GREEN BAY - Punter Jacob Schum endured his worst performance as a member of the Packers last weekend against the New York Giants.
The numbers were ugly. His average was 36.5 yards on four attempts. His net was even worse at 35. His hang time — a trait the Packers coveted when the claimed him off waivers near the end of training camp — was subpar as well, just 4.13 seconds.
But special teams coordinator Ron Zook said Schum took a step toward righting the ship with an impressive day of practice Thursday. If he carries it over to Sunday, the fans won’t have any reason to boo.
“He hit the ball great today, he really did, and obviously we track that,” Zook said. “I mean, he did have a bad (game) and he knows that. I don’t want to make light of it, but on the same token, I think if you go back and you look around the league you just see punters that we’ve just kind of been snake-bit a little bit; the guys we’ve played against have been booming the ball.
“But he did, he had a good week of practice. I’m looking forward to getting out there on Sunday.”
If all goes well, running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks will recover from their respective injuries in time for kickoff Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
If all does not go well, general manager Ted Thompson may be forced to make a decision. The Packers are likely to need an additional running back on the roster if either Lacy (ankle) or Starks (knee) can’t go.
Enter Don Jackson, practice squad tailback.
Jackson signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in May but got released when he broke his jaw before training camp. The Packers re-signed him after camp ended and he’s been on the practice squad ever since.
Despite his inexperience — no reps in an exhibition game, no reps in a regular season game — Jackson, a rookie, has impressed running backs coach Ben Sirmans.
“If it did come down to a situation where he was out there, obviously he would be a guy that we’d be confident (in), and that’s why we brought him back,” Sirmans said. “I liked him during OTAs and those things, and since he’s been back you can see the energy and the juice that he brings to the table.
“Hopefully it doesn’t come down to those scenarios, but if it does, I feel confident that he would be a guy that could help us.”
By now, the tweet from tight end Jared Cook has 11,000 retweets and more than 9,200 likes. It sparked headlines across the country and, undoubtedly, a large number of jokes as well.
Those jokes — the ones highlighting the chicken head Cook received from Buffalo Wild Wings last week — made their way into the tight ends classroom at Lambeau Field.
“Actually I was the last to know about it,” tight ends coach Brian Angelichio said. “I think I found out like two days later. But yeah, they had some laughs. And then I finally got included on it.”
S Chris Banjo (hamstring), TE Jared Cook (ankle), CB Sam Shields (concussion) and RB James Starks (knee) did not practice Thursday for the Packers.
WR Randall Cobb (neck), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), guard T.J. Lang (hip), CB Damarious Randall (groin) and center JC Tretter (back) were limited participants.
Lang had been a full participant in Wednesday’s practice before dropping down in Thursday’s padded session. Tretter, meanwhile, appeared on the injury report for the first time.
Cobb moved well at practice and took part in more drills than he did the day before.
For the Cowboys, RB Lance Dunbar (knee), OT Chaz Green (foot), QB Tony Romo (back), CB Orlando Scandrick (hamstring), OT Tyron Smith (back) and LB Kyle Wilber (neck) did not practice.
WR Dez Bryant (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (ankle) and DE David Irving (concussion) were limited participants.
K Dan Bailey (back), WR Terrance Williams (shoulder) and TE Jason Witten (chest) were full participants on Thursday.