No More Ambiguity: McCarthy Names Starks "#1 Back"

The Packers head coach says he still plans to use a "1-2 punch" at the position. 

It's been trending this way for some time, especially after the respective performances of Eddie Lacy and James Starks down in Carolina last Sunday, but today Mike McCarthy made things official.

This comes as no surprise, given Lacy's struggles so far in 2015. Starks has far and away looked to be the better back so far this year.

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Comments (38)

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zoellner25's picture

November 11, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Did MM watch a Captain Obvious commercial?

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D Ernesto's picture

November 12, 2015 at 06:11 pm

Now that ther is puny

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D Ernesto's picture

November 18, 2015 at 01:05 pm

He is captain obvious

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TommyG's picture

November 11, 2015 at 01:29 pm

Typical MM output. He basically says "yes, james is better right now". He caveats that with they "Staying with the 1-2 punch". Not news at all.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

November 11, 2015 at 03:24 pm

Now, let's see if he actually gets the deserving carries.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 11, 2015 at 05:41 pm

If the one-two punch is Starks and Harris, that would be news.

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Since '61's picture

November 11, 2015 at 06:11 pm

The OL needs to play more consistently regardless of who the #1 or who 1-2 punch is. Right now Gale Sayers is the only Rb who would have a chance behind the Packers OL. Thanks, Since '61

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Tundraboy's picture

November 11, 2015 at 06:50 pm

Or Jim Brown

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Rossonero's picture

November 11, 2015 at 09:47 pm

Amen. O line has been equally disappointing in the run gsme and in pass protection. I'm thinking the Packers spend maybe a 4th round pick on a tackle. Bakhtiari and BulagaBulaga have been bad this year.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 12, 2015 at 05:47 am

David Bakhtiari is not bad this year. He might be the best OL man this year. If you do not like Bakh, that does not mean he plays bad!

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Archie's picture

November 12, 2015 at 08:37 am

Outside of Starks and Randall and maybe Matthews and Daniels, is anybody on this team playing up to expectations? I'll give 12 a pass because he is limited by the play around him but even he isn't looking Rodgersesque these days.

How can only 4 players be having good seasons? That leaves the other 48 in the suck category (Rodgers gets pass). To me, that is coaching. These coaches have been there a long time and have made a ton of money. Most of them will not get another job after leaving GB. They will retire as fat cats. We need, young, hungry, innovative coaches that can teach, like when we brought in Holmgren. Unfortunately we are stuck with the fat guy who butchers the English language and surrounds himself with loyal henchmen. And as far as TT goes, when you are draft/develop, you can't afford to have a good draft only once every 4 or 5 years.

I still say 9 or 10 wins this year. Which is only slightly better than 8-8 which gets lots of coaches fired. It's groundhog's day in GB, year after year. TT/MM gotta go.

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Duke Divine's picture

November 12, 2015 at 09:21 am

100% agree. The reason Starks is looking better than LAcy right now is that he is quicker, faster to a spot, and more nimble than LAcy so his attributes are able to make up (somewhat) for the Oline's lackluster run blocking. Seems like there are 2-3 defenders in the backfield as soon as a Packers RB gets the ball. Starks is just doing a better job making them miss and gaining positive yards at this point. We all say Rodgers this and Rodgers that but this team will live and die with the O-line and if the last 2 weeks are any indication they will be dying in January when they face a good front 7. Not to mention in MN on Nov 22nd vs that front 7. Get the big boys up front to "clean it up" otherwise another trip to San Fran is out of the question

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Dan Stodola's picture

November 11, 2015 at 06:51 pm

Good to see Starks get the acknowledgement. He deserves it. Hopefully Lacy figures out that he's fat, overweight and needs better conditioning and dedicates himself in the remaining season and offseason to become a better player.

I wanna see the 235 lb Lacy from college, not the 250 or 260 slow bumbling RB he's been this year.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 11, 2015 at 09:18 pm

Hopefully this motivates Lacy. He can either sit or start working on himself to get himself back in shape. It wouldn't take long and could be a huge help the last month of the season. This is where the tire meets the road and we find out who and what Lacy is all about. His team NEEDS him right now. Get your shit together Eddie.

