Green is Packers' version of Rams' Faulk
During the last two seasons, Marshall Faulk and Ahman Green have been the most productive running backs in the NFL Thursday, January 17, 2002
Green Bay News Chronicle

During the last two seasons, Marshall Faulk and Ahman Green have been the most productive running backs in the NFL

By Doug Ritchay
During his two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, running back Ahman Green has developed into one of the most complete running backs in the NFL.

After compiling 1,734 total yards from scrimmage last season, Green came back with 1,981 total yards this season. Aside from the St. Louis Rams' Marshall Faulk, no running back in the NFL has gained as many yards as Green the last two seasons.

So, when the Packers visit St. Louis on Sunday, the two most productive running backs in the NFL will be in the spotlight, trying to lead their teams to the NFC championship game. Although Green's numbers have been impressive, he's not quite at Faulk's level, but it might be just a matter of time.

"Ahman Green has the potential to be that type of player," Packers' quarterback Brett Favre said. "Marshall Faulk is a special player and capable of doing many things. Ahman Green is really just realizing what he's capable of doing.

"He's only been a starter since the fourth or fifth game of last year. The way he has handled it, his work ethic ... will make him a player like Marshall."

"They do more with Faulk than we do with Ahman Green at this stage of his career," said Packers' head coach Mike Sherman, referring to the fact Faulk often splits out at wide receiver during games, while Green does it on rare occasion. "Maybe at some point we will evolve to there. I think Faulk can play any skilled position on offense or defense if they wanted him to."

Green's success is surprising, considering he came from Nebraska, which considers a pass a pitch on the option. Then, after being drafted in the third round by Seattle, Green sat on the bench because of ball-handling problems.

The ball-handling improved as he played more in Green Bay, and he has become a reliable receiver. Green has led the Packers with 73 and 62 receptions the last two seasons, and the last Nebraska running back to have this type of impact on an offense in the NFL was Roger Craig, when he played with San Francisco.

"Surely at Nebraska they didn't ask him to catch the ball," Favre said. "He was basically thrown away at Seattle. We feel very fortunate to have him. People who follow us know how important he is to this offense."

Packers' defensive coordinator Ed Donatell is devising a game plan to contain Faulk on Sunday, and St. Louis is no doubt doing the same for Green.

"They're similar in some ways, but they use Marshall more in the receiving game," Donatell said. "They're both very good backs, excellent backs and very explosive."

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