Packers Training Camp Countdown: 12 Days

Running back Alex Green was mostly invisible as a rookie — and that was before tearing his ACL. Now, in an unsettled backfield, big things are expected of a player who was compared to this NFL standout by scouts before the 2011 draft.

There are 12 days remaining until the Green Bay Packers kick off training camp.

Every day until the start of camp on July 26, we'll be giving you one juicy nugget to whet your appetite for the return of football. We'd give you more but the CBA forbids two-a-days. Sorry.

Green's golden opportunity

There are several second-year tailbacks around the league being counted on by their respective teams to become big-time ball-carriers in 2012.

But few of them posted only three attempts, or gained a whopping 11 yards, as Alex Green did for the Green Bay Packers in his debut season.

Yet the former third-round draft choice from Hawaii, who appeared in just four games before a knee injury ended his initial NFL season, is regarded as an essential part of the Green Bay running game for 2012. The Packers have not signed a veteran back, didn't invest a draft choice in a runner, and don't appear interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent Ryan Grant, the last Green Bay runner to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season (2009).

The carries might not be split 50-50, but Green is expected to share time with James Starks at tailback.

"It really is kind of a vote of confidence," Green, who continues to rehab from his knee injury," told The Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli this week. "A lot of people might (view) last year as wasted, but I learned a lot about what it takes to play at this level, (and) I'm anxious to show it."

Like Starks, Green is a potential three-down back. Coming out of Hawaii, scouts like Green's receiving ability. He's more quick than fast, and at 225 pounds, he is a violent, downhill runner.

He drew comparisons to Atlanta's Michael Turner coming out of college. "Turner is a few pounds bigger, but both get most of their success pounding the inside rush lanes," read Green's official NFL scouting report. "Green is an excellent downhill runner with good power and vision. He has become a valuable route runner and has solid ball security skills. Near the goal line, he's almost a certain six points."

About the only thing in question is his ability to protect the quarterback. For Green Bay, ball-security and pass protection are more important than the actual running of the football. With his size and intelligence, however, pass protection should be an asset. If he shows the intelligence to continually find the blitzer and the toughness to routinely stop him in his tracks, Green will become a major part of the backfield rotation.

The Packers' brass might be keeping the phone numbers of a few veterans on speed-dial, but for now, the plan seems to be to go with Starks, Green, and perhaps Brandon Saine, an undrafted rookie in 2011, who logged just 18 carries.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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