Mike Freeman wrote an interesting article over at CBS Sports about James Starks and the phenomenon of a rookie performing at such a high level this time of year.
For Redskin fans, it is impossible to watch James Starks and not be reminded of the sensational performance had by Timmy Smith in Super Bowl XXII. He blew up on the biggest stage possible, to the tune of a record-setting rushing performance. Expectations went through the roof in Redskins Nation, with many believing we were set for a long time at the running back position thanks to the arrival of Timmy Smith.
As we all know, that is not how it panned out. In fact, as Freeman points out, "Those 200 yards would end up being one-third of his entire NFL career." Ouch.
For me, the Timmy Smith story is easier to stomach because, hey--we got a Super Bowl trophy. You would be hard-pressed to find many fans who wouldn't trade a burned-out running back (after one game) for the Lombardi Trophy. To be fair, it was sad to see Timmy land in legal troubles a few years ago.
Forgotten in the Timmy Smith phenomenon is one of my all-time favorite Redskins: Kelvin Bryant. I always think that if Joe Gibbs had said, "Kelvin, you're getting the ball today," Bryant would have rushed for 300 yards. He was always knicked up though and Gibbs kind of chose the fresh legs...hard to fault his decision now.
Finally, looping back to James Starks and his pursuit to not repeat the flame-out of Timmy Smith, it might be fair to give the Packer the benefit of the doubt on this one. Between the leadership and direction of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, the rise of Aaron Rodgers, and the stable of offensive weapons they have in Green Bay, the pressure for Starks to carry that team or even that offense is years away, if it ever even arrives.
Then again, before he can be compared to Timmy Smith, he has to win a ring.