Not that it’s time to anoint rookie running back James Starks the second coming, but the sixth-round pick looks like he might have a bright future with the Green Bay Packers.
Starks ran for 73 yards on 18 carries in the Packers’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday. Meanwhile, starting halfback Brandon Jackson got only four carries and John Kuhn had only six.
Against the 49ers, the Packers played to each back’s strength, utilizing Jackson in the passing game (four receptions, 63 yards), Kuhn for short, power runs and Starks for pretty much everything else.
Starks, who hasn’t played since his junior year of college because of injuries, was only supposed to see 8-10 carries on Sunday, but he earned more as the game went on.
“I like his running style. Everybody is going to talk about how high he is, just because of his particular build. But he’s a talented young man and when he comes off the back end, you better watch out, it’s going to the end zone. He has that kind of ability,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He falls forward and the bigger backs have that ability. And that’s the difference. That’s the difference between second-and-7 and second-and-4.”
McCarthy mentioned the fact that Starks falls forward twice during his post-game press conference, so the coaching staff obviously likes what he can do. What’s perhaps more telling about the rookie’s long-term potential is the fact both he and McCarthy noted that he was rusty.
Once the rust wears off and Starks gets coached up, the Packers may find they have a real steal on their hands.