GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 19: Alex Green #20 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown with T.J. Lang #70 against the Arizona Cardinals in a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
In today's edition of Cheese Curds, we linked to an article from the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Alex Green, the second year running back out of Hawaii who is currently on the road to recovery from a knee injury. Green had a limited, but it seemed slowly expanding role in the Green Bay Packers' offense in the 2011 season before his rookie year was cut short by a knee injury. He's far enough into his rehab that we might see Green back before training camp ends.
A lot has been made of the Packers' decision to let Ryan Grant walk away and to not pick up an additional running back, through either free agency or the draft. We know that James Starks is a reliable, though not spectacular starting running back, but there isn't much experience or truly top-end talent around him. Starks hasn't been asked to shoulder the entire load in the past, and it would be presumptuous to say that he can do it now.
Enter Green, who I thought showed a lot of promise in the limited work we saw from him last season. Here's what I think was probably the most important part of that above-linked Press-Gazette article, which Pete Dougherty did a great job with.
"I'm stronger than I've been my whole life," he said. "My weight is obviously higher than it was when I wasn't injured last year. When they do ball security (in offseason practices) I go inside (The Don Hutson Center) with the other injured guys and get my straight-ahead running and cutting, things like that. Running with the ball in my hands, cutting, catching the ball, things like that."
He hasn't run full speed, but he's able to do almost all cutting drills, and his progress is gauged on the swelling and pain after workouts.
"There isn't too much cutting I can't do," he said. "Just getting off my left leg, getting my muscle memory back."
Green's almost back to full fitness, and I can't want to see him get on the field. I'm not a doctor, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't football ready by the third preseason game, at which point I expect to see him as the third down back. Starks and Saine probably deserve their own posts at some point, but I'm confident in what the Packers have at running back, especially with how little their backs are used relative to other top offenses.