GREEN BAY—With all the consternation surrounding the Packers running game heading into last week, there was no better remedy than for Eddie Lacy to bust a big run early against the Vikings.
On his second carry last Thursday, Lacy rambled for 18 yards, a new season-long. The very next play beat that by a longshot, a 29-yard jaunt, and suddenly all the worry and frustration over the running game began melting away.
“A big run early can definitely give you confidence and definitely makes you ready to get back to the run game as an offensive line,” veteran guard Josh Sitton said. “We feed off of that. When we have big runs, we definitely feed off of that.”
So did Lacy, who went on to a 13-carry, 105-yard, two-TD night, his first 100-yard rushing game of 2014. James Starks added 46 yards, and the Packers’ 156 yards on the ground nearly doubled their previous season high of 80.
The players attributed it to the backs being “decisive” and the offensive line “finishing blocks.” Receiver Jordy Nelson said seeing Lacy run like that “was fun.”
“The whole run game thing, it’s a collective effort,” Sitton said. “We blocked better up front. The backs were patient, yet, when they saw something, they hit it. We all just played better.”
The question now, of course, is whether the Packers can sustain that type of rushing production, beginning Sunday in the Miami heat.
The Packers will want to maintain their up-tempo style, but churning out yards on the ground will help with time of possession, which could be key with the South Florida temperatures expected in the mid-80s.
Mike McCarthy admitted on Wednesday the Packers defense has been on the field too much so far this season, due to several factors. But whatever the reasons, Sunday is not a day for that trend to continue.
“It just all fell into place,” Lacy said of the ground game’s breakout. “But it was just one week. We have to continue to go.”
The work continues for rookie receiver Davante Adams as well. Jarrett Boykin (groin) didn’t practice on Wednesday and won’t on Thursday, according to McCarthy, making it highly unlikely he’ll play this week. Second-year pro Kevin Dorsey is now on the active roster, too, but Adams will continue to get snaps ahead of rookie Jeff Janis or Dorsey right now.
Stepping into the No. 3 receiver role in Boykin’s absence, Adams hasn’t matched his five-catch, 50-yard outing in Week 2 against the Jets, but he did make his one catch last Thursday count for an 11-yard TD.
It was Adams’ first NFL touchdown (as well as Aaron Rodgers’ 200th career TD toss), and the quarterback indicated there’s more to come.
“Davante, he’s open on film a lot,” Rodgers said. “He’s run a lot of good routes. He only had one catch last week, but if he stays confident and keeps making plays like he’s doing in practice, the ball is going to keep coming his way.”
Adams referred to earning the trust of Rodgers and the coaching staff as “a process” that is underway but by no means complete. He leans on fellow receivers Nelson and Randall Cobb in the film room and tries to emulate what he sees on the practice field as he strives to become a “more fluid” performer.
“It’s not going to happen over the course of five weeks,” he said. “The more comfortable you get out there, the more production you’re going to have, because you’re not thinking as much. You’re going full speed and knowing what to do all the time.”
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - OCT. 8