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Starks Does Not Have Positive Exam, Depth at Running Back a Concern

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Starks Does Not Have Positive Exam, Depth at Running Back a Concern

Head coach Mike McCarthy appeared disappointed with the health of his team as the Packers returned to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday's matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game which Green Bay can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory.

"We're not as healthy a football team as I thought we would be today," said McCarthy during his press conference.

Running back James Starks, in particular, seems stuck in neutral.

The status of the Packers' leading rusher with 565 yards on 127 attempts (4.4-yard average) is still up in the air after not practicing Wednesday and won't on Thursday either.

"He worked out hard yesterday, did not have a positive exam today," McCarthy said of Starks. "He'll be examined on Friday."

Combined with the concussion sustained by Brandon Saine this past Sunday in the game against the Oakland Raiders, the Packers had little depth available at the position at practice on Wednesday and could against Kansas City as well.

McCarthy originally expressed optimism on Monday that Saine would be able to return from his concussion in time for this upcoming Sunday's game, but Saine did not practice either.

That leaves the Packers with just two healthy running backs at the moment, Ryan Grant and John Kuhn. Whether the Packers would be content to go into a game with just two options at that position remains to be seen.

The Packers reportedly had four running backs in for a workout on Tuesday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but the team probably doesn't want to cut a player just for a stopgap replacement.

It's still possible either Starks, Saine or both will be available for the Kansas City game this weekend, but their health is a development worth watching as the week progresses.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bob's picture

3 running backs going into the game (Randall Cobb). Might not be much in pass protection, but on screens and draws look out, that wasn't a bad pass he threw on the option play either. Sit Starks until the playoffs, please stop setting him back by working the ankle now.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Kinda thinking the same thing regarding Starks.

Aaron Rogders's picture

4 Running Backs (Aaron Rodgers)

PackersRS's picture

John Kuhn cementing his pro bowl berth against the Chiefs.

Jake's picture

Yep I think Kuhn is making it this year on popularity alone. (Not that he doesn't deserve it for his play as well). But how many other fullbacks get their names chanted throughout the game?

PackersRS's picture

http://www.nfl.com/probowl/story/09000d5d824dd8d4/article/analysts-share...

All those guys voted on Kuhn, and it's not just a bunch of hacks, Gil Brandt also voted on him.

He's the most versatile FB in football, and nowadays that's much more important than just blocking, which he's doing very well BTW.

But, yes, name influences a lot.

Evan's picture

I think when the two RBs in question are Grant and Kuhn, I'm not so worried about depth. Those are two tough RBs.

lebowski's picture

On that 'non-fumble' play the Raiders returned for a touchdown, Kuhn was unable to catch the defensive lineman for about 40 yards. If you can't catch a D lineman, you're not a running back, you're a fullback.

Mojo's picture

Kuhn was baiting the Raiders into committing a clip by running just slow enough.

Jake's picture

Should we hope that Grant's performance against the Raiders was really him getting his groove back, or attribute it to a struggling Raiders team? It'd be nice having him hitting his stride right about now...

Evan's picture

I believe the Raiders defense is the worst against the run in the NFL. So, take that for what it's worth.

Mr. Red's picture

I agree with Bob. Shelve James Starks for the playoff push.

Pack can activate a Samkon Gado-type for an emergency situation, but Ryan Grant and Kuhn are more than capable of holding it down for the rest of the regular season.

And that's the angle of this story that's going unreported. To most of the natinal media, the only story that is graspable seems to be "Shut 'Em Down" or "Go For History".

The Packers, with their depth at many positions, have the luxury of doing both. They can sit Starks and still "go for it". They can wait on Clifton and/or Sitton if they choose and experiment with Sherrod and Newhouse.

The only true/absolute indispensable is Rodgers, and that isn't a knock on any other guy at all. It's just a testament to TT and MM and the way they've built this team. Hell, even Rodgers can get some rest if we open sizable enough leads in the next couple games, which is not exactly out of the question.

It's not a "yes" or "no" proposition whether these Packers will go for history and 19-0 or rest for the playoffs. This roster can do both.

thehatefulnerd's picture

Could Crabtree,Taylor and Williams pick up blitzers?

packeraaron's picture

Absolutely. Well, maybe not Williams...

PackersRS's picture

Definitely not Williams.

I think the kid has a lot of potential, but right now he simply can't be trusted, so little playing time and so many missed blocks.

T's picture

The only problem with having them in the backfield, if that's what you meant, is that we are completely selling a pass play.
I believe we need the play-action pass for success.
Now if Cobb can block, even just a chip, our play-action/fake hand-off to him should work.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Not worried. If this was the Wednesday before the NFCCG, I'd be worried. Two whiley vets are our only options? Could be worse. Bubble wrap Starks until the playoffs, that's what ol' Fitzcore says.

GBP 4 LIFE

jim's picture

when you consider the quality of back that has been there in the past, we have been in worse shape before. i am with fitz...bubble wrap starks, and use the tight ends as backs if needed for blocking assignments

Norman's picture

My recommendation: go hurry-up offense for the first half, mix in the run sparingly, build a 20+ point lead by half-time then bring in Flynn midway through the 3rd quarter and run Kuhn and Grant more in the second half, with a lot of high-percentage throws as run substitutes. Give Raji a carry or two as well (need to get him geared up for the playoff run too). Hell, give Howard Green a couple of carries too in the fourth quarter. Unless you’re going to IR So’oto or someone similarly far down the roster (no slam on Vic but he’s just not essential at the moment and is injured), definitely do not waive or PS someone just to make a roster spot for a short-term running back need. And while I like the idea of using Cobb in the backfield under normal circumstances, if he gets hurt we’re down another receiver, which of course is bad.

Wagszilla's picture

Don't care in terms of running the ball but care in terms of Pass Protection.

Kuhn is a complete liability.

packeraaron's picture

Huh? He's been their best pass protector, by far, in the backfield.

T's picture

I think Kuhn has only made one big mistake this year in pass blocking that I can remember.

lebowski's picture

Ryan Grant was the one playing matador all game.

John R.'s picture

I am guessing this means TEs, particularly Mr. Crabtree, will most likely see more time in the back-field on Sunday.

donc's picture

SOME OF YOU GUYS HAVE NO CLUE--WATCH KUHN IN PASS PROTECTION AND RUN BLOCKING. RODGERS ALSO HAS ADMITTED KUHN KNOWS THE OFFENSE AS WELL, IF NOT BETTER THAN HE DOES. PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HE DOES HIS JOB, VERY WELL. WITH THIS OFFENSE, KUHN IS NOT THERE TO BREAK A 40 YD RUN, HE IS THERE TO PROTECT RODGERS AND BLOCK FOR THE HB'S. WHEN USED IN SHORT YARDAGE, HE DOES HIS JOB. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR HIM TO BREAK ONE FOR 80 YDS, YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT THEN AGAIN, HOW MANY RUNNING BACKS TRYLY CAN DO THAT. TELL ME WAGZILLA, HOW MANY FULLBACKS DO YOU SEE FILL IN AT HALFBACK BESIDES KUHN--------NONE

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Hey man, your caps lock is on.

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