Packers should pump the brakes with James Starks

James Starks' injury history should make the Packers think twice.
James Starks’ injury history should make the Packers think twice.

James Starks put an end to the continued joke that swirled around the Packers by running over, through and around the Redskins.

By racking up 132 yards on the ground Starks ended the club’s 51-game streak without a 100-yard back.

I’ll admit, as soon as Eddie Lacy went down on the fifth play from scrimmage, I was pretty hesitant as to how this running game was going to continue. Lacy is the prototypical punishing running back the Packers coveted. The guy that will not only move the chains in December and January but a guy that opposing defenders aren’t going to want to tackle either.

But in comes Starks. And wouldn’t you know it, safety Brandon Meriweather, who sent Lacy into a concussion with a questionably legal hit, was given his own due by Starks. Meriweather tried to make a physical tackle on the 6-foot-2, 218-pound fourth-year running back, but Starks showed why that was a mistake after Meriweather was given his own concussion.

Starks looked great. He had 10 runs of eight yards or more and even caught four balls for 36 yards.

Yet, I caution Packers fans to get too excited about this newfound rushing resurrection.

Let’s not forget that Starks didn’t play his senior year at the University of Buffalo because of a shoulder injury. Then he got nicked up in training camp not long after being drafted in 2010 and was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Then last December he suffered a bone bruise in his knee and never returned to form that season.

The reason the Packers thought so highly of Starks to take him in the sixth round even though he missed his senior season is because he’s a bigger back that has the small-back quickness.

However, after being a mainstay on the injury report, the Packers drafted not only one but two running backs in the 2013 draft. If it wasn’t for DuJuan Harris getting injured, I’d be talking about some other Packers running back that stomped all over the porous Washington defense.

It was great seeing Starks running that strong, but let’s remember the Packers don’t need its running backs to consistently put up C-notes. If the lead back gets 65 yards each week, that’s plenty to keep defenses honest and more importantly, let Aaron Rodgers show off his high efficiency.

Starks is plugging a hole while Lacy is nursed back to health as he tries to quickly pass his baseline tests. In the meantime, don’t be surprised to find Starks on the injury report.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn