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Jackson Is Good Enough

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Jackson Is Good Enough

I wanted to put down in pixels, once and for all, my thoughts regarding Brandon Jackson, since they seem to be open to much misinterpretation.

No, I do not think Brandon Jackson is an elite running back. Yes, I think he's more than talented enough for the Packers to win games with. No, I don't think he should replace Ryan Grant. Yes, I think he absolutely deserves to be splitting carries with Grant next year.

And that is the whole point - Jackson has been woefully underused since Grant's emergence. He is a great compliment to Grant and I really hope he's opening McCarthy's eyes this year.

For example, one of the constant frustrations over the last few years when it came to Grant and the Packers running game was the inevitable sight of seeing Grant burst into the defensive backfield only to watch him be taken down by a safety or corner just before breaking a big gain.

One of the things Brandon Jackson has brought to the table is this exact ability - the ability to get to the second level, make a move, and win the one-on-one. We saw it in Washington on his big run in the first quarter and various other plays this year as well.

The coaches film below from Sunday night is a picture-perfect example of a play where every single offensive player executes his block, leaving the running back one-on-one with a defender. The tight end kicks out the outside backer, the offensive tackle collapses the defensive end (he's helped by the fact that the defensive line is slanting right), Quinn Johnson and Josh Sitton neutralize the middle linebackers and Jordy Nelson takes out the safety.

That leaves Brandon Jackson and Terrence Newman - and Jackson absolutely freezes him then runs around him for a good gain and a first down. This is a play Grant simply does not make.

I said on Packer Transplants this past Tuesday that I think McCarthy is finally getting a handle on how to use Jackson - he won't be giving him 20 to 25 carries any time soon, but he's starting to feature Jackson in ways that complement his skill set.Yes, there are deficiencies in his game. He still tends to dance behind the line on too many plays and he sometimes gets caught being hell bent on going playside when there's a big cutback lane available. But for the most part, he is more than serviceable for what the Packers need to do on offense.

Is he Adrian Peterson? No. But he doesn't have to be in this offense. He just has to be Brandon Jackson for the Packers to keep winning.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (79) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackerFanJon's picture

Another great aspect of Jackson's game is the ability to catch the ball. Packers did not get that front Grant

packsmack25's picture

That is the biggest reason I am so high on Starks. If he can play in this league without getting hurt, he translates to Grant with hands.

nerdmann's picture

Grant with hands. Who is also much faster, with vision, who can make guys miss. Like Jackson, can also cut.

packsmack25's picture

Fuck Off

packsmack25's picture

Sorry, I was waiting all night to do that. But for real, one of the reasons I come to this site is because you never hold back. Thanks for making this place, and thanks for continuing to make it worth visiting.

Chris's picture

That's complEment. Sorry to be a pain, but that one just bugs me . . .

packeraaron's picture


Bernard Shuford's picture

It really is complIment - Aaron is right here. Look it up.

RockinRodgers's picture

Bjax has looked better every week, but he is still no John Kuhn.

DAWG's picture

Hahahaa, thanks Packsmack, that was perfect.

B-jax was always a 3rd down back in my thought, but I see he can handle starting,to a point. He still at times runs into the back of a lineman, and on a few plays, if he hesitates, he would see a better lane to pick.
I also want to see what Starks has to offer, but haven't heard crap about this kid.

TPacker's picture

This is a beastly run by Starks that I found on Youtube....

nerdmann's picture

Brad Jones was better than Kampman. Bishop is better than Barnett. Jackson is better than Grant.
Jackson has better vision (Grant has none.) Jackson can catch the ball (not great, but I will say adequately,) doesn't need to stop in order to cut, has an extra gear, and can make someone miss, at least to some degree. He's not shifty but he cuts well.
Grant is very good between the tackles. But he's not gonna be running screens anytime soon. I also would not rely on him getting to the corner on a regular basis.
Worth a 6th round pick? HELL yeah.

DAWG's picture

Aaron or Brian, or whoever, can we dig something up on this Starks kid as of late?

packeraaron's picture

Unfortunately there's not much to dig up. He's only just been activated so he hasn't even been practicing. He hasn't been working on a football field other than standing around watching since mini-camp. The next time we see him in pads will also be the first.

DAWG's picture

Wow, kinda makes you wonder why not put the kid on IR, to fill a need elsewhere.

packsmack25's picture

The next time WE see him in pads. I'd imagine that he has been practicing the past 3 weeks in the closed portions of practice.

packeraaron's picture

Nope. He was not activated until this week. His first padded practice this year will be next week.

