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Starks Needs To Trust What He Sees

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Starks Needs To Trust What He Sees

Last night I went back and watched every snap taken by Green Bay Packers running back James Starks in last Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.

While an excruciating exercise, it was extremely illuminating. Starks repeatedly cuts back INTO blockers on the back side of runs rather than simply bursting through holes that are right in front of him.

This third quarter run is a perfect example of what I'm talking about:

Notice how Newhouse kicks his guy outside and Wells turns his guy inside, creating a perfect running lane for Starks to run through. Instead, Starks cuts back straight into the defensive tackle. On any outside zone play, backs are told to hit a point, make the read, plant their foot an GO. Instead, on this and too many of his runs last Sunday, Starks is thinking about how he should be cutting - rather than hitting the hole right in front of him.

To be fair, it sure looks like that backside option is there by design, with the way Clifton opens up his left leg and sets up almost in pass pro coupled with Quarless clearing out that area from the fullback position.

But Starks needs to see the hole in front of him and hit it. That's what Grant did so well against the Bears. He didn't try to do anything more than use what was right in front of him.

I still think Starks is the better back - I'm not ready to say "I was completely wrong" after one game. But Starks certainly needs to shake off his performance against the Bears and get back to what he was doing the first two weeks of the season.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

tony's picture

Both running backs have some degree of Jamal Lewis-itis

packeraaron's picture

Perfectly stated.

Aaron Rogders's picture

I remember joking with my brother during the game saying I think Starks was staying up all night playing Xbox.

It was very obvious his head was just not in the game.

fishandcrane's picture

Earlier blogger hit it on the head. Trying to make huge plays...and losing patience. Certainly understandable by a still rookie running back.

Breathe, Brother Starks. You are young, talented, a Super Bowl Champion- don't force anything and everything will come to you.

packsmack25's picture

If you compare it to the last game, it is hard to believe it's the same guy.

CSS's picture

He's wasting his motion with that silly little stutter step he attempted multiple times against the Bears. It's one thing to plant his foot and give a little stutter while still accelerating and maintaining his forward inertia; it's a complete different runner that stands up-right in the hole while stepping sideways in an attempt to avoid a tackler.

He was moving more like a joy-stick in this game: Up, down, left, right. He may as well be 120 lbs. in that case and not 220 lbs. Easy to arm tackle and take down when he does that.

Nerdmann's picture

Yeah, he's had enough experience where he KNOWS how good he can be. Now he's just trying too hard to bust out. Just relax James, do your thing. It will come to you.

Bearmeat's picture

Meh - Just one game. Heck, everyone has a bad day now and again. Look at Brady getting picked off by the Bills 4 times last wk..

Jonny's picture

I kept yelling, "NO Brandon! No!, I thought we got rid of you!" You should post a video of how Grant ran in the holes provided by perhaps the best run blocking o-line the packers have had for decades.

jim's picture

lol... that is who he reminded me of too... word for word what came out of my mouth

Jordan's picture

The same hesitation he showed in Bears game worked well against Panthers. Except they called him "patient" instead of hesitant.

Saints had success vs Bears with cutbacks in week 2 (I watched the game). Bears are notorious for over-persuing. But yes Starks definitely had cutback (big play) on the brain for the whole game.

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