On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jun. 20, 2015 12:00 PM CDT Kenny Chesney/Jason Aldean concert Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney have announced that their tours, The Burn It Down Tour and The Big Revival Tour presented by Corona Light, will collide for 10 stadium shows next summer, including Lambeau Field on Saturday, June 20, 2015.  More on-sale information and special guests will be revealed over the coming weeks.
  • Mon., Jul. 13, 2015 7:00 AM CDT Packers Hall of Fame Inc. Golf Classic

    The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. Golf Classic is set for Monday, July 13, 2015, at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls, WI. Those interested in participating in the event can contact Holly Borga (920-965-6986; hollyb@packershalloffame.com) for more information.

  • Sat., Jul. 18, 2015 7:00 PM CDT Brett Favre's Packers HOF Induction Banquet

    The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. will induct former Packers quarterback Brett Favre at the 45th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet. The event will also feature the retirement of Favre’s No. 4. This dual recognition is an honor that is unprecedented in Green Bay Packers history. The banquet will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in the Lambeau Field Atrium.



Grant, Starks offer quality, but what about depth at RB?

Posted Apr 1, 2011

If and when training camp begins, the stage will be set for a high-profile battle between Ryan Grant and James Starks for the starting running back job. Grant’s recovery from last year’s season-ending ankle injury and Starks’ late-season emergence as a featured runner give the Packers a feeling of security at the running back position, but overall numbers would seem to be lacking.

Behind Grant and Starks are Brandon Jackson, an accomplished pass-blocker who contributes in the run and pass games, utility back John Kuhn and Dimitri Nance, who was signed off the Falcons’ practice squad last Sept. following Grant’s injury.

Quality? Yes. Depth. Not exactly, and that’s why the Packers can be expected to add to their stable of running backs in either the draft, undrafted free agency or both.

Let’s start with the quality.

Grant was coming off his best season as a pro when he was lost for the season in the opener in Philadelphia last year. Grant had put together consecutive 1,200-yard rushing seasons and was the perfect complement to an Aaron Rodgers-led offense that clearly wants to lean on the pass and use the run to establish balance.

Will he have made a full recovery from ankle surgery? Can he hold off Starks? Those are the two questions Grant will have to answer in 2011.

Starks came out of nowhere late in the season to emerge as a force in the offense. He had a breakout game in the playoff win in Philadelphia.

A sixth-round pick out of Buffalo last year, Starks has the size and speed to suggest he has a future as a featured runner. He’s a player to watch in the Packers’ future.

Jackson is an offensive-minded coach’s dream. You can trust him to make all of the blitz pickups and find a way to drift into the flat and offer the quarterback a safety valve.

Kuhn became somewhat of a Mike McCarthy invention and developed a cult following last season. Kuhn can play running back or fullback. He’s a block-a-lot, run-and-catch-a-little player who fits into a specific role. He’s one of the brushes with which McCarthy “paints.”

Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson are pure fullbacks and are being groomed for their roles as blockers. Hall is also one of the Packers’ top special teams players. Johnson is pure power. He’s a road-grading blocker who offers the same type of power as a short-yardage and goal-line runner.

Jackson and Kuhn are scheduled to become free agents; under the old rules they would become unrestricted free agents and that’s where the guessing game begins. What are the Packers’ plans for retaining one or both of those players? Will those plans depend on what the Packers do in the draft?

The latter question is what makes running back an intriguing position in this year’s draft. The crop of running backs in this draft isn’t star-studded, but it has some depth to it and the top of the class seems to fit nicely with where the Packers are picking in the first two rounds. 

Vic Ketchman is a veteran of 39 NFL seasons and has covered the Steelers and Jaguars prior to coming to Green Bay.

blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos