Rookie running back Eddie Lacy is clearly the Green Bay Packers starting running back going forward, but they’re going to have to reduce his carries in order to make sure he doesn’t accrue too much mileage in his first season. Team’s with playoff aspirations also need to be careful not to overwork a young back, because it is crucial for the Packers to have Lacy healthy during the final stretch of the regular season and the playoffs.
James Starks figures to be the guy to get a significant amount of carries behind Eddie Lacy, because Starks has established himself as the team’s clear No. 2 option in the same way that Lacy has separated from the pack as the clear feature back. Starks is fully healed from a knee sprain that caused him to miss three games, as he ran for 57 yards on seven carries with a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings last week. The Packers, as expected, tore up the Vikings in front of a national audience, and the running game was definitely working.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tyler Dunne, the Packers say that they like to ride the “hot hand”. I think that relates specifically to the backup running back gig, because they aren’t going to suddenly sap out Lacy’s carries any time soon. Starks is the “hot hand” among the backups, so expect him to get some solid carries going forward. Lacy will still be the No. 1 back this week against the Chicago Bears and going forward, but look for the Packers to use Starks, who has looked very good this season when healthy, more frequently in order to manage Lacy’s touches.
From Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements, “Well, you want to get them both work. You don’t want to overload one or the other but if one has the hot hand then you stick with him. So it’s not a set plan as to how that works, but they’re both going to play. The line’s going to block for both of them and we’d anticipate that they’d both be effective.”