Ready to get started, Packers eager to see full season of Lacy, Rodgers together in backfield

  • Article by: GENARO C. ARMAS , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 1, 2014 - 12:41 AM

The physical running back won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2013 — and that was with quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined for seven weeks.

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Packers running back Eddie Lacy, on the sideline during the Aug. 22 preseason game against Oakland, should benefit from a healthy Aaron Rodgers this season.

Photo: Mike Roemer, Associated Press

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — In Eddie Lacy, the Packers' offense has found balance.

The physical running back had 1,178 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns when he won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2013 — and that was with quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined for seven weeks with a collarbone injury.

Just imagine what a full year of Lacy and Rodgers together in the backfield could do for Green Bay's already potent attack.

"Together, we definitely can be explosive," Lacy said Sunday.

Better not leave out the offensive line, too — not with a difficult season opener looming Thursday against the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

"It takes the guys up front, as well, and they've been working hard and making sure they block their man. So, it should be a good year for us," Lacy said.

There is no tougher place to get started than in Seattle in front of the Seahawks' notoriously loud crowd, and against a defense that, when last seen, overpowered Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Rodgers witnessed the rout in person from a box at MetLife Stadium in chilly East Rutherford, New Jersey, back in February.

"I was having some hot dogs," he joked.

OK, maybe he didn't give the game his full attention the whole time, but he certainly saw enough.

"They got into a rhythm there with their pass rush and with their coverages, you know made some good plays," he said. "They play with a lot of confidence, have a little swagger about 'em, and it's a tough place to play."

There's nothing, then, like having the option of being able to hand off to one of the top young running backs in the league to help keep a defense guessing. Opponents brought a safety down closer to the line of scrimmage more often last year while Rodgers was out to concentrate on slowing Lacy.

"I'm not sure what's going to change with me back in there full-time, but either way we should at different times find some more one (safety), one-on-one looks" for receivers Jarrett Boykin, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Rodgers said. "And we've got to win those one-on-one battles."

As usual for the Packers, there is an emphasis on tempo. Coach Mike McCarthy likes picking up the pace, and the first-string offense looked good during limited preseason snaps in operating without a huddle.

It's all about trying to dictate the tempo. A no-huddle attack theoretically makes it more difficult for defenses to substitute to match personnel, and keeps bigger defensive linemen on the field longer.

"We're going to try to go out and do what we do best and that's our no-huddle. Speed the tempo up and try to be successful," Nelson said.

McCarthy also has placed an emphasis this preseason on getting Lacy and backups James Starks and DuJuan Harris ready for three-down work, in part to minimize substitutions during a series and avoid interrupting the tempo.

Lacy has had extensive work on pass-catching drills in practice. He also wants to get better on the run when getting past the first wave of defenders in the trenches.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon
 
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