James Starks: Arian Foster Or Timmy Smith?

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James Starks

Can Starks carry his postseason success over to next season?

I’m not suggesting Green Bay Packers running back [intlink id=”1038″ type=”category”]James Starks[/intlink] is going to turn into the [intlink id=”275″ type=”category”]Houston Texans[/intlink] Arian Foster next season, but this is a comparison of two opposites.

I chose Foster, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2010, and Smith, who rushed for a record 204 yards in Super Bowl XXII as a member of the Washington Redskins, because they both came out of nowhere, much like Starks.

Foster started his pro career slowly, going undrafted out of Tennessee and spending most of his first NFL season on the Texans’ practice squad. He burst onto the scene in week one of the 2010 season, when he gashed the [intlink id=”196″ type=”category”]Indianapolis Colts[/intlink] for 231 yards and three touchdowns and he finished the season with 1,616 yards.

Smith, on the other hand, started quickly and then completely dropped off the map. As a rookie fifth-round pick, Smith killed the [intlink id=”27″ type=”category”]Denver Broncos[/intlink] in Super Bowl XXII. Unfortunately, those 204 yards would equal about one-third of his total career yards. Smith played only three NFL seasons, gaining 602 yards and averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

So here comes James Starks, a rookie sixth-round pick who helps carry the Packers to their fourth Super Bowl title. Starks was on the physically unable to perform list to start the season and played in only three regular season games, gaining 101 yards on 29 carries.

Then the playoffs came around and the Packers decided to use Starks as their featured back. In four games, he gained 315 yards and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. The two most impressive stats are the 123-yard performance against the [intlink id=”374″ type=”category”]Philadelphia Eagles[/intlink] and his 4.7 yards per carry average against the vaunted [intlink id=”386″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] defense.

Was this a Timmy Smith aberration or the beginning of something special like, say, the start of Arian Foster’s career?

It remains to be seen.

Smith’s career was largely derailed by injuries, so if Starks stays healthy he has the opportunity to be something special.

However, the Packers have another decent running back returning next season in [intlink id=”64″ type=”category”]Ryan Grant[/intlink], who spent all but one game on injured reserve in 2010. It’s entirely conceivable Grant could beat Starks for the No. 1 job or the Packers could go to a backfield by committee.

Neither situation bodes well for Starks turning into Arian Foster.

The situation does bode well for the Green Bay Packers, though. They haven’t had a backfield this loaded since Edgar Bennett and [intlink id=”293″ type=”category”]Dorsey Levens[/intlink].

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

9 Comments on "James Starks: Arian Foster Or Timmy Smith?"

  1. Randomacity

    Do a article on the Wisconsin protest and how current and former pack players are supports the protesters.

  2. Madcity PAcker Fan

    I like to keep my Packers separate from fuckhead Republican mistakes. Cool protest though..I am glad it is happening.

  3. iltarion

    Actually, it is called trying to balance the budget. I know, pretty crazy idea now-a-days. My wife works for the state of WI. Just believe me when I say the state asking us for 12% more to help pay for better health insurance than anything you’ll find in the private sector and 5% more for a pension unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere is pretty fricking reasonable. Understandable that the teachers would be protesting though, since they are underpaid in the first place.

    I think there is a bonafide comparison between Starks and Foster. They are both stand up runners. Foster might have a little more shake to him. It should be exciting to see what Starks could do with a full off season under his belt. Oops. Wait, we might not have that.

    • jeremy

      Um yeah the pension and insurance costs are not the real issue here the adjustment addresses only 10% of the shortfall. It’s the permanent neutering of the unions that is causing the protests. If it was really just about balancing a budget the Reps would be willing only temporarily suspend union rights.

      • DevilDon

        Oh sure, temporarily suspend only to have those gains shoved right back our taxpaying hind-ends once the suspension is over.
        You’re delusional if you think anything less would have a lasting effect. It was a stupid idea and a mistake 50 years ago to allow the employees of the state to form a union to bargain against the state. Kinda silly looking back isn’t it?

        • iltarion

          Quite right, DD.

          Like I said, this directly impacts my wallet and those around me, and of everyone I know, it is EXACTLY the fact that their paychecks are going to be smaller that people care about. Do you think 40,000 would be protesting over union rights?

          Trust me. If Scott Walker said, “Okay, we’re decertifying your union and taking away your ability to collectively bargain, BUT there will be no slashes to your pay or benefits this year,” that crowd of protestors would melt down to 300 fools who actually give a shit about being in a union.

          • jeremy

            I lived in Milwaukee County with Scott Walker as County Exec for eight years and he didn’t manage to lower taxes despite all of his false promises.

            Not even once.

  4. Actually, Foster didn’t burst onto the scene against the Colts. He burst onto the scene in the final two weeks of the 2009 season. He gave a little foreshadowing of his 2010 success in those weeks. Him winning the starting job so clearly was the big surprise (thanks in large part to Tate’s injury), not the fact that he was successful this year – though certainly the degree of his success was surprising. I had him penciled him in for 1300 yards and 11 TD’s – and I was sky high on him…

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