Lords_of_Thelema's picture

Harris practiced with the 1's but he was never activated. Didn't they have a 3 week window during which they could practice before being activated to the 53?

packeraaron's picture

They did, but I had read that Starks was not practicing. I'll try to find where.

packsmack25's picture

He's been practicing since October 20th.

packsmack25's picture


packsmack25's picture

Aaron, he began practicing the same week that Harris and Bigby began practicing, but he started on a Wednesday, whereas they started on a Monday, which is where the confusion is coming from. That's why they had until this Monday to decide what to do with Harris but had until Wednesday to make a move with Starks.

He has been practicing, albeit with the scout team, since October 20th. And like I said, that's just what has gone on that we KNOW about, as it's entirely possible that he's been more active in the closed portions of practice.

packeraaron's picture

That explains it - thanks. I had seen that he was not practicing at the beginning of that week and then had not read one other thing about it. Thanks.

dgtalmn's picture

It is difficult comparing BJax and grant since they are different styles in running. Both have good and bad runs. I believe that BJax could become a better runner but needs the reps to learn by.

If the Pack could ever score a top running back, we'd really be dangerous. But as pointed out many times by all, we are not a running team.

BTW, great game last night. Love it, down to the last minute of play to determine a winner. I thought the Ravens had it made, but their defense failed.

Tom's picture

That was probably the best Thursday night football I've ever seen. And so satisfying to see these AFC teams (I'm refraining from calling them over-hyped, but clearly not too much)start losing to the unsung NFC. I'm wondering when the talking heads will get over their love of the Ravens, Jets and Pats and start realizing that there is just as much talent (and better stories too!) in the NFC among teams like Green Bay, Atlanta, and (dare I say it) Tampa Bay. And let's not forget about those Superbowl champs...

willis's picture

Problem is it's much better for us for teams like the Giants, Saints, and Falcons to lose to the AFC because it helps us get better seeding for the playoffs is how I look at it. Though the Falcons' Roddy White is my Fantasy WR so I had a good game but still wanted the falcons to lose.

Omaha Scott's picture

I have been watching Jackson shake and bake since his days in a Cornhusker Uniform. I agree that he is not an elite rb, however when given the chance to showcase his talent he can show that he is much more than a 3rd down back.....

cpheph1's picture

Omaha Scott,
I've lived in the Cornhusker state since Nov. '92; Although I'm not a Cornhusker fan per say I'm certainly familiar with the program and I saw enough of Jackson there to realize he can play/start in the NFL. I think he's under utilized in the pass receiving role. ...and I think the Pack should increase his total touches/gm to ~21 (BJack in Vegas).

gopack's picture

Keep the videos comin!!!

Omaha Scott's picture

Since were discussing the rb position, I would say that NU will have another rb make it into the NFL next year and he may go as high as the 3rd round. Don't forget the name Roy Helu Jr - has "deception" type speed, has put on apprxtly 20-25 lbs of muscle since coming to NU, has very good pass catching skills, runs tough not afraid to lower his head and run over you. Oh and also has not had to bad of a career at NU - on pace to end up #3 all time rusher in NU history behind a guy name Rozier and another guy named Crouch. They both belong to a club that hands out an impressive trophy :)

cpheph1's picture

Roy Helu Jr is outstanding...would be a good 2nd round pick or outstanding 3rd. Yup, Roy has excellent speed! BJack and Roy played together too...

DAWG's picture

Hey Omaha, how you feel about the Huskers joining the Big10?

Omaha Scott's picture

I think it's an outstanding move. Excited about the new rivalries that will be created and will not miss playing the horns.....

DAWG's picture

I agree, and I've heard the Huskers fan base is second to none, which is a great thing for the Big10, Badgers & Huskers---should be a great rivalry.

davyjones's picture

I know absolutely nothing about Starks, but my expectations are exactly zero (can't be dissappointed, I guess). It just seems so very unrealistic to expect anything at all from a guy who missed so much football to step in and contribute. I'm not saying he may not end up being a fine RB, but this just probably won't be his year.

I couldn't agree more on Jackson...outstanding? no. Very adequate? yes. He does a lot of things really well & perhaps the most vital is that he has managed to stay healthy. That has been key this year.

Any word on Havner??

packeraaron's picture

They won't move on Havner until next week. No sense in paying an extra guy during the bye week.

DAWG's picture

Yep-one of the best things to do when on the comp. is to check out CHTV.
Lets just hope it stays this way !

TPacker's picture

What would I do without this site in my week?

davyjones's picture

I guess I'd have to, like, actually do my job or something...yuck.

