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Starks Is Candidate To Begin Regular Season On PUP

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Starks Is Candidate To Begin Regular Season On PUP

The Green Bay Packers can buy some time on making a decision on rookie running back James Starks by continuing to keep him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list until the start of the regular season.

By beginning the regular season on the PUP list, Starks would be inactive for the first six weeks of the season and not count toward the 53-man roster. After six weeks, the Packers must then make a decision whether to activate Starks or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

However, Starks must remain on the PUP list from now until the regular season. Once a player is taken off the PUP list, even if the regular season hasn't begun, he is no longer eligible to be put back on the list.

The sixth-round draft choice was placed on the PUP list with a hamstring injury shortly before training camp began. He originally pulled his hamstring back during OTAs in May and missed a chunk of offseason practices. He then reportedly tweaked his hamstring during a conditioning test immediately before training camp back in late July.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said on Aug. 2 that the injury was worse than initially thought. This afternoon he was asked if Starks was making any progress.

"I hope so," said McCarthy. "He’s kind of at a standstill. But it would be nice to see him out there."

With fellow running backs Ryan Grant and Kregg Lumpkin having missed Monday's practice due to injury, the Packers could use some depth at the position, but it wouldn't behoove them to rush back Starks.

Hamstrings can take a long time to fully recover, and by beginning the regular season on the PUP list, the Packers–in effect–would have more than two months from now to determine his fate for the 2010 season.

No one knows what shape the Packers will be in by Week 7 of the season, but injuries have a way of taking place and it's possible that Starks could make a seamless transition to the 53-man roster at that time.

Undrafted rookie running back Quinn Porter is making a run at a roster spot, and the Packers could also use those six extra weeks to make a more definitive decision on his future. Lumpkin might have to be cut as a sacrifice, but that is a chance the Packers might be willing to take.

If Porter fares well after six weeks, the Packers can keep him on the roster. The Packers would then seem to be in good shape at running back in terms of depth even if Starks isn't ready to return to action.

If Porter does well and Starks is healthy after six weeks, then the Packers have a decision on their hands. They could elect to keep four running backs, which isn't unheard of. Or they could cut Starks and then hope to place him on the practice squad.

Placing Starks on injured reserve before the start of the regular season is also an option if he definitely isn't ready to return. By doing so, the Packers will have delayed a decision on his future for another year.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Oppy's picture

this is a tricky spot the Packers are in.

Placing starks on PUP is a way of retaining him, yes. But it also means that in week 6, they would still be making the decision to keep him or release him without having any real idea what he looks like. Unless the Packers had injuries at RB or some other position of depth (which would open a roster spot for the extra back) or a player who's performance is so bad they feel they can just release him at that time, I can't imagine the Packers displacing someone to make room for Starks. I still believe there are many teams that would snatch him up off of PS if they had a chance, as well.

If the Packers stash him on IR- which may be the only way the PAckers can realistically retain Starks for now- there's the question of what TWO years away from actual football will do to him.

Tricky, Tricky, Tricky. I can only hope his hammy gets better fast so we can get some evaluation on Starks before roster cuts are eminent. I really wanted to see what he brings to the table, and any info gathered will help with this really sticky roster situation at HB.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Special teams and hammy's, the bane of the GBP. Friggin Groundhog day.

GBP 4 LIFE

CSS's picture

Oppy - I think it's highly, highly unlikely he's poached off the practice squad. As much potential as he may have he missed 5 games in 08' with a knee injury, all of 09' with a shoulder/labrum and hasn't taken a snap in an NFL camp after a non-contact hamstring injury.

Running back and wide receiver are among the most disposable positions in the NFL. If you're another team, do you take a flier on Starks, considering all of the above, and displace somebody off your own 53 man roster?

While possible, I think it's highly, highly unlikely.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I'm with you. I don't see a kid with a college career plagued with injuries who goes on to start his pro career with an injury having teams knocking down his door. He was a late round pick, teams weren't smitten with him to begin with, throw in his latest injury... he'll be fine on the PS. Could always throw him on IR to be safe though. PS/IR = meh, I don't expect much of a contribution from him at this point, this season.

GBP 4 LIFE

Oppy's picture

I still stand by my thought process- teams weren't willing to take the risk on the kid with a draft pick, but I'm betting they will take the risk of snagging him off of a practice squad.

