Ryan Grant expects to be starting RB in 2011, and for good reason
Every sports fan in America does it. It’s that exaggerated feeling of falling in love with rookies and expecting nothing but greatness, while proven veterans are suddenly moved to the back burner and become old news.
In Green Bay, this has certainly been the case with Green Bay running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks.
Just 18 carries into the season, an ankle injury in Week 1 knocked Grant out for the remainder of the 2010 season. From there, the Packers’ run game struggled as Brandon Jackson, Dmitri Nance and John Kuhn unsuccessfully attempted to fill the void.
Then, when Starks was finally activated on November 9, returning from a hamstring injury that had him sidelined since training camp, many expected him to enter the platoon with Jackson and be used only in short-yardage situations. Starks did not see the field until Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers, but he made his presence felt by rushing for 73 yards on 18 carries in that contest. He would rush for just 28 yards on 11 carries in the final two regular season games, but burst onto the scene in the playoffs by rushing for 123 yards in the Packers’ Wildcard win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Starks then became the every-down back for the Packers and finished the 2010 playoffs with 315 yards on 81 carries and a touchdown. His performance was made even more impressive considering the sixth round draft choice was playing for the first time in almost two years. Starks had missed his entire senior season at Buffalo with a shoulder injury.
That skill set combined with fans not having to see Jackson dance in the backfield before diving forward for two yards quickly made Starks a fan favorite in Green Bay. Capping the year off with a Super Bowl victory only further improved Starks’ standing in the eyes of the Packer faithful.
No comments yet.