Green Bay Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy and veteran guard Josh Sitton were named to the Associated Press’ All-Pro second team on Friday.
“I think it’s well-deserved,” coach Mike McCarthy said after Friday’s practice, two days before a Wild Card showdown against San Francisco at frozen Lambeau Field. “Very happy, very proud of both Eddie Lacy and Josh Sitton for their recognition as an All-Pro. Very deserving. Been staples throughout the year. Josh, I felt that he clearly had his best year as a pro. He went to the Pro Bowl last year and I think he’s clearly one of the best, or the best, guards in the league. Eddie Lacy, what an impact he’s made for our football team, especially as a rookie. We were very pleased to get the news.”
The AP’s team, selected by a national panel of 50 writers, is considered the official All-Pro team.
At running back, Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles got the first-team honors, with Lacy and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson on the second team.
Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns – both setting franchise rookie records and ranking eighth and third, respectively, among all running backs. After a slow start to the season, including a benching after fumbling in Week 1, a concussion sustained on his only carry in Week 2 and missing Week 3 because of the concussion, Lacy rushed for 1,127 yards in the final 13 games. Only McCoy, with 1,139 yards, rushed for more yards than Lacy during that span.
“I think it’s pretty cool, man. I don’t know too much to say about it,” Lacy said in his typically understated style.
At guard, Denver’s Louis Vasquez and Philadelphia’s Evan Mathis were the first-team choices. Sitton was joined by New Orleans’ Jahri Evans and New England’s Logan Mankins on the second team.
Sitton moved from right guard, where he started the previous four seasons, to left guard during the offseason. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Sitton is the league’s second-ranked guard and is No. 1 among guards in pass protection.
“It’s cool, man,” Sitton said. “I’ve been working my butt off for a long time, so it’s something that has been a goal of mine for the last few years, so I’m definitely proud of myself and thanks to everyone who voted. I do appreciate it.”
The Packers have had at least two AP All-Pros in each of the last seven seasons. Last year, Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews were second-team choices.
San Francisco has five All-Pros: NaVorro Bowman is a first-teamer at inside linebacker, and tight end Vernon Davis, offensive tackle Joe Staley, defensive tackle Justin Smith and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks were voted to the second team.
In the NFC North, Minnesota had Cordarrelle Patterson as the first-team returner and Peterson on the second team. Detroit had receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on the first team. Chicago had no All-Pro choices.
Packers injury report
Out: OLB Clay Matthews (thumb). Probable: ILB Brad Jones (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), OLB/DE Mike Neal (abdomen), OLB Nick Perry (foot), DT Ryan Pickett (knee).
After practicing in Thursday’s padded workout, Neal and Perry were held out of Friday’s practice to keep them fresh for the game.
“I think both of them had an outstanding day of practice yesterday,” outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene said. “We saw it on film. I thought their level of physicality yesterday was spot-on. The things that they did within our defensive scheme and our plan was spot-on.”
49ers injury report
To be announced.
-- Sunday’s game is a sellout, thanks to support from fans and a last-minute purchase from some of the team’s sponsors and the FOX affiliates who otherwise would not have been allowed to air the game. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” McCarthy said. “This is Lambeau Field. Our fans are phenomenal. Like I said on Wednesday when I was asked the question, I think it will be a great environment. Our fans always show up. This is the showcase of the NFL, Lambeau Field. That’s what you expect. I’m glad they came through.”
-- McCarthy took the team outside to take advantage of the cold, windy conditions that will be at least somewhat like the team will face on Sunday. “It was windy, which I thought was great. Any time you get a chance to handle the football in the wind, it’s an opportunity you need to take advantage of. We actually spent a little bit more time out there than we usually do, with ball drills and things like that.”
-- Defensive coordinator Dom Capers on inside linebacker A.J. Hawk, who led the team with 153 tackles and added five sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. “He’s had the best year since I’ve been here. First of all, he’s one of the guys that’s been able to stay healthy, consistent, where he’s there week in and week out. He’s been the leader of our defense. He makes the calls. He’s an accountable guy. He’s made more plays this year. he’s played all three downs where in the past he might play first and second down. He’s had a very good year.”
-- Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt, on Tramon Williams standout play during the final seven games: “Everybody asks me about the 2010 Tramon, that’s what you’re seeing. He played no better in 2010 than he’s played since the New York game. That’s what he is right now.”
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.