Green Bay Packers running back James Starks was drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft. In his first two seasons, Starks played in just 16 of 32 regular-season games. His injury trend continued when he injured his toe in the 2012 preseason opener. Through 12 games, Starks played in just six of them.
Starks probably won’t play anymore in 2012. In Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings, Starks reportedly injured his knee. The injury may prove serious enough to put him on injured reserve (IR). He joins Cedric Benson, Brandon Saine and Johnny White on IR. Marc Tyler was released from the practice squad on September 12.
Alex Green and John Kuhn were the only running backs left. General manager Ted Thompson had to consider alternative options. What better option than someone who played with the organization for the previous five seasons? Ryan Grant was reportedly re-signed on December 5, 2012. Grant will turn 30-years-old on December 9, 2012. He can consider this as an early birthday present.
What can fans expect from Grant? Assuming he stays healthy, Grant will hopefully have fresh legs. In 2012, Grant has played in one game with the Washington Redskins. He was released on October 23. Grant’s production may have limitations. It depends on the health of the offensive line.
These injuries have become less and less surprising. Yet, it’s still frustrating to see players miss multiple games on numerous occasions each season. Why does Jordy Nelson keep re-injuring his hamstring? Why did Greg Jennings’ diagnosis of a groin injury take so long? From 2009-11, Benson missed four games total. In 2012, a foot injury will cost him 11 games and the playoffs.
Is it bad luck? Destiny? Does it have anything to do with the medical staff or trainers? Are players getting rushed back? Poor treatment? The Packers aren’t the only team with a lot of injuries. They’re not the only team with significant injuries. However, it’s baffling that so many players re-injure themselves shortly after they’ve been injured.
Starks’ injury should impact the 2013 NFL Draft. Aaron Rodgers wants Benson back. That doesn’t mean that it will happen. Regardless, Thompson must find a running back, preferably one who has durability. Green hasn’t shown that he’s anything more than a role player. They can’t keep relying on running backs who are age 29 or older.
What about the playoffs? The offensive line is the top concern. If they don’t block better, then it won’t matter who takes the handoffs. The offense doesn’t need a dominant running game; they just need something to keep defenses honest. That’s especially true with defenses who have elite pass-rush specialists. The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers are two of those opponents.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. From 2009-10, Huffman completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. He has been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. Twitter HERE.
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