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Point of Veau: Joe McKnight Workout Not Good News for James Starks

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Point of Veau: Joe McKnight Workout Not Good News for James Starks

If it's true Joe McKnight is, indeed, coming to Green Bay for a workout, it could be that James Starks' career in Green Bay has finally run its course.

McKnight's biggest asset is his versatility, something Starks doesn't have.

Above all else, McKnight provides kick-return ability paralleled by few others. On 76 career attempts, McKnight has an average of 29.0 yards, which ranks third all-time in NFL history, and he's also returned one kick for a touchdown in each of the past two seasons.

McKnight has gotten few opportunties as a featured back in the NFL, but he did average 6.0 yards per carry last season on 30 rushes, which he took for 179 yards.

In 2011, McKnight also blocked a punt that was returned by the Jets for a touchdown in a game against the Cowboys. He's also been used as an emergency cornerback, once flirting with a move to defense full-time.

Add it all up, and that's versatility Starks just doesn't have. Since coming to Green Bay as a rookie in 2010, Starks has offered little other than as a running back.

It's always been hoped that Starks would develop into the feature back the Packers have been seeking, especially after his playoff run in 2010 that helped Green Bay win the Super Bowl. But the reality is that Starks just hasn't been able to stay healthy, playing in just 27 out of 54 possible games, including playoffs.

By signing McKnight and parting ways with Starks, the Packers would essentially be trading fourth-year players, which is not to be overlooked.

There's a certain value in fourth-year players, who are one season away from reaching unrestricted free agency. Those players are frequently motivated to put together big seasons.

And even if the Packers don't re-sign them, they can reap the potential benefit of draft choice compensation if such a player were to sign with another team in free agency.

Fourth round draft choice Johnathan Franklin has had a disappointing training camp in his rookie season, but the Packers aren't likely to give up on him yet in favor of McKnight.

One could also argue that McKnight's workout could also spell doom for wide receiver/return specialist Jeremy Ross, who's been attempting to replace Randall Cobb on kick returns since last season.

Whether the Packers keep Ross simply as a receiver remains to be seen, but he's being pushed by rookies Tyrone Walker, Charles Johnson and Myles White.

Nothing is etched in stone. The Packers have yet to put McKnight through a workout, let alone sign him. But gazing into the crystal ball, you can already see what the Packers potentially have in mind for the former New York Jet.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (72) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

I bleed Green More's picture

It would seem TT is more active with changes than I have seen at this time.

Evan's picture

Kickilicious worked out today too.

denniseckersley's picture

Jeremy Ross can kick rocks. I will never forgive that fumble. Ever.

Cow42's picture

If he would not have fumbled the Packers still would have lost.

Jake's picture

Because your crystal ball told you so? Turning the ball over there gave them an easy TD when it could have been our chance to take the lead.

Mike's picture

Extend the lead - Green Bay was up 14-7 at the time. I do agree - not saying we would have won, but going up even 17-7, much less 21-7, would have been huge and forced Kaepernick to have to throw to keep pace.

Cow42's picture


Oakland A's fan's picture

And I will never forgive you for giving up that home run to Kirk Gibson.

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

Thank God Cobb never fumbled any punts,never never...... not one ,not one.

WKUPackFan's picture

McKnight has talent, but also a reputation of being unwilling/unable to run between the tackles, something Starks can do. McKnight was also somewhat of a diva at USC. Perhaps he's matured. Not sure about McKnight's returning ability, the stats look good. Still like Ross for returns, especially punts. He takes the ball straight up the field with great speed and seems to have the necessary field vision.

Phatgzus's picture

Agreed on Ross, I think his job is secure for now, this could be an admonishment to be sure to take care of the ball. Not sure about McKnight's ability as an RB or PR but as a KR he is electric, reminds me of Leon Washington in his prime. Those 2 together on kickoffs would be daunting.

Starks ran hard this preseason, especially vs. KC, but his
virtually inexorable forthcoming injury cannot be ignored.

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

The Jets are in dire need for running backs.He's been injured before .There's got to be a good reason they let him go.

Morgan Mundane's picture

Lets forget Franklin. He won't cut it in the NFL. So you've got Lacy, Green, Starks and Kuehn. I wouldn't mind seeing Franklin cut, he has been a huge disappointment.

Charlie Kelly's picture

Really? You want to cut a fourth round pick after one bad preseason?

RC Packer Fan's picture

Nice. I am sorry, but when did we become so impatient with rookies? Not every rookie comes in and sets the world on fire. Since Datone Jones has been hurt and he didn't have a sack in a preseason game, should he be cut too?
Franklin will show he belongs, give the guy time.

hayward4president's picture

No doubt. Everyone is ready to get rid of Franklin...its ridiculous. He's not our starter Lacy is. 23 will be good in time...

RC Packer Fan's picture

Completely agree...

jakietreehorn's picture

I agree he reminds me of that rodgers guy who stunk it up in his first few preseasons. Whatever happened to that guy?

RC Packer Fan's picture

Good thing Thompson doesn't listen to some fans.

Tommyboy's picture

The idea that cutting our fourth-round pick based on limited snaps with the 2's and 3's boggles my mind.

Cow42's picture

Forget the round... He's horrible.

Idiot Fan's picture

I feel like I remember you being pretty high on the Franklin pick after the draft, to the point that you wished we hadn't drafted Lacy. Am I remembering incorrectly, or are you already ready to bail on Franklin?

jeremy's picture

I remember him saying Micah Hyde was a wasted pick too.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I remember saying that Bahktiari was a wasted pick as well. Mostly cuz he was to small...

Tommyboy's picture

People said the same of Rodgers in his first couple of preseaons. I'm not predicting him to be a league MVP, but letting go this fast is just silly. I'm guessing the front office agrees.

RC Packer Fan's picture

That's my whole point. Not every player comes into the league playing at a MVP level. Need to give players time.
I can't believe how many people want to cut a high drafted player because he didn't perform well in his first preseason.
I'm not saying Franklin is the next Barry Sanders. But give the guy some time and allow him to prove himself.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Tell us why Franklin is horrible?

fish and crane's picture

I don't know if he's horrible but he'll never be as famous as his brother Paul Lynn.

Cow42's picture

First of all, I was never high on Franklin. I have always said that after drafting Lacy, they should have set their sights on safeties... Not another RB.

I also thought that with Harris on the roster picking Fanklin was repetitive... Same type of player. This is where I was wrong. Franklin is nowhere near the player Harris is. In fact, he's less talented than Green or even Starks.

Why is he horrible? One simple reason... He has to gather himself whenever he wants to change direction. He wastes steps and slows down.

Is this just my opinion? Yep. But go back and watch every one of his carries. When he wants to change direction he has to slow down... And then the hole's gone.

He has no natural "bounce".

nick perry's picture

Yup, horrible. Only the all time leading rusher in UCLA history. How many games have you seen him play in? Myself, several, and he's something else with the ball in space. I'd challenge any NFL running back to be impressive running the ball with the Packers backup offensive line, Harrell at QB, no Cobb, Nelson, Jones, or Finley for the defense to concern themselves with. Just Franklin and 11 guys trying to kill him. Just Franklin being met 3 yards deep in the backfield because the backup O-Line is so atrocious. Common Cow42, he's a guy that will need a little time to develop. This is the guy that was the steal of the draft in April. See was a horrible O-Line does for you?

nick perry's picture

Let me get this straight. You want to cut a 4th round draft choice who's ran behind the Packers second string line which consists of Newhouse and 4 UDFA (undrafted free agents). A kid who many "Draft Experts" labeled as a steal of the draft. One of the top 3 RB in this draft class according to others. The Packers stuck with Alex Green, a 3rd rounder through his rookie season and 3 years later, 1 surgery later, is still on the team. Green still lacks vision, still runs up the ass of his offensive linemen, and is a horrible RB. I've seen Franklin through his college years and the kid will grow into a good NFL RB, maybe great who knows. One thing is certain, it's way to soon to pass judgement on Franklin. Granted he's struggled with blitz pickups, hasn't broke a nice run YET but cut him some slack. Should we cut Eddie Lacy too? Did you see what happened to Lacy vs Seattle? With Harrell in the game and the starting 5 offensive linemen, Lacy couldn't even reach the line of scrimmage. Franklin hasn't really had the luxury of playing with the starters and or Rodgers. Maybe instead of bagging on Franklin, bring him along and design some plays for him that play to his strengths. M.M. is a offensive guru right? Get Franklin the ball in space, with other starters on the field like Cobb, Nelson, Finley, Jones, and Rodgers and see what happens. I'll bet the results are better than throwing a 50 pass on 3rd and one which stopped working in 2011.

Cow42's picture

I know they won't cut him. I just feel that RB is a position where it's possible to tell right away if an individual has "it". In my opinion, Franklin does not have "it"... And never will.

By the way...

1. He is nothing like Cobb. Cobb is explosive/sudden.

2. As much as the deep throw on 3rd and 1 drives me nuts, I would rather they do that than hand the ball to Franklin behind that line in that scenario.

Lou's picture

It could very well be based on Jones becoming a free agent at the end of this season and Nelson at the end of the next that one of the young receivers or possibly two could take the spot most think Ross has won. McKnight's stats are very good, and the Jet's are not loaded with RB's, any info on why he was cut would be of interest. I agree with the post about Ross having good size, straight ahead speed and he does not avoid contact but you have to catch the ball first, just like in baseball, you cannot steal first base.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Isn't McKnight the guy that dropped the bar on his throat on the bench at USC? I thought that was him... Just doesn't seem like this is already his fourth year in the league.

Evan's picture

Ha. Was thinking the same thing...but it's not. That was Stafon Johnson. Thank you, google.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Shit, that's right. Thanks, man.

TommyG's picture

He was the guy that got a land rover from a socal dealership.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Don't hate the player... Ya feel me?

hayward4president's picture

+1 ( says some quarterback in Oakland)

TommyG's picture

Not hating. I'm one that thinks these college guys should get pay checks.