Yeah, dude missed his senior year with the shoulder, and other games as well. But he also broke a bunch of rushing records in Buffalo regardless. He was highly productive.

If he goes to PS, I hope I'm wrong. I just think alot of teams don't want to deal with the backlash of taking a pick on a kid who hasn't played for a year and he doesn't work out. Fans and media go nuts over that stuff (Like Harrell..) but none will care much if a team takes a flier on a PS pick up to replace a #3 HB on their roster. If he pans out, it's a steal, if he flops, who cares? He was a PS pick up who replaced some other #3 RB.

Corwin's picture

Could this in any way be a way to get rid of Jarrett Bush if he somehow makes it to the 53?

FITZCORE1252's picture

Can anyone give me a legitimate reason why we didn't snag B-Westbrook? Injury prone, sure. Electric when on, yes. The type of back our offense is missing, absolutely. $1.25 mill is pocket change in guaranteed $$$ for a player that 'could' be what we need to compliment Grant. And if he's not, we're out pocket change. No harm, no foul. I am a fan of TT but when a proven vet is available at a reasonable price at a position of need this close to the season... I am going to keep an eye on him in SF, I don't think his tank is on E just yet.

GBP 4 LIFE

asshalo's picture

He rarely signs veterans for depth-- especially when they've been released. You could bring up Charles Woodson, but it goes back to not resorting to Free Agency for the most part. The older they are, the less likely they are to play with GB.

Tarynfor12's picture

I'M a Starks backer but,with Grants injury and a higher likelyhood of another we need Starks.To PUP him and hope in 6 weeks into season he can play and then possibly still IR him, I say screw that.I would activate him now and put his ass in some pre-game action slowly but get him in.Worst case is he is IR'ed which may have happened in the weeks to come.Cut Bush and keep our RB's and come cut down day we may see that Starks can be healhty for limited duty at first but not lost for year.A limited Starks is better than nothing.

FITZCORE1252's picture

You can't put him in now slowly or not, according to MM "He's kind of at a stand still", that would only make things worse. Even if placed on the PUP I'm not confident he's going to contribute to the team 'this season'. With no camp time to get the offense/timing down, I just don't see him being an asset 'this season'. Just doesn't have the reps. I'm thinking they place him on I.R. I guess they could go PUP then PS to work him in and take the chance of somebody snatching him, but if they think he has a future, I think I.R. is the call for this season.

The link to Coachs' comments - http://packersnews.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20100816/PKR01/10081...

GBP 4 LIFE

Tarynfor12's picture

Fitz,thats exactly my problem,"He's kind of at a stand still".Make a decision while we have time.IR him and make a move or get him time in practice and maybe he's past the standing still stage.I rather actually see him on the field and then get IR'ed than to get IR'ed while STANDING STILL.Try and get some insight on him other than wearing shorts on the sideline.

FITZCORE1252's picture

What I'm saying is he's not healthy enough to be practicing just yet. I'm with you, I want to see the kid, but to rush a hammy is just not a wise choice. I had big hopes for him this year, never know maybe he'll still contribute, I'm just not bankng on it.

Tony Wilson's picture

take a look at BRIAN WESTBROOK!!!

FITZCORE1252's picture

Day late, dollar short.

Tony Wilson's picture

oops nevermind... Saw the 9ers inked him.

asshalo's picture

Thought it's a realistic possibility, I'de rather he didn't get put on IR. Hopefully two and a half months off will do the trick. Two years is a long time to go without football.

wgbeethree's picture

I have a question about my understanding of the PUP list if someone could help me out with it. IIRC when you place a player on the PUP list he HAS to sit out the first 6 weeks, he then is allowed to come back and practice/play after that but does not HAVE to be activated. IIRC you have a couple weeks (until week 9?) where he is able to practice while not counting against the 53 man roster. You can have the player practice for those 3 weeks and then place them on the IR without him ever counting against the 53 man roster. If i figured it out correctly and he was placed on the PUP list and returned to the roster in week nine he would actually still be eligible for the PS next year as well as... " If the player was on the active list for fewer than 9 games during their "only Accrued Season(s)", he maintains his eligibility for the practice squad".

The PUP list looks like the best way to "stash" him, still get a decent look at him while healthy before making a decision on his roster spot AND possibly even retain his PS eligibility. Seems like a no brainer to me if I'm right about how the PUP list works.

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