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 12, 2015 at 04:23 am

Is anyone aware of the weight the Packers aimed for Lacy to be when camp started? Do you have specific information on his current conditioning? We don't have any official confirmation of his current weight.

I doubt Eddie needs any extra dedication.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 12, 2015 at 06:44 am

Really?? He's clearly overweight, doesn't move well and seems to have lost the ability to cutback or even make his spin move. He isn't breaking tackles at nearly the same rate as years past. Last season he was 3rd in the NFL with 51 broken tackles. This year he might not have 51 YARDS after contact. Maybe he doesn't need extra dedication, maybe he's completely happy riding the pine because that's EXACTLY where he deserves to be after 8 games.

You're right though, I don't have "Specfic Information" on conditioning, current weight, or the weight the Packers wanted Lacy to play at. Just my eyes WKU, and when I took off my "Homer Hat" (I'm not suggesting you're wearing one, just talking about myself and making excuses for my beloved Packers) I see a guy that let himself get out of football shape.

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Archie's picture

November 12, 2015 at 08:42 am

I am/was a big Eddie Lacy fan but is pisses me off to see him laugh off questions from the local press about his weight/conditioning as though it is an absurd question. Maybe he has physical problems we don't know about. But he's not playing like the same RB that played in GB the last 2 years. There's got to be some reason for it. Maybe the OL has gone backwards just enough to make him ineffective whereas Starks is quicker and shiftier? None of know but there has to be a reason for his fall from grace.

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Evan's picture

November 12, 2015 at 09:37 am

He has been battling injuries all year...yea? Ankle. Now groin.

He certainly "looks" bigger, but who knows. It seems just as likely that various nagging injuries are the primary cause for his decline.

And, yes, I know he's performed at a high level through injuries in the past. But not all ankle sprains are created equal.

I'm not trying to make excuses for him. I said just last week that he clearly doesn't look right and needs to be deactivated until he gets it together (whether it's heal fully or get into shape).

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

I agreed with you then, and i agree with you now.
I think he should be sat down for a game or 2 or whatever it takes. Might be a good mental break for him as well..

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Rossonero's picture

November 11, 2015 at 09:48 pm

As Eddie knows what they said at Alabama, "get your mind right."

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 12, 2015 at 04:37 am

The thought of Eddie playing for the apparent scum that is Saban makes me cringe. Saban has grown rich exploiting nice guys like Eddie. TT and MM are hard nosed football guys, but I'd wager (without knowing any one them personally) that they're better human beings than Saban.

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Dan Stodola's picture

November 12, 2015 at 08:19 am

Saban's grown rich by being an excellent football coach. Like McCarthy. I doubt any of his current players feel particularly used by him. Lacy (other than being slow and overweight) is doing well for himself in the NFL thanks to Saban.

Clearly you have an issue w/ Saban, and more than likely Bama, isn't that right Western Kentucky Fan?

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4thand1's picture

November 12, 2015 at 04:31 pm

That's the wardens line in "cool hand Luke".

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tm_inter's picture

November 12, 2015 at 05:43 am

What about Alonzo Harris? He's healthy, isn't he? Why not play him while Lacy works to be 100% healthy?

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 12, 2015 at 08:38 am

With the way Lacy has played lately, I don't see why they don't give him some a chance.

He is healthy, and he is activated each week. Why not use him. Even if he gets in for 5 snaps in the game it might be enough to keep Starks fresh.

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D Ernesto's picture

November 12, 2015 at 06:08 pm

Wow hold on their. What team have you been watching. MM does not like to substitute players and have fresh runners come in. The past two years its been Lacy left, Lacy right and oh, ya we have a Starks, he can run one play and then Lacy comes back in. Only team in football that does this.

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Dan Stodola's picture

November 12, 2015 at 07:15 pm

The RB that is on the field at the beginning of the drive is almost always on the field for that entire drive. They don't usually substitute and change RB during a drive. If Starks is on the field at the start of an offensive possession, he will invariably finish that drive.

