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According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, James Starks was on the field for 45 plays in the Thursday-night opener against the New Orleans Saints, while Ryan Grant was out there for 16. If anyone had any lingering doubt whether the Green Bay Packers consider Starks a playmaker, this should about settle it. You saw Grant start the New Orleans game, but once Starks got his first carry with 9:39 left in the second quarter, the difference between them was obvious.

With the New Orleans Saints’ best receiver sidelined Sunday and a critical slot man limited at practice this week, New Orleans may have to rely on a stable of wideouts that sounds like a law firm – Henderson, Meachem & Arrington – to beat the Chicago Bears. And only two of those named partners have a track record.

The Saints worked hard this off-season to rethink their offensive strategy, and re-build their group of runningbacks after putting an emphasis on getting better at running the ball after a disastrous 2010 season on the ground.

Cornerback Tracy Porter was added to the Saints’ injury list Thursday when he missed practice with a calf injury. The Saints described his absence as a precautionary measure, so there’s still a good chance he can play Sunday against Chicago. If not, Porter might be missed even more than injured receiver Marques Colston.

Sunday is certain to be a challenge for Briggs, Brian Urlacher (who is expected to play) and crew against Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense Sunday in the Superdome. Even in a season-opening 42-34 loss to the Packers, New Orleans managed to put up 477 total yards.

The thing that impressed me most about the New Orleans front was their ability to work together to pass off twists. Dom Capers was bringing a lot of pressure, and using a bunch of crossing rushers in order to get to Drew Brees. Most of the night, the Saints did a great job of staying disciplined and not chasing any rushers, but rather passing them off to a teammate and accepting the new rusher that emerged.

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Tags: Brian Urlacher Carolina Panthers Charles Brown Chicago Bears Darren Sproles Devery Henderson Drew Brees Green Bay Packers James Starks Marques Colston New Orleans Saints NFL Olin Kruetz Robert Meachem Ryan Grant Tracy Porter Zach Strief

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