Rookie Lacy leads backfield charge for Packers
Eddie Lacy lines up in the backfield, scans the defense and
notices an awful lot of players ganging up near the line of
Lacy knows what’s coming. Defenses are trying to stop the run.
Tough as it might be, he wants to make them pay.
Despite the absence of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green
Bay has made a late charge in the NFC North race thanks in part to
the 6-foot, 250-pound bowling ball of a running back.
”I know I’m going to get hit when you line up and see eight
guys in front,” Lacy said Wednesday. ”They can hit you at the
line of scrimmage or you can get some positive yards so you can
have some kind of momentum going … the next time you run the
The rookie was drafted in the second round from Alabama to help
complement Rodgers and the passing game. But it’s been six weeks
since they’ve been in the same backfield, and Rodgers hasn’t been
medically cleared to return from his left collarbone injury to play
Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rodgers appears to be inching closer to a return. He hasn’t
played since getting hurt on the first series of a 27-20 loss to
Chicago on Nov. 4.
”Threw the ball extremely well. Looked sharp. He’s getting
better,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
For now, he’s still officially ”limited” in practice, taking
some snaps with the first team while backup Matt Flynn prepares to
start a game that Green Bay (7-6-1) needs desperately. A victory
over the Steelers ensures an all-or-nothing showdown for the
division the following week with the Bears.
Flynn has helped rally the Packers to two straight
come-from-behind wins, capped by the frantic 37-36 win last week in
Dallas to rally from a 23-point halftime deficit – the biggest
comeback in franchise history. Flynn threw for 299 yards and four
But Flynn knows the deal too. He’ll relinquish the job when
Rodgers is ready. The Packers would love to reunite Lacy and
Rodgers in the same backfield, and perhaps get more breathing room
for the running game.
Nursing a sprained right ankle, Lacy ran for 141 yards on 21
carries and the go-ahead touchdown from a yard out last week
against Dallas. Imagine what Lacy might be able when Rodgers
Lacy’s day earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
With 1,028 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, Lacy is the only
rookie in franchise history to run for a least 1,000 yards and five
Lacy sat out practice Wednesday as a precaution. He’s also
walking around in a soft walking boot on the ankle, but McCarthy
expects the rookie to play Sunday.
”You have to run the football; we’ve committed to it more this
year,” McCarthy said. ”Been pleased so far with the way it’s gone
… We can get better.”
For his part, Lacy is soaking up knowledge every week. For
instance, he hasn’t fumbled since Week 1 in San Francisco, when he
made a cut and stumbled forward but didn’t have a good hold on the
”Now, my pads are always square and I have good body leverage
and I’m able to push and cover the ball with my hands,” Lacy
He’s getting used to the timing with his blockers. Besides the
addition of Lacy, the Packers also re-jiggered its offensive line
this year with Josh Sitton going to left guard from the right side
to switch places with T.J. Lang. Rookie David Bakhtiari starts at
Lacy’s running style might be emblematic of the team’s bullish
approach to stay in the playoff chase. Lang noted a recent meeting
when a coach singled out Lacy while players watched film.
”I mean he’s bouncing off four or five guys, and (coach) just
said `Hey, we’ve all got to play like Eddie,”’ Lang said. ”Just
the tenacity and the motor that he has … that’s something that
all of us can learn from and add to our game.”
Note: WR Randall Cobb returned to practice on a limited basis
for the first time after missing the past nine weeks with a leg
injury. Cobb hasn’t been cleared to play in a game, but he said he
thinks that he’s healed and just needs to get back into football
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