Starks has been the more productive back in recent weeks compared to Eddie Lacy, who sustained a groin injury late in last week’s game but was labeled “full-go” by McCarthy for Wednesday’s practice.
“I would say James is our No. 1 back right now, going into Detroit,” McCarthy said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “He has played very well and he earned that opportunity. But I’m not a big believer in just riding one running back the whole season, so we’ll stay with the 1-2 punch.”
Starks had three carries for 28 yards on a first-quarter TD drive last Sunday vs. Carolina, then added three screen passes for 76 yards, including a 29-yard TD, in the second half.
Still, the running game in general is not where McCarthy and the Packers would like it to be. McCarthy noted the overall attempts are low as a result of a poor third-down conversion rate. By the same token, the third-down conversion rate is low in part because of more third-and-longs created by the struggles in the run game.
McCarthy emphasized that the run blocking needs to improve, and that’s across the board, including the tight ends, fullbacks and receivers, as well as the offensive line.
“It needs to be better,” he said. “It’s not just one guy. If it was, we would have made an adjustment or a change.”
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