Green Bay Packers Player Profile: James Starks


Who would have thought that just a couple of seasons ago, the Green Bay Packers would have one of the best 1-2 running back combinations in the league? Probably not many, but the fact is they do now.

Everybody knows about Eddie Lacy and what he brings to the table, but nobody should ignore what James Starks brings to the team and how valuable he is to the success of the Packers. Starks doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he should.

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This is a big upcoming season for Starks. He is entering his final year on his contract and will be auditioning for the Packers and other teams across the league for a new, and perhaps, a bigger contract.

Most Packer fans remember the run Starks had in the latter part of his rookie year in 2010. Starks was a key player in helping the Packers secure their Super Bowl XLV win. After 2010, Starks struggled to stay healthy and put up consistent numbers. The Packers needed to improve their running game and they did so by drafting Lacy and Jonathan Franklin in the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Starks’ job was on the line in 2013, but he made the team and has flourished in his new role as a backup to Lacy and being a change of pace back.

The one thing that could hurt Starks is that he will be 30 years old next year. Granted, Starks doesn’t get as many carries as Lacy, but when running backs reach the age of 30, their play starts to decline and teams are looking for younger options.

This will be a crucial training camp and upcoming season for Starks to show the Packers and the league that he can still be a serviceable back in the league and that he is still able to still produce at a high level.

The Packers no doubt love the fact the Starks was a starter in the past and has played in some big games. That experience no doubt gives the Packers confidence in Starks if he has to come in as relief for Lacy. Last season, Starks played well, given his limited opportunities, and filled in admirably when Lacy was on the bench.

The Packers will probably be looking to limit Lacy’s carries this year and are looking to give the ball to Starks more during games. The last thing the Packers want to do is use Lacy up too much in his career, therefore, they will be looking to Starks to get a bigger work load this upcoming season.

Can Starks handle a bigger load though?

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  • That’s the question Starks has to answer. If Starks can continue to play well and accept his role like he has the past couple of seasons, the Packers will continue to have one of the best 1-2 combos in the league. Starks and Lacy have different running styles, which keeps opposing defenses off balance.

    Starks seems to thrive in the change of pace style he is currently in and the Packers are hoping he can continue to do that.

    Starks is a shoo-in to make the team this year, but it will be a big training camp and upcoming season for him. He needs to show he can still thrive as the No. 2 back in the 1-2 punch for the Packers. If he wants a new contract, and perhaps a bigger one, he will need to show he hasn’t lost a step even though he is a less than a year away from 30.

    Starks should also expect a bigger role this year. For the Packers to have any type of continued success with their running game, Starks has to accept that bigger role and play well with his opportunities.

    Everyone knows what to expect from Lacy. Starks is still a little bit of an unknown. If Starks can get it going for the Packers, the Packers become that much more dominant on offense.

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