The Green Bay Packers will go into Sunday’s game with only Eddie Lacy available at running back.
Following Saturday’s practice, the Packers ruled out James Starks, who not only has a knee injury but was gone for most of the week after a death in the family. Rather than promote undrafted rookie running back Don Jackson from the practice squad, the team activated defensive tackle Mike Pennel and cornerback Demetri Goodson.
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The Packers are rolling the dice on Lacy, who is questionable with an ankle injury that kept him out for the final 20 minutes of last week's win over the Giants.
"He did a couple things this afternoon," running backs coach Ben Sirmans said on Thursday. "I think with us it’s just more of a measure of making sure he’s ready to go Sunday. He probably could have done a lot more today had we chose to let him do that. So I think that he’s going to be — I mean you never know until we get to the game — but I think he’s going to be fine."
Receivers Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery have experience in the backfield and no doubt will spend time back there vs. Dallas. Cobb has carried five times for 12 yards and Montgomery twice for 0 yards this season.
“Speed. That’s what I think about,” Lacy said of those two. “It’s going to be tough for linebackers or whoever has to cover them, whether they motion out or swing passes or whatever it may be. It just adds another dynamic, and I think it’s going to be tough for linebackers to be able to cover them in the open field.”
To make room for Pennel and Goodson, who were coming off four-game suspensions, the Packers released defensive tackle Brian Price on Saturday and quarterback Joe Callahan on Thursday.
Pennel was a co-starter with Letroy Guion on the defensive line last year and will add some size to the defensive line for a battle against Dallas’ top-ranked rushing attack.
“I feel like I’m game-ready,” Pennel said this week. “I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning. That’s been my main focus. My body feels good, cardio’s up, so I feel ready.”
Goodson, a reserve cornerback, finished fourth on the team with nine tackles on special teams last year. His return should help mitigate the loss of backup safety and special-teams leader Chris Banjo, who is out with an injured hamstring.
“When you’re a kid, when you do something bad, you get whooped or some type of punishment,” Goodson said. “It’s kind of the same thing for me. It gave me time to sit back and really think about life in general. I’m very, very happy to be back.”
Along with Starks being ruled out, there was one more change from Friday’s injury report. Cornerback Quinten Rollins was added with a groin injury and is questionable.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.