On Now
Coming Up
  • Mon., Dec. 22, 2014 5:15 PM - 5:30 PM CST Live McCarthy press conf. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be available to the media in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.
  • Mon., Dec. 22, 2014 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CST Lacy, Clinton-Dix appearance Packers Eddie Lacy and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are scheduled to appear at the Big Red Kettle at Bay Park Square Mall on behalf of the Salvation Army bell-ringing campaign.
  • Tue., Dec. 23, 2014 1:10 PM - 1:25 PM CST Live McCarthy press conf. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be available to the media in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.
  • Wed., Dec. 24, 2014 1:15 PM - 1:30 PM CST Live McCarthy press conf. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be available to the media in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.
  • Fri., Dec. 26, 2014 12:15 PM - 12:30 PM CST Live McCarthy press conf. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be available to the media in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.
  • Sat., Dec. 27, 2014 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM CST Alumni Appearance (Flanagan, Rivera) Mike Flanagan and Marco Rivera are scheduled to appear at the Packers Pro Shop on Saturday, December 27th, from 2:30-4 p.m.

News

Print
RSS

Countdown to camp: Search for Starks' companion

Posted Jul 12, 2012

The following is the first installment in a series of stories that’ll examine the Packers’ roster position by position. This installment examines running back.

The Packers aren’t inclined to have one workhorse running back.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy has said that repeatedly, that he’s not interested in pounding the same running back at the defense 20-25 times per game.

He stuck to that philosophy in sharing the carries throughout last season between, primarily, Ryan Grant and James Starks. The most carries either back had in one game was 17 (Grant in Chicago in Week 3), and beyond that the highest for either player was 13.

So, with Grant unsigned, Starks healthy and McCarthy presumably looking to distribute the workload once again, the key question heading into 2012 is obvious. Who’s going to be the other guy?

The leading candidates would be the pair of second-year backs who made strong, albeit brief, impressions as rookies in 2011 – Alex Green and Brandon Saine.

Green, a third-round draft pick in 2011 from Hawaii, was just starting to work into the running back rotation last year when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 7.

There’s no way to know how soon any player will feel fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery, but Green has been targeting the start of training camp for his return since the beginning.

He sat out all of the OTAs and minicamp practices as he continued to rehab. At the start of camp, it will be nine months since his injury, and McCarthy’s policy has been to limit players in training camp when they’re coming back from significant injuries, so how quickly Green can get ready for the season remains to be seen.

Saine was an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State last year who began the season on the practice squad and was signed to the active roster when Green got hurt. Over the final month of the season, he started to get the ball more, enjoying two games in which he had at least six carries and three receptions in each.

During spring workouts, McCarthy referred to Saine as the “most consistent” of the team’s backs. Whether the team’s running backs coach has been Edgar Bennett (2005-10), Jerry Fontenot (2011) or now Alex Van Pelt, the top priorities at the position have been ball security and protecting the quarterback, so McCarthy’s comment may mean he sees Saine as the most sure-handed and assignment-sure (in terms of blitz pick-ups) back on the team.

In any event, the fact that the Packers didn’t draft a running back in April, perhaps, was an indication they’re confident in both Green’s recovery and Saine’s continued development.

The Packers did bring in two undrafted rookies, though, in USC’s Marc Tyler and Minnesota’s Du’ane Bennett. Neither player had eye-popping stats in college and they have yet to put pads on as pros, but the offseason program will have them further along in their playbooks than any of the rookies last year, who were locked out until camp began.

At fullback, the Packers enter camp with three – fan favorite John Kuhn, former practice-squad player Jon Hoese, and undrafted rookie Nic Cooper from Winston-Salem State.

Kuhn remains the all-everything guy who can lead block, pass protect, catch checkdown passes and carry the ball, both on the goal line and anywhere else it’s needed. Oh, and he’s a leader on special teams, too.

Whether the Packers keep more than one fullback on the roster will likely depend on the numbers at the other skill positions. Cooper made a solid first impression during OTAs, and he certainly looks the part at a squat 5-10 but bulky 249 pounds.

 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Packers clinch playoff berth, aim for North title

    (3:59) Posted 8 hours ago

    The Green Bay Packers gutted out a 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, clinching a playoff berth and earning a chance to lock up the NFC North crown and a first-round playoff bye.

  • Aaron Rodgers: A good win for us

    (8:12) Posted 10 hours ago

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was available to the media on Sunday, Dec. 21, following the Packers 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

  • Mike McCarthy: It started and ended with defense

    (6:12) Posted 10 hours ago

    Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy was available to the media on Sunday, Dec. 21, following the Packers 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.