Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, top, dives for a
two-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of an NFL
football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San
Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013.
GREEN BAY —
Hold on to the ball. Chip the pass rusher on the inside shoulder.
Track his offensive linemen's helmets to find the holes.
So many tasks to
pick up for the Packers' Eddie Lacy. It's on-the-job training for
the rookie running back.
always room for improvement. It was my first (game). I did some
things well and there (are) some things I have to clean up,"
the rookie from Alabama said Wednesday. "There's always
little details in everything."
He's heeding to
the lesson plan administered by coach Mike McCarthy — work on
the little things, the details — and good things should follow
for Green Bay's running game.
It was a so-so
NFL debut for the 5-foot-11 Lacy, whose 230-pound frame seems
suited to grinding out yards in the black-and-blue NFC North. He
got off to a slow start with four yards on five carries, and lost
a fumble at the Packers 13 that set up a San Francisco touchdown
in the 49ers' 34-28 win last week in the season opener.
Lacy got benched
after the turnover but regrouped in the second half. He finished
with 14 carries for 41 yards and his first career touchdown, a
2-yard score that briefly gave the Packers a four-point lead in
the fourth quarter.
Safe to say, that
milestone ball is tucked away at Lacy's home.
"It's on my
bed. I sleep with it," Lacy said, drawing chuckles.
The Packers took
him in the second round of the draft to beef up the running game
and add more balance to an offense that boasts 2011 MVP Aaron
Rodgers. With the Crimson Tide last year, Lacy often looked like a
pinball bouncing off defenders en route to 1,322 yards rushing and
17 touchdowns, finishing with the highest yards-per-carry average
(6.8) in school history.
Of course, Lacy
still had first-game jitters. Almost every rookie does when he
first steps on to the field at the next level. His next career
landmark arrives Sunday, when the Redskins visit Lambeau Field for
the Packers' home opener.
first-year guys are often counted on to contribute quickly at
Green Bay, which abides by a "draft and develop" mantra.
A right knee injury knocked DuJuan Harris from atop the depth
chart for the season, putting more of a load on Lacy.
"Can't be a
rookie anymore," All-Pro guard Josh Sitton said. "It's
time to go."
Rodgers was in
midseason form in the passing game last week after throwing for
333 yards and three touchdowns. Green Bay scored on four quick,
but long drives, including lengths of 80 and 76 yards.
But aside from
the two turnovers, five three-and-outs also hurt. A couple
penalties brought back nice runs.
Marshall Newhouse said the front five is going to keep at it in
"playing physical and hit people in the mouth. Things will
open up for us."
consistent on drives has been a topic of discussion, in part to
help the defense, too, Rodgers said.
"So it was
the good with the bad ... One first down a series is kind of the
bare minimum for us," he said. "If you do that you can
semi-change field position."
Getting better on
the run would help. But while the Packers expect more production,
they also know that Lacy is learning on the job.
little things. Eddie's no different than any other rookie that
comes into an offense with a veteran quarterback that has the
ability to do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage,"
coach Mike McCarthy said.
care who you bring in here, all of our new guys who are first- and
second-year players are really challenged at this time of year. I
like what I see. He's off to a good week."
Notes: Sitton sat
out practice with a sore back he said he aggravated on the long
flights to and from San Francisco. His availability for Sunday is
uncertain. "I'm an offensive lineman, I mean back problems
are going to happen," Sitton said. The Packers could move Don
Barclay to left guard and slide Newhouse in at right tackle. ...
TE Jermichael Finley sat out with a sore toe he said he injured
after 49ers LB Patrick Willis fell on his heels during a drag
route. He said he plans to play Sunday ... S Morgan Burnett
(hamstring) returned to practice on limited basis, while LB Nick
Perry (neck) was a full participant. CB Casey Hayward remains
sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the NFL should pay
attention to those offended by the Washington Redskins nickname.
"If we are
offending one person, we need to be listening," Goodell said
Wednesday in an interview with 106.7 The Fan, "and making
sure that we're doing the right things to try to address
It was a subtle
change in position for Goodell, who had more strongly supported
the nickname in his previous statements this year.
Goodell, who grew
up in Washington and was a Redskins fan, said it was team owner
Dan Snyder's decision as to whether the name will be changed.
Goodell added, "it is something that I want all of us to go
out and make sure we're listening to our fans, listening to people
who have a different view, and making sure that we continue to do
what's right to make sure that team represents the strong
tradition and history that it has for so many years."
Snyder has vowed
to never change the name, but momentum for a switch has been
growing this year.
The name was
attacked as racist at a high-profile symposium at the Smithsonian.
High schools that use the nickname have come under increasing
pressure to change it. A Native American tribe in upstate New York
ran a radio ad campaign against the name leading up to Monday
Another group of
American Indians is planning a protest during Washington's game at
Green Bay on Sunday. Some media outlets have stopped using
"Redskins." The name is also the subject of a
long-running legal challenge from a group of Native Americans
seeking to have the team lose its federal trademark protection.
Ten members of
Congress recently wrote Goodell asking that the name be changed.
At the time, Goodell responded by calling the name a
"unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and
respect." At the Super Bowl in January, Goodell deflected a
question on the controversy by saying: "I think Dan Snyder
and the organization have made it very clear that they're proud of
that heritage and that name, and I believe fans are, too."
Goodell said: "I know the team name is part of their history
and tradition, and that's something that's important to the
Redskins fans. And I think what we have to do, though, is we have
The Redskins had
no comment Wednesday on Goodell's remarks.