After an unflattering picture of Eddie Lacy made its way around Twitter on Monday, plenty of fact-free speculation —especially at the national level and blogosphere -- began about the conditioning of the Green Bay Packers’ big, second-round running back.
Coach Mike McCarthy put a stop to it following Tuesday’s practice.
“Going through the conditioning test, he was fine,” McCarthy said. “Anytime our players come in, we have a physical conditioning test. If we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, he wouldn’t be on the field.”
Lacy was on the field a lot on Tuesday, especially during a lengthy red-zone drill. It was full-go up front but “thud” tackling for the defense, meaning defenders could hit the ball-carrier but not put him to the ground. So, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions about what appeared to be an impressive performance from the former Alabama star. Time and again, Lacy moved the pile, including one run when he barreled through a couple defenders for a touchdown run of about 10 yards. He also showed plenty of nimble footwork to change directions and find daylight. He took one carry off right guard but had nowhere to go, but had the vision to bounce it to the left, where he took it into the end zone for a short score.
“Eddie Lacy definitely falls in the category of a big back, and big backs fall forward. You’re seeing Eddie and you’re seeing James (Starks) doing a better job. I thought James had one of his better days today. You obviously coach all of your backs to try to do that but that’s definitely the benefit of big backs.”
New injuries: CB James Nixon (knee), OT Kevin Hughes (head).
Old injuries: WR Sederrik Cunningham (disclocated wrist), WR Kevin Dorsey (hamstring), WR Charles Johnson (knee), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), CB Tramon Williams (knee); OL J.C. Tretter (broken ankle), OT Derek Sherrod (leg), DE Mike Neal (abdominal), DE Jerel Worthy (ACL).
“I’m not concerned on a serious nature (about Williams). It may be a couple weeks,” McCarthy said, adding that he’d have more information later this week.
Returning from injuries: CB Davon House (illness), S Chaz Powell (foot).
House was back but didn’t make it to the end of practice, but McCarthy didn’t think it was anything major. “He’s in shape, he’s ready to go. I’ve seen him a lot this summer. I would have to say he’s past his injuries from the spring and he looks good. He’s confident.”
-- First-round pick Datone Jones continues his strong start to camp. Just like on Sunday, Jones had a mighty bull rush on T.J. Lang during the one-on-one pass-rushing/blocking drill, with Jones running over Lang. Later, he batted down a pass when dropping into coverage. He’s also working on the No. 2 kickoff team.
-- McCarthy was pleased with the practice after a day off. “I liked the way today’s practice went. Usually after a day off, it doesn’t usually start the way you like. I thought the start was good. Watching the team periods, specifically, the offense made some plays, defense made some plays; offense ran the ball well. I liked a number of things I saw in the fundamental work. I thought we took a step forward today.”
-- With Hayward and Williams out, and with House limited early and “nicked” late and Nixon dropping out early with an injured knee, young cornerbacks Micah Hyde, Loyce Means and Brandon Smith are getting ample opportunities. Nixon started the day as the third corner with Sam Shields and Hyde, with Means replacing him in that role at the end of practice. “I think it’s going to be one of our more competitive positions,” McCarthy said.
-- It’s a team game but there were a number of one-on-one segments, including running backs vs. linebackers in a blitz drill, receivers vs. defensive backs in a passing drill, and offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen and linebackers in run-blocking and pass-protection drills.
“Particularly early in training camp, it’s very important to see your young guys go against the older guys and also to get everybody used to sticking their face in there and playing with the proper leverage and hitting their targets,” McCarthy said. “At the end of the day, there’s going to be one-on-ones at somewhere across the front or you get into the secondary. You have to beat the one-on-ones. You’ve got to win your one-on-ones. You can’t do enough of that stuff.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.