GREEN BAY – Eddie Lacy and Mike McCarthy have talked it out, and the Packers’ running back is ready to prove he can “back up what we discussed.”
Following a curfew violation last Wednesday night in Detroit – Lacy said he was simply downstairs at the hotel and lost track of time – a one-on-one chat with the head coach took place on Thursday before that night’s game, and Lacy was demoted for the second time this season.
In speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Lacy characterized it as a productive clearing of the air.
“We had a talk, we put it behind us, and we’re moving forward,” Lacy said. “I think we both got things out in that conversation and we’re both moving forward.”
Lacy admitted it was “extremely tough” to hardly touch the ball coming off of back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, but he still believes his best is yet to come this season, and that his teammates believe in him.
The Packers’ offense also needs him. Veteran James Starks and undrafted rookie John Crockett might get their chances, too, but Lacy is the one with the type of power that can wear down defenses and swing late-season games.
“Without a doubt, we’ve got confidence in Eddie,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who compared his cold-weather capability to that of Ryan Grant from past years. “Eddie’s the same way. He’s a tough guy to tackle. He’s a bowling ball out there. He’s very agile for a guy his size. We’re going to need him to play for us and be consistent.”
That was Rodgers’ buzzword of the day – consistency. He mentioned it over and over, along with words like “rhythm” and “momentum,” in describing what the up-and-down offense needs to find for the stretch run.
Improved health along the offensive line should help, as all starters except center Corey Linsley (ankle) practiced for the second straight day. JC Tretter is ready to fill in again for Linsley if needed.
The weekend off following consecutive Thursday night games obviously was a welcome respite, especially for the most banged-up unit on the team.
“I know as an offense, we need to start clicking here in the last quarter of the season,” said right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who sat out last week’s game. “We need to be playing our best football down the stretch here, and that starts this weekend.”
The most promising development on offense in Detroit was the play of tight end Richard Rodgers. He had seven catches for 101 yards before the 61-yard Hail Mary grab (Rodgers finished officially with eight catches for 146 yards, losing 16 receiving yards on the lateral play that preceded the untimed final snap).
Five of Rodgers’ first seven catches in the game moved the chains with double-digit gains as he posted the first 100-yard game of his career.
“Richard was playing very fast. He was getting open,” his quarterback said. “He had a safety on him most of the time, he was making quick moves and doing a good job of setting up his routes. Richie’s a very heady player.”
He could also be an extremely valuable one for a passing game that has needed both a change-up and someone to lean on.
Receivers Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis have been used on occasion but with minimal impact so far. Rookie Ty Montgomery (ankle) is back at practice after missing the last six games, but he doesn’t expect any decision to be made on his status until game time on Sunday. Veteran tight end Andrew Quarless is practicing for the second straight week but has yet to be activated.
Perhaps a breakout game from the tight end will be the catalyst for the consistency, rhythm and momentum his namesake seeks.
“Once he starts breaking up the middle of the field, it takes them out of certain coverages they want to do, bracket the outside, or different things like that, (which can) free up Randall, James and myself,” receiver Davante Adams said.
“He’s definitely a threat. It’s not like he’s the third or whatever option, someone you don’t have to worry about. He’s a guy that can open up the middle of the field, (get) yards after the catch, and he’s definitely a reliable guy.”
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