UPDATE: It’s early in the week, but the Green Bay Packers have a potential problem at running back.
As in, they might not have any healthy running backs for Sunday's showdown vs. Dallas.
During the portion of Wednesday’s practice that was open to reporters, Eddie Lacy was a bystander as the No. 1 offense ran through plays. His absence was no surprise; coach Mike McCarthy said before practice that Lacy wouldn’t practice as he recovers from an injured ankle sustained on Sunday night against the Giants. What was a surprise was Lacy’s backup, James Starks (knee), wasn’t even on the practice field.
Lacy and Starks are the only running backs on the roster, with undrafted rookie Don Jackson on the practice squad.
Cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) and tight end Jared Cook (groin) weren’t at practice. Receiver Randall Cobb (neck), who was hit hard at the end of the Giants game, ran on the side but did not work with the offense. Cornerback Damarious Randall (groin) watched the defense.
Lacy did catch some passes during individual drills; Cobb did not. Both were listed as limited participation, as was Randall.
Dallas receiver Dez Bryant (knee) was limited. On Tuesday, team owner Jerry Jones said the team wouldn't take any chances with Bryant.
OUR EARLIER STORY: The Green Bay Packers are doing what they can to get running back Eddie Lacy ready for a key game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rather than practicing on Wednesday afternoon, Lacy will go through a rehab session in hopes of getting his injured ankle up to snuff for this big early-season NFC showdown.
Before injuring the ankle against the Giants on Sunday night, Lacy carried 11 times for 81 yards. A 31-yard run helped that average but, even without that run, he carried 10 times for 50 yards.
“I’m all right,” Lacy said after the game. “I can walk on it, which is good. We’ll see how it is going into next week.
Lacy is off to a powerful start. In four games, he’s rushed for 295 yards and ranks fifth in the NFL with 5.46 yards per carry.
“When Eddie's playing at a high level like he was last week, it's definitely not only productive for our offense, but it's the attitude and the finish that you certainly would want and guys definitely respond,” coach Mike McCarthy said before practice. “It gets your whole sideline going. It's definitely something we want to build off of.”
If Lacy can’t play, James Starks is the only other running back on the active roster, with undrafted rookie Don Jackson on the practice squad. While Lacy has been sensational, the 30-year-old Starks has stumbled out of the gates and has rushed for only 42 yards on 24 attempts – 1.8 yards per carry.
In some good news, cornerback Sam Shields attended meetings – the next step in a comeback from a concussion sustained one month and one day ago at Jacksonville. Shields has missed three games.
In preparing for this game against Dallas, McCarthy has one eye on last week and one eye on next week. Typically, the Packers practice at about 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday. However, with the Packers coming off a night game, the Wednesday practice was moved to 3:15 p.m., with extra time dedicated to a walk-through session in the team’s Lambeau Field facility. Meanwhile, with a short week coming up for next Thursday night’s game against Chicago, McCarthy has to be at little wary of the workload.
“There’s a weight that you look at as far as workload and things like that. That’s part of your planning,” he said. “It’s smart to forecast for next week. But, at the end of the day, you have to make sure you’re doing everything this week, particularly today, to put you in position to win the football game Sunday.”
|S Chris Banjo||Hamstring||DNP|
|WR Randall Cobb||Neck||Limited|
|TE Jared Cook||Ankle||DNP|
|RB Eddie Lacy||Ankle||Limited|
|G T.J. Lang||Hip||Full|
|CB Damarious Randall||Groin||Limited|
|CB Sam Shields||Concussion||DNP|
|RB James Starks||Knee||DNP|
|K Dan Bailey||Back||Full|
|WR Dez Bryant||Knee||Limited|
|CB Morris Claiborne||Ankle||Limited|
|RB Lance Dunbar||Knee||DNP|
|T Chaz Green||Foot||DNP|
|DE David Irving||Concussion||DNP|
|QB Tony Romo||Back||DNP|
|CB Orlando Scandrick||Hamstring||DNP|
|LT Tyron Smith||Back||Limited|
|LB Kyle Wilber||Neck||DNP|
|WR Terrance Williams||Shoulder||Full|
|TE Jason Witten||Chest||Full|
Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.