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Hill closer to playing at RB

Oct. 5, 2013
 

With James Starks out indefinitely because of a knee injury, there’s a chance undrafted rookie Michael Hill will get a few snaps and perhaps more at running back sometime over the next few games.

The Packers signed Hill to their practice squad after training camp and have been giving him a longer look since promoting him to their 53-man roster on Sept. 30 because of injuries to Starks, Eddie Lacy (concussion), Johnathan Franklin (foot) and fullback John Kuhn (hamstring).

Lacy, Franklin and Kuhn are healthy and playing this week against Detroit, but Hill (5-10, 210) is only an injury or two away from getting into the playing rotation at a position where injuries are common.

Hill, who was cut by the San Diego Chargers at the end of training camp, averaged 6.0 yards a carry in college at Division II Missouri Western. Alex Van Pelt, the Packers’ running backs coach, said Hill’s best attribute is his balance.

“Rarely see him get knocked off his feet,” Van Pelt said this week. “He kind of goes in there and pin balls around but stays up and moving forward.”

With San Diego in training camp, Hill was the best pass protector of the Chargers’ rookie halfbacks, so he received more snaps on passing downs than the rest. If he can protect well in practice for the Packers, that could be his best chance to get on the field early in his career.

“When we play the scout team on blitz days we give (the running backs) our protections as the offense, so we’re protecting (according to) our rules,” Van Pelt said, “and he’s real natural when he has to scan across the field and pick up guys on the other side.”

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