Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) moves away from
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Nick Hayden (96) during the
first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013,
in Arlington, Texas.
GREEN BAY —
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) jumps over the line
of scrimmage to land and score a touchdown during the second
half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.
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 scores.
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
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 returns.
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 scores.
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
"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 ball.
pads are always square and I have good body leverage and I'm able
to push and cover the ball with my hands," Lacy said.
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 left tackle.
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 shape.