James Starks started practicing this week, but he may not be ready to return yet for the Green Bay Packers, who are expected to sign free-agent running back Joique Bell Monday.
Help is on the way for the #Packers injury-riddled RB unit. I’m told FA RB Joique Bell is expected to sign with GB on Monday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 6, 2016
During his career, Bell hasn’t proven to be anything special. But, he’s a solid, versatile runner that can get tough yards. He also has some ability in the passing game with 161 receptions for 1,640 yards, a 10.2 yard-per-reception average.
As a runner, Bell has 2,240 yards and has averaged 4.0 yard per carry. Yet, he hasn’t averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry since 2012, when he got 5.0 per rush. Bell had 414 rush yards that season, followed by 650, 860 and 311 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 playing for Detroit.
Bell was with the Bears earlier this season, but got just three attempts for six yards in four games. Last season, he had 587 yards rushing and receiving.
Overall, I think it’s a good move for the Packers. It’s the kind of move Ted Thompson hasn’t made in the past. Bell is a veteran. He’s not dynamic, but he can probably get more than 60 yards on 20 carries.
Bell can pass protect, he can catch the ball and behind a solid Green Bay offensive line, he should be able to get some decent production.
What the news of Bell’s signing also tells us, is that Starks might still be 2-3 weeks away. And with road games coming against the Titans, Eagles and Redskins, the Packers can’t afford to have Ty Montgomery and Don Jackson as their only ball carriers.
For years this was the kind of move that Thompson stayed away from. Last offseason, head coach Mike McCarthy expressed that he wanted more veterans. Now he’s got one — we will see what he can do with him.