The Green Bay Packers of Sunday Night Football looked more like the Packers of 2011, albeit with a better defense, in their 42-24 victory over the Houston Texans in what many were calling a must-win game for the Pack. But that must won game had unfortuante developments, with the Packers losing inside linebacker DJ Smith and another running back in Brandon Saine, and the Packers have already lost Cedric Benson.
Now, the Packers will be relying upon second-year running back Alex Green, who is coming off of an ACL injury in his rookie season coming out of Hawaii. Green got the nod over third-year man James Starks, who has missed time with a turf toe injury and is in need of more game-time action to get up to speed.
The coaches, easing Green back from his ACL injury, were orginally giving him counted reps in both practices and games. Well the kid gloves are coming off, and the coaches are likely to put the running game on the young back's shoulders. And he has flashed potential both running between the tackles and out of the backfield. Where Green may have the most trouble will be pass protection, although the Packers will be likely to utlize fullback John Kuhn in that role, particulary on third down.
Among the Packers running backs outside of Benson, Saine was noted by the coaches to be one of the more consistent in pass protection, and he has been active for every game leading up to this one, even when Starks returned to practice.
Green was one of the more surprising draft picks in the 2011 draft, as the Packers still had both Ryan Grant and James Starks at the time. But Green has shown a little of what made the Packers draft him. His toughness and ability have actually been what the Packers have missed in the running game, and brought what Benson did, only younger and in the prime body and age of an NFL running back.
And who knows. If Green does well in the upcoming weeks, he may find himself solidifying a starting spot as the Green Bay Packers' running back.