Helps if you pay attention.

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Duke Divine's picture

November 12, 2015 at 09:30 am

Ryan, Backman, Harris, Abby, etc.... They draft these guys and "like" these guys when signing happens and when it comes down to contributing during games nobody in the organization trusts these guys,

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4thand1's picture

November 12, 2015 at 04:34 pm

Harris came in a few games ago and made a splash, so sit him? Elliot has made some big plays and he's sitting,WTF! The Packers are notorious for not playing some young promising players. Desmond Bishop made plays all the time, but it took 3 years for the coaching staff to realize it. That's my fuggin rant for the day.

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D Ernesto's picture

November 12, 2015 at 06:06 pm

Hey MM and the boys have to showcase Ted T picks. You have a two pick in Lacy and the third string guy is what round? You got it right, they will play guys who are not producing over late round picks just to justify their choices.
Pennel, and others played well enough in pre season to be starters and are mostly on the bench.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 13, 2015 at 07:01 am

yeah, that part is starting to bother me too.

Harris came in and made some big plays. Haven't seen him since. While Lacy has really played poorly, we haven't seen him since. Why not give him a few snaps in a game.

Janis comes in and in the only meaningful game action he received he made 3 big time plays. We haven't seen him since. (oh except for the couple of plays he played last week when he was in the backfield blocking).

Elliott has been a play making type of player. He has done it in the run game and the pass game. And in the last game he got 0 snaps. I just don't get it.

Ryan came in this last week and played really well. He made a lot of plays that Palmer hasn't made. Will they use him moving forward? Who knows. Knowing this coaching staff's past record they will likely start Palmer again and muddle through a few games that way.

I'm not saying all these guys should be starting (except for Ryan), but I don't see why they shouldn't get some meaningful playing time.

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Point Packer's picture

November 12, 2015 at 10:53 am

Hamburger Lacey needs some time on the bench......and the treadmill.

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D Ernesto's picture

November 12, 2015 at 06:03 pm

A lot of the latter. Apparently he took that Seattle loss to hard and ate his way out of the doldrums????????????????
All I know is AP did not come to camp out of shape and looking old. Lacy has some real problems and they may be mental.

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D Ernesto's picture

November 12, 2015 at 06:01 pm

Really the ambiguity is MM saying it was an ankle injury then something else and always some excuse to cover the Lacy being grossly over weight and unable to run the ball.
I think we can ditto Ty M. Not over weight but hey, no one has an ankle injury that goes on and on an on. I know that for sure. Perhaps he has that Franklin frail body that can't handle the NFL punishment? Got to be some reason he ain't playing and they need him badly.

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Oppy's picture

November 13, 2015 at 01:58 pm

Dude, ankle injuries are notorious for being nagging injuries... because, you know, your entire body weight is on your ankle every single step you take... Much less running, cutting, jumping, planting, and driving off the ankle like a world-class athlete playing professional football does.

C'mon, man. Are you just trolling?

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Nick Perry's picture

November 14, 2015 at 06:27 am

Not only can they be nagging, but his looked pretty severe. I was worried he tore something for sure by the way it looked when it happened.

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Oppy's picture

November 12, 2015 at 10:57 pm

All sorts of talk about the horrible play of the O line is to blame for the Packers' inability to run the football, especially compared to last year.

While Eddy Lacy has been a generally poor runner (Despite a reasonably strong start), James Starks has compiled a 4.3 YPC on the year.

For comparison, Eddy Lacy finished up 2014 with 4.6 YPC.

What that means is James Starks is averaging about twelve inches less per carry in 2015 than Eddy Lacy did in 2014, when no one thought there was any problem with the offensive line creating running lanes for the backs.

TWELVE. INCHES.

A football is 11 inches long.

That's the total difference, and the sky is falling.

What IS true is that the Packers haven't committed to running the ball full time with the more productive back (until now), and certainly haven't been in position to close out games with the run like they traditionally have in the past because the offense hasn't had big leads.

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DraftHobbyist's picture

November 13, 2015 at 05:18 pm

It's about time.

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