GREEN BAY - For some Packers fans the drafting of Eddie Lacy was seen as a cure all for the often sluggish running game. Lacy though found himself on the bench after an early fumble on Sunday. That fumble perhaps explained Lacy taking extra reps during the Packers ball security period on Wednesday.
Despite carrying the ball 14 times for just 41 yards, Lacy also provided reason for optimism. He made several defenders miss while turning a short pass into a 31 yard gain and in the third quarter, scored his first NFL touchdown by jumping over the pile near the goal line.
Lacy said the run game is right where it need to be. He’s just asking for patience.
"We all on the same page sometimes when you run the ball it will work sometimes it won't. That's just the way the game is but just because it don't work doesn't mean you stop doing it or change things. You've just got to stick to it," Lacy said.
Josh Sitton added that it’s important to get traction on the ground early so Coach McCarthy is more likely to look for the run.
"I think the biggest thing is we've got to give coach confidence early in the game to be able to go back to the run so we've got to be successful early in the game on first down," Sitton said.
Marshall Newhouse didn't start on the offensive line this week but he did see reason for optimism in the run game.
"I just think it's going to come. Eddie he's a rookie too. He's figuring stuff out. We've got too many guys who are figuring stuff out. On the film, watching the film, there are plenty of plays to be made in my opinion. We're not in any panic we're not in any hurry. We're going to keep playing physical hit people in the mouth and things will open up for us," Newhouse said.
Coach McCarthy went on to explain further, "It's the little things and Eddie's no different from 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. I don't care who you bring in here. All of our first and second year guys are really challenged at this time of year."
Aaron Rodgers summed up the need to run the ball in a little more dire language. "You know teams are going to keep daring us to run the ball and we've got to show we can do it consistently,” Rodgers said. When asked how to improve execution the Packers quarterback provided a simple explanation, “You open the holes, you hit the hole, you break the tackles, and you move the chains."
While the running game didn’t live up to expectations for production, last year’s NFL leader in touchdowns, James Jones, didn't record even a catch in the opener against the 49ers. Jones understands that's just part of the Packers offense.
“There were times I was open but he was rolling the other way or he was getting pressured. They try to take away certain plays but A-Rod took advantage of the defense. We had a good day of offense,” Jones said.
Mike McCarthy isn’t worried about his veteran wide receiver. “James Jones is extremely professional. He does a lot of the little things that I think people don't realize. He puts in a lot of extra time.”
No matter who's getting the opportunities, the Packers say what's most important is finishing the game. Jermichael Finley, got many of those chances against San Francisco, catching 5 passes including a touchdown on 8 targets in the game.
“We got them down 4 in the 4th quarter. It's got to be a mentality of do or die, know what I mean,” Finley said.
Whether it's taking care of the football or improving in the run game, the Packers have their work cut out for them at practice this week.
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