Eddie Lacy sat out Packers practice on Wednesday as he recovers from the concussion he suffered Sunday against Washington. That opened the door for James Starks to get his first start of the season at running back. It will be Starks 5th start in his 4 year NFL career.
Mike McCarthy has faith in Starks’ ability. “James Starks is someone I look at as a starter. He can run the ball as many times in a football game as needed. He'll get the starting opportunity this week,” McCarthy.
Starks isn’t overly concerned about the designation as the starter. Instead he’s just trying to control what he can. “I'm just trying to be the best running back that I can be,” Starks said. “I think you know if I just continue to work stay focused on the goals I set for myself I'll be fine.”
In the first quarter of Sunday’s game, Starks was unable to reel in a pass on 3rd down that would have given the Packers a first down in Washington territory. The Packers proceeded to go for it on fourth down and scored a touchdown on that play. Regardless of the result of ensuing plays, that miscommunication in the past would have likely landed Starks on the bench. This time Starks stayed in and rewarded his coach's patience by breaking the Packers string of games without a 100 yard rusher, a drought that had reached 45 games.
Aaron Rodgers thought that for Starks knowing he’d have continued opportunities was important. “When he knew that he was going to get the bulk of carries after Eddie went down. He knew he just had to relax and play because it wasn't going to be his last carry,” Rodgers said. “Where as a guy who's splitting time or a backup guys might worry that this has to be my best carry or I'm not going to get another chance.”
Starks said that in the past he felt like he had let his teammates down with his play and his inability to remain healthy. Teammates like Josh Sitton say that no matter what adversity Starks faced he didn’t waver.
“You know never had his head down kept working, had a great camp,” Sitton said. “That's what really jumped out at us was he had a great camp and we knew that he could come in and do a great job for us.”
Starks added, “I have high expectations for myself and expect to perform at a high level. I don't feel like I did the best that I could so I wanted to come out perform at high level and contribute how I could contribute.”
The Packers will gladly take another 132 yard contribution from Starks this upcoming week against Cincinnati.
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