InFact's picture

I agree that Jackson works for the regular season, BUT not when an elite opponent greets GB in the playoffs.

That's when Jackson's limitations running inside become even more obvious -- and teams will pinch the already-challenged Rodgers even more.

Note Dallas is minor league and Rodgers displayed no problem skewering its ineptitude.

BUT when the "field gets smaller," and the defensive player quality increases, that's when GB's average running game will become a liability that, in turn, negatively impacts Rodgers ability to be effective (especially in key situations).

Look, it would perhaps be AOK to have Jackson if Finley and Quarless (who may be out for the season?) were present, but you cannot expect Jackson to be more than serviceable. That kind of pedestrian presence only works for the regular season.

packeraaron's picture

"That kind of pedestrian presence only works for the regular season" - (sigh) How many teams with a crappy running game have to get to or even win the Super Bowl before people realize this is an antiquated way of thinking?

WoodyG's picture

"negatively impacts Rodgers" ...... This is what I fear most .....

DAWG's picture

Dido--well said--your keyboard works better than mine!

WoodyG's picture

"He just has to be Brandon Jackson for the Packers to keep winning."

It's easy to say this when GB is sitting with a record of 6-3 ...... BJ has rushed for 155 yards on 41 carries (3.78 YPC) the last 3 wins ..... He's also caught 9 passes for 89 yards in the same 3 wins .....

Are these numbers good enough to win at Minn., at Atl., at N.E. & home against the Giants ???? ......

Is BJ enough? ..... I hope so but don't be surprised if the running attack ultimately ends up as GB's achilles' heal.

packeraaron's picture

"It’s easy to say this when GB is sitting with a record of 6-3" - but I was saying it when they were 3-3 as well. ;)

WoodyG's picture

That's true .... But on the road against better teams will tell the tale ......

packeraaron's picture

I totally hear you - I just hate how fans automatically latch on to the negative all the time - "There's no WAY they can beat the Jets" (Packers beat Jets) - "Well...there's no WAY they can beat the Patriots"

Tom's picture

To be honest, it's the Falcons in the Georgia Dome that worries me most of all down the stretch. The Pats are a good team, but their secondary isn't great. The Giants are obviously very talented and playing great football right now, but if the offensive line can hold up through that game and Rodgers continues to trend upwards I think we'll have a good match-up with their secondary. Atlanta on the other hand is playing lights out on both sides of the ball. They've got a very good pass rush and a scary secondary as well as one of the most balanced offenses we're seeing right now.

packeraaron's picture

They had been playing well, but they certainly looked beatable last night.

DAWG's picture

I hear ya Aaron, but the thing that I didn't agree with was in preseason, everyone was anointing GB as Super Bowl bound, and as the story goes in the NFL, your only as good as your last play, and our last game against the Cards-did not convince me. PLUS, you need to think about winning the division, which we haven't done in 3 yrs, before talking About A Super Bowl.
Every year is a new yr, look at the Cowgirls!

packeraaron's picture

Hey man, I picked them to lose the NFC Championship. I always thought they were one season away - but the way they've performed through all the injuries coupled with the mediocre state of the NFL gives them a very realistic chance of going all the way this year. And isn't that the whole point? Wanting the Packers to win it all? Hell to the yeah it is.

Charles's picture

Yes, he is. His attempts, yards, and YPC are all going to trend upward as the season gets later.

InFact's picture

Woody G's excellent point:

"Are these numbers good enough to win at Minn., at Atl., at N.E. & home against the Giants ???? ……

Is BJ enough? ….. I hope so but don’t be surprised if the running attack ultimately ends up as GB’s achilles’ heal."

I vote (sorry!) that GB will lose at least half of these four games -- and possibly three or four. That's potentially seven losses. Yikes.

packeraaron's picture

Just like they were absolutely, positively going to lose to the Jets.

God I love Packer fans.

TPacker's picture


cole's picture

They could also win ALL of the games left on the schedule. They are just as talented as any of the remaining teams on the schedule.

packeraaron's picture

THANK you.

Michael's picture

I have been on this site daily for several weeks now, and being born in Chicago and growing up hating the Bears my whole life and now living in Vegas, this is by far the best site out there to get updates in regards to the Packers, you do a great job with the site and keep up the good work

packeraaron's picture

Thanks very much for that Michael. Means a lot.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

Bottom line with Jackson is he has done enough for th Packers to win, I don't think he is ever going to be a difference maker like Clay Mathews, Woodson, or Finely.

Jackson has done enough to allow A-rod to play his game so far.

Every team has their difference makers, often they are the running backs, but that is not only the case.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

There is one thing that Packer fans are taking for granted with our running game with Jackson and Kuhn, THEY DO NOT TURN OVER THE BALL.

Running backs like AP tend to turn over the ball.

jeremy's picture

Thompson has proven himself correct in not overpaying for Lynch.

Last 4 games

53rush 208yd 3.9avg 2td 12rec 118yds 1td

61rush188yd 3.1avg 1td 3rec 9yd

I'll take Jackson and a 3rd round pick every time.

Mat-Trix's picture

Honestly at the end of the day Brandon Jackson is making plays so we as packer fans shouldnt be complaining. On another note they need to stop giving Kuhn the ball and let Jackson take those carries

Oppy's picture

Hear, Hear!

Ruppert's picture the hell did you get coaches' tape?

NickGBP's picture

Game Rewind on

Ruppert's picture

Really? I thought that was the network broadcasts. Do they do the whole game in coaches' tape or do they mix it up between network shots and those coaches' tape shots?

I'm going to try to find a demo on If I can get the whole game on coaches' tape, I might have to shell out for that.

Overkill's picture

"Honestly at the end of the day Brandon Jackson is making plays-"
Goin' with that.

redlights's picture

What ARE we going to talk about next week? Can the NFLPA outlaw bye weeks in the CBA? It's too hard on us fans!! :]

Many teams are going RB by committee because the season is long, different players match up differently against different teams, and it sometimes creates a transition from old to new. TT won't get a RB in FA; trading deadline is over; waiver wire is inferior to our present talent so cheer for BJax and Kuhn!! Starks/Nance would only be icing.

BLACK HAWK's picture

Lynch has dissappointed in Seattle and on countless fantasy teams. Solid BJax is getting it done, Kuhn is the short yardage back and secret weapon (s) Starks and perhaps Nance lurk in the backfield. Once again...Ted proves he is an evil genius!

Mark's picture

Football is a tough game, and maybe most so for running backs. I'm pleased to see Jackson is beginning to perform toward the level of potential he has always had. I'd like to see what Grant could be doing with a line that has Bulaga and Siton, and the rest opening holes. Starks seems healthy and in a few weeks - when we'll need it to get thru Atlanta, the Giants and New England - could again make TT look like the savey GM he is. And Havner is back to catch TDs and ....

AdamOBOD's picture

Why is there so much optimism with Starks? I think the kid might have some real talent, but he hasn't played in a football game almost two years! He missed his whole senior year with injury, all of training camp and all of this season so far.

He is definitely someone to look for next season, but I can't see him having much of an impact in 2010. Sorry!

Oppy's picture

I agree completely.

Hope We're really wrong, but I don't see much happening on the ground game from Starks this year, but who knows.

I have to think they are activating him so they can kind of recoup some lost time with this kid, get ahead of the game a bit, so he has some experience and gets into a little bit of football shape by the end of this season, instead of pushing his development back into next year's offseason.

Another thought: Perhaps Ted Thompson is concerned that there might be a lock out in 2011- If that was the case, that would effectively put Starks at 3 years without the Packers ever getting any chance to evaluate what they really have in Starks. Maybe He's being activated so they are guaranteed at least a glimpse of the kid in pads and get a feel for his work ethic while they have the chance..?

KurtMc's picture

Actually, B-Jax is being misused in this Offense by Mr. Mike.

B-Jax, as many of you have noted, tend to dance or slow before he hits line of scrimmage. Line up B-Jax with Kuhn & let AR option either the run to Kuhn or flat pass to B-jax in a delay block.

B-Jax rarely follows lead FB blocks & dances too much. Line him up as a swing or delay back. Get B-Jax in the open field. That’s where he excels.

p.s. He is not a elite back. Splitting time with Grant would be great.

KurtMc's picture

Forgot - Aaron - Best site in packer nation!!!

Can you do me a Favre?'s picture

I would argue BJax is a more complete back than Ryan Grant. He's not as explosive but he's shiftier, an excellent blocker and has good hands.

James Starks-He's got tremendous potential...Yes he hasn't played in 2 years so lets get him in the game. We won't know what he can do until we see him in action-GB has nothing to gain by revealing his progression. In Jackson, Kuhn, Nance we have no explosive run threat-Starks could bring that to the table.

Bernard Shuford's picture

Bjax, yes. Like him.

fish's picture

It's quiet around here..

OT: Packers now have a Tailgate Cam

JD's picture

B-Jax is the man. If only MM realized that. Quit giving the ball to Kuhn so much and give the carries to Jackson.

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