Mike's picture

I could pass on both McKnight/Kick. Kick has a hard time driving the ball into the endzone. There is value in having Crosby's touchbacks.

McKnight is also not a motivated player. He never went to practice in college, has had a bad attitude in the NFL, and has had mysterious headaches in the pros. He couldn't make the Jets and they have the worst rbs in the NFL.

Idiot Fan's picture

Agree 100%. I'll take the devils I know...

TommyG's picture

They also have terrible QBs. Man, am I glad to be a Packers fan!

ABayer22's picture

Masthay is a beast on kickoffs, ill take Kick over Crosby any day, and I haven't seen Rugland kick...

Evan's picture

Well, at least your opinion is informed.

mxb's picture

Maybe that's why Masthay was doing kickoffs in the pre-season--to make Crosby more expendable.

Jamie's picture

IMO this may spell the end for Starks and Ross. You kill two birds (KR and backup RB) with one stone. Both Ross and Starks have such limited value at their actual position.

This gives them a spot to use on someone else they value. Ty Walker, Josh Boyd...another young guy they like and don't want to lose.

TommyG's picture

Ross will be on the roster tomorrow afternoon as a WR.

Jamie's picture

I don't see it, but I guess there's a chance. There's also a chance McKnight isn't signed, which I think guarantees Ross' spot.

ZeroTolerance's picture

I I am in agreement. By reduction by addition, we could pick up a roster spot for another OL, WR, or TE.

Jamie's picture

I'll add that if we keep either of Ross or Starks...we keep Starks. Ross is very limited as a WR IMO.

packsmack25's picture

Agreed. I think Ross just doesn't offer enough to make the team. And that muff is the biggest reason we lost that Niners game. Well, that and a guy who is now well-paid by the Colts.

fish and crane's picture

who, in fairness was not coached as well as he could have been..but those same coaches have made the adaptations and....

thehatefulnerd's picture

Starks was the absolute star of TC for the first three weeks.

Yeah, he had the fumble, but at that time he was ALREADY being held out until the scrubs were playing.

So what gives? Is it because he makes mistakes in pass pro?

RC Packer Fan's picture

I wouldn't necessarily say that Starks' job is on the line.
Maybe Alex Green's job is on the line? Starks showed he has the burst and has been healthy. Green has a problem finding holes.
Starks now wouldn't be the main carrier so he should be able to stay healthy, which has been his biggest problem.
They have been trying Green as a KR, which is what McKnight would be brought in for.
I think there is a real chance that it could be McKnight over Green.

mike's picture

lets see here green is a 3rd round pick and starks was a 6th round i think . starks has been there going on 4 years and has yet to play a full season so yea starks is out if they sign him no matter what he did in 2010

RC Packer Fan's picture

I'm not saying that they would let Green go. I just question if they would let him go over Starks.

I know Green was a 3rd round pick. I'm just bringing another point of view.

They have been trying Green as a KR, which is what McKnight would be doing.

WKUPackFan's picture

The Green theory is interesting, seems logical.

nick perry's picture

Maybe he could find the hole on Kickoffs because he can't as a RB.

Charlie's picture


mike's picture

if they sign him i will be glad to help starks move out of green bay and even help him get a wheel chair so he cant injure himself on the way out lol

Evan's picture

He was instrumental in getting us a Super Bowl...just sayin'

chicago hooligan's picture

He played okay in the Super Bowl. The game in Philly is the only one where he was really good.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

That Philly game was tight, we needed Starks there and he came up like a fuggin champ. He'll always be thought of fondly in my house.

The TKstinator's picture

He a pimp, yo.

fish and crane's picture

Starks is the starter in Frisco

Cow42's picture

Lord help us.

4thand1's picture

Total insanity. Cow is just plain nuts. MM is overly cautious in pre-season, and these games were no more than practice to him. The only thing that concerns me is the lack of depth at o-line. Franklin will be another Cobb.

treg's picture

McKnight has problems with migraines.....

cheesewhizzer's picture

Why do we continue this talk of trading running backs? The much bigger problem IMHO is that we have a "C-" offensive line coached by a "F" offensive line coach that couldn't run block if their lives depended on it. Has anyone seen how poorly all of our offensive lineman have played this preseason?? This below average line is supposed to be protecting our "A+" quarterback?? Good luck!! We can have the best kick returner and running backs in the league but unless the line improves I don't see us even making the playoffs with this year's brutal schedule.

Norman's picture

Breaking news: Packers cut Vince Young! Trade for Matt Flynn in the works?

endo daze's picture

The pack OL is WEAK, slow and
If AR gets hurt Pack will finish last....espn.
Weak RB staff that's proven nada...SB nation.

D has improved...hate to see J Miller or Boyd go.
WR...walker and white if dropped will get picked up.
Rumor mill is LB DL DB TE traded for OL RB and QB back ups.
GL Packers...we will need it vs Niners! SF 35 GB 13

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