Green's Career Takes Giant Leap

Rookie third-round pick Alex Green showed his potential to be an immediate contributor with a 25-yard catch and run on a second-quarter screen. Moments later, he took his first Lambeau Leap with a 2-yard touchdown.

Rookie running back Alex Green gave Green Bay Packers fans flashes of days when another back with the same last name in Ahman was a stalwart of the screen pass.

Late in the first half of the Packers' 28-20 preseason victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Green caught a 25-yard screen from backup quarterback Matt Flynn at the two-minute warning of the first half of Friday night's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. That set up his 2-yard touchdown run – and his first Lambeau Leap, which he nervously embraced.

"I didn't know what to do at first," Green said. "I was like, 'Oh, shoot. Should I do it or not?' One of the linemen told me, 'Make one of them Lambeau Leaps,' and I went in there and did it. It felt good."

Green looked good after missing last week's preseason opener because of a quad strain.

"It jumped out at me on the screen," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He looked excellent on the screen play. I thought he made a good first impression."

On the screen, Green caught the ball near the numbers on the 27, followed his blockers, slipped a couple tackles and raced to the 2-yard line before being tackled by Richard Marshall.

"Caught the ball and wanted to get up the field as fast as possible," Green said. "That's pretty much our scheme. The linemen did a pretty good job for me as far as the blocks go. I did what I could do."

Ahman Green, who announced his retirement last week and is the franchise's career leader in rushing yards, caught 378 passes for 2,883 yards and 14 touchdowns, many coming via the screen.

Alex Green finished the game with 8 yards on six carries. Scoring touchdowns isn't something that is new for Green, who tied Hawaii's single-season school record of 18 touchdowns last season. He rushed for 1,199 yards as a senior – the first Hawaii back to top 1,000 since 1992 – and led the nation in yards per carry while playing in a prolific spread offense. It was Green's production in that scheme that convinced them to use a third-round pick on him in April.

"He's a big back, No. 1," McCarthy said. "I think there's definitely a place in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for big backs. He definitely has the foot quickness to make people miss. ... The thing that jumps out at me, people talk about the spread offense in college, I think there's a lot of benefits when you have players who come from a spread offense in college because the hardest down in pro football, I think, is third down. He seems to handle the third-down concepts and responsibilities seamlessly so far, just in a general sense. He still has a lot to learn. I'm not ready to crown anybody here. I am very impressed with the way he handles third down. That's a tough down for a young running back in our system."

While Green appeared to be at least partially responsible for one of the sacks, he's got a strong supporter in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"I've been a big fan," Rodgers said. "He actually played with my little brother at Butte College and Jordan's been talking about him since we picked him. You've seen flashes of the stuff he did tonight in practice. He's going to be a big contributor for us. If he can understand our pass protection stuff, I think he can really be a guy we can potentially stick in there on third downs. I'm very happy for him. He's a good young man and he's got a bright future for us."

With James Starks, who is battling Ryan Grant to be the starter, out with a sprained ankle, Green received extra playing time a week after being sidelined at Cleveland. During his absence, Green fell from the top spot on the kickoff-return depth chart. In one opportunity against the Cardinals, he showed the speed and tackle-breaking ability that intrigued special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum by rumbling for 28 yards.

It may be too early for the comparisons to Ahman, but fellow running back John Kuhn said he sees Green as an asset to the Packers.

"Only time will tell. He'll continue to grow, obviously," Kuhn said. "(He's) still very young, only been playing now for three weeks for us. He's still about as fresh as it gets. We're going to see here real shortly what he can really do and I think you saw a little bit of that tonight."


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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