Packers Have Bigger Needs Than C.J. Spiller

C.J. Spiller would add a big-play threat to an offense that needs a jolt. But the team has bigger needs for its vacant roster spot.

The Green Bay Packers worked out explosive but inconsistent running back C.J. Spiller on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported.

Spiller would be an intriguing addition to a backfield one-two punch of powerful Eddie Lacy and slashing James Starks. Lacy is off to a solid start, with 26 carries for 111 yards and a 4.3-yard average. But Starks has struggled out of the gate. He’s rushed 11 times for 10 yards. Against Minnesota on Sunday night, he was stopped short on a fourth-and-2 and appeared to trip and fall at the end of a 16-yard screen. He wasn’t a whole lot better in the preseason, with a 3.4-yard average on 18 carries.

Spiller was a first-round pick by Buffalo in 2010. In six seasons, he’s rushed for 3,433 yards and averaged a sterling 4.9 yards per carry. He’s added 192 receptions — 32.0 catches per season and 7.5 yards per reception. His best season came in 2012, when he rushed for 1,244 yards with a 6.0-yard average and averaged 10.7 yards on 43 receptions. However, he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry with Buffalo in 2014 and 3.1 yards per carry with New Orleans in 2015, and 6.4 yards per catch over the past three seasons.

While the Packers have only Lacy and Starks on the roster at running back, they might have bigger needs for their vacant roster spot. With defensive tackle Letroy Guion likely to miss at least a game or two with a knee sprain, the Packers are short-handed at a position that wasn’t deep to begin with. With Mike Pennel serving a four-game suspension, the Packers are left with only veteran Mike Daniels, first-year player Christian Ringo and rookies Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. Datone Jones, who moved to outside linebacker halfway through last season, did yeomen's work at end in the base defense vs. Minnesota. Still, promoting undrafted Brian Price from the practice squad would be a logical move.

The situation at cornerback depends on Sam Shields’ recovery from a concussion that kept him out of the Minnesota game. The Packers got by with Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter vs. Minnesota but Detroit’s offense revolves around quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has thrown 79 passes in two games. The Packers could use another cornerback for Sunday if Shields isn’t cleared.

Bill Huber is publisher of 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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