James Starks has certainly had a very interesting month.
From earning one of the final spots on the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster in late August to putting forth the franchise’s first 100-yard rushing performance since October 2010 on Sunday, the former University of Buffalo standout has rapidly ascended from the bottom of the depth chart to starting tailback heading into Green Bay’s impending showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Such is the personification of the NFL’S next-man-up ethos.
“James Starks is definitely someone I look at as a starter,” cited Green Bay head coach Mike McCarty, who announced on Wednesday, as reported by therepublic.com, that the 6’1”, 203-pound Starks who earn the starting nod on Sunday as rookie tailback Eddie Lacy recovers from a concussion suffered during the Packers’ 38-20 triumph over the Redskins this past Sunday, “and the ability to run as many times in a football game as needed. James will get the starting opportunity this week.”
Starks’ standing among the Packers’ starters, however, will likely depend on the status of Lacy, who sustained his injury following a helmet-to-helmet collision with Washington safety Brandon Meriweather, who was subsequently fined $42,000 by the league on Wednesday for the hit.
Nevertheless, should Starks, who has amassed 1,066 yards rushing and three touchdowns in 24 games with Green Bay, continue to produce in the weeks to come as he did atop the gridiron this past weekend (a career-best 132 yards and one touchdown scamper on 20 carries), the Packers may, finally, have an effective ground game to compliment its pass-happy offense.
“We know what he’s capable of,” noted Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, according to therepublic.com, Starks’ teammate since 2010. “Like most players, I’m sure he’s a confidence player. The more opportunities he gets when he knows he’s the guy and he’s going to get a lot of reps, that can only give you more confidence.”
While Starks’ showing against the Redskins undoubtedly instilled a renewed sense of confidence in the fourth-year back, should the former sixth-round draft pick produce similar numbers against the Bengals and their seventh-ranked defense on Sunday, the sky, as they say, is likely the limit.
“You have to make the most out of each and every opportunity,” noted Starks, the Packers’ stating running back in Super Bowl XLV, according to jsonline.com. “Each opportunity I get a shot at, try to make the most of it.”