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Notebook: Lacy looks like power back the offense has needed

Aug. 3, 2013
 

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Running back Eddy Lacy, right, cuts away from safety Chaz Powell on Saturday during Family Night at Lambeau Field. / Kyle Bursaw/Press-Gazette Media

Injury report

New injuries: TE Ryan Taylor (lower body).
Still out: WR Sederrik Cunningham (wrist), WR Kevin Dorsey (lower body), WR Charles Johnson (knee), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), CB Tramon Williams (knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), DL Mike Neal (abdominal), T Derek Sherrod (leg), DL Jerel Worthy (knee), LB Dezman Moses (toe), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), TE Andrew Quarless (quad), S David Fulton (knee), LB Jamari Lattimore (illness).
Returned: None.

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In many ways, Eddie Lacy felt like he was back in Tuscaloosa, Ala., standing before a record-crowd of 63,047 in attendance at the Green Bay Packers’ annual Family Night scrimmage on Saturday.

On the field, the 5-foot-11, 230-pound running back flashed the same unique, unrelenting skill set that helped carry the University of Alabama to a national championship and earned him a second-round selection from the Packers in April’s NFL draft.

After replacing James Starks during the team’s no-huddle drill once the first-team offense reached the red zone, Lacy finished the night with eight carries for 61 yards unofficially and looked like the short-yardage power back the Packers’ offense has lacked the past few seasons.

“It was good, man. I haven’t felt like that since I pretty much left college,” Lacy said. “The offensive line did a great job. I pressed the block the way I was coached to press the defense and the offensive linemen made their blocks, and I was able to cut up field and get big yards.”

Earlier this week, Lacy’s name was run through the mud on social media when an unflattering photo that made it appear he was out of shape and overweight surfaced.

That seemed far from the case Saturday as Lacy’s first showing against live tackling illustrated the same ability he’s shown in practice to chip away on defenses and squeeze out 3- or 4-yard carries when nothing really develops.

Although a couple of runs of more than 15 yards electrified those in attendance, it was the smaller efforts that seemed to separate Lacy and aid a Packers offense that really struggled in that capacity last season.

It was only one practice, but the Packers liked what they saw.

“He’s got a chance to be a good player,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who finished the first drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Williams before shutting it down for the night. “You’ve seen the last three or four days watching practice some flashes from him. Again, I’d like to temper it and say this is Family Night. There are a lot of opportunities everybody in the backfield there, but you definitely see the ability that got him drafted second round and he’s starting to come along.”

Pleasant surprise

A solid week of padded practice earned rookie offensive tackle David Bakhtiari some playing time at right tackle with the first-team offense line during the first no-huddle period.

He just wasn’t aware of it until about 1½ hours prior to the start of Saturday’s scrimmage.

“It was awesome to start working with the ones and getting the feel of being out there with Aaron,” said Bakhtiari. “Working with T.J. and building some cohesiveness, it’s just the beginning of it, which is good because everyone is different. Everyone does different things. To get those kinds of snaps was good.”

A fourth-round pick out of Colorado, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman subbed in with the first-team offensive line for Marshall Newhouse on the first no-huddle series. On the final play of the drive, he eliminated rookie linebacker Nate Palmer while Rodgers scrambled his way and found D.J. Williams for a 7-yard touchdown.

Prior to Saturday, the Packers had been rotating Newhouse with second-year pro Don Barclay, who started the final month of the 2012 season at right tackle.

Instead of working behind Newhouse, the Packers decided to keep experimenting with Barclay at center as they look for a backup to starter Evan Dietrich-Smith. Meanwhile, Bakhtiari worked at both tackle spots and had the look of a player who could contribute immediately.

Williams waits

Tramon Williams confirmed he’s had a “couple different doctors” look over the preliminary scans of the knee he injured in one of the opening periods of last Saturday’s practice.

The former Pro Bowl cornerback was going for a ball and rolled over on the ground, which spurred the discomfort. He attempted to keep practicing on the knee before finally dropping out.

Following the scrimmage, Williams said there wasn’t any cause for serious concern.

“It wasn’t a tear at all, so that’s definitely a good sign,” said Williams, whom Packers coach Mike McCarthy said is expected to miss a couple of weeks. “I’m not concerned much at all. At this point, I’m just sitting and resting it. According to the doctors, it’s not serious. That’s about all we can do at this point.”

Williams was one of 16 players who missed the Family Night scrimmage. Tight end Ryan Taylor dropped out and was carted off the field after appearing to roll his leg during an early punt coverage period. Mike McCarthy had no post-practice update.

With Williams on the sideline, a pair of undrafted cornerbacks – James Nixon and Brandon Smith – wowed the Lambeau Field crowd with interceptions during team periods against backup quarterback B.J. Coleman.

Extra points

■ There’s a long way for Johnny Jolly to go in his return to the NFL, but a part of his goal was realized when he retook Lambeau Field with the rest of his defensive linemen for the first time in three years.

Jolly was reinstated by the NFL in February after serving a three-year suspension and sixth-month sentence for repeated codeine-related arrests. Calm all day, Jolly admitted the run through the tunnel proved emotional.

“It brought back memories,” said Jolly of coming out of the tunnel. “The guys were asking me if I was cool. I probably had a surly look on my face, but it brought back memories. I was glad to be back out of those guys and it was a blessing to be back out there.”

■ Second-year defensive lineman Mike Daniels said he didn’t get any sleep last night after his fiancé gave birth to the couple’s second son in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“I’m all right. It’s football. I’ve been playing this game my whole life, I can do it in my sleep, which I kind of did today,” joked Daniels, who was at the team dorms at St. Norbert College before receiving a call around midnight.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
574 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1015 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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