can get a couple carries in his first game, I think they take a look at Starks. Throw him a couple screens, see if he can still make guys miss. That's instinctive, like riding a bike.

cecil's picture

James Starks is that "rununing game waiting to happen" fast,quick ,and strong .Green Bay found a running game in Ryan Grant ,the man they call" Buck "is no different the fact is he's gonna be the next house hold name in Green Bay I've seen him in Buffalo,we know what he can do you guys are in for a pleasant surprise .

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