Halfway through the exhibition season, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has the freshest legs of his NFL career and there's a pretty good chance they'll remain that way until the first snap in Seattle Sept. 4.
After a concentrated dose of work to start training camp, Lacy's load has lessened to the point where 12 snaps was all he got in the 21-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edwards Jones Dome Saturday night.
Lacy carried five times for 25 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards in his exhibition season debut, taking all his snaps during the Packers' no-huddle touchdown drive to open the game.
When quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense returned to the field for 12 more snaps, Lacy turned in his helmet and called it a night. He said he did not lobby to return.
"To me, it's whatever is given," Lacy said after the game. "It's a blessing to be able to go out and play this game and be injury free. I'm not a guy who whenever they take me out complains or asks to go back in. I just take everything that's given to me."
It's a good sign that he's going to get a ton of work this regular season, which is what we expected all along. Lacy is of course a mid-to-late first round target in fantasy drafts and is easily a top-5 or -6 RB.
What was more of a red flag were his struggles with helping in pass protection. Mason whiffed on blitz pickup a couple of times, including once against safety Haha Clinton-Dix that led to a sack. Mason actually had a nice pickup against the Saints last week, but that memory was quickly erased with a rough outing against the Packers.
An interesting bit of information as many have Mason stealing carries from Stacy this season, but it looks like it won't be on third down right now. Cunningham appears to be behind Stacy at this point as the RB2, but we'll have to see if Mason can correct this and move back up charts.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 12:42pm
If DuJuan Harris is going to take some of Lacy's snaps this season, he can't cough up the ball like he did in the third quarter. The Packers like Harris as a change-of-pace back but if ball security is an issue, they have other options.
Undrafted rookie Rajion Neal was impressive in Week 1 before he sustained a knee injury. He could return this week. Michael Hill averaged 4.3 yards on four carries and had a 27-yard reception against the Rams.
Notably taking his first in-game snap in exactly 300 days, Bradford piloted two drives, one in which was capped by a 11-yard strike in traffic to tight end Lance Kendricks for a score.
Bradford’s second series began when he stood tall in the pocket and rifled a pass for a 41-yard, catch-and-run completion to wide receiver Brian Quick.
Later in the drive, rookie offensive tackle Greg Robinson was outmuscled by a Julius Peppers’ bull rush move. Peppers drilled Bradford’s backside, but the fifth-year quarterback popped right up.
Sporting a clunky left knee brace, Bradford showed comfort operating in the pocket. He finished completing 9 of 12 passes for 101 yards.
The article called Bradford 'sharp' and said it was an encouraging sign for him heading into next week's game. Looks like it's all systems go for Bradford to start Week 1 for the Rams. He's ranked 25th and likely won't get drafted but could prove to be a nice committee QB if he continues to look good in his return.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 4:59pm
The non-contact injury appeared to happen when he planted on his left foot in Saturday's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. The running back was helped off the field by trainers and carted to the locker room.
It turns out the injury is an ACL and Pead is lost for the season. The third-year back was well behind Zac Stacy, rookie Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham in the backfield pecking order, but was expected to make the squad due to his play on special teams.
Locker confidently marched the first team on a seven-play, 62-yard scoring drive that saw him complete 4 of 5 passes for 30 yards with a pretty touchdown strike to "Making the Leap" candidate Justin Hunter.
After what Ken Whisenhunt did for Philip Rivers in San Diego last season, we're already seeing the coach's fingerprints on Tennessee's young passer.
Locker has averaged 15.1 FP in 16 career starts. That extrapolates to 241 points over a 16-game season, or about what Ryan Tannehill scored as the #16 QB in 2013. Health has been his biggest problem, but if he can stay upright, he could grow in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.
In the search for Jermichael Finley's replacement, it's a close race between Packers TEs Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers. Ultimately, Rodgers, a third-round pick, might end up as the top tight end among the group long term. But so far in camp and through the first preseason game, Bostick looks like he's the most ready-made replacement for Finley's big-play ability in the passing game.
Whoever plays starter's snaps (if anyone) for the Packers will hold fantasy value, but the team could elect to rotate Bostick and Rodgers, limiting both players upside until an injury occurs.
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 10:51pm
Packers WR Jordy Nelson is scheduled to participate in Friday's closed practice and after that it will be determined whether he will play against the Rams. Nelson did not play against the Titans because of a hamstring injury. "Jordy is on course to practice tomorrow," HC Mike McCarthy said Thursday, when the team did not practice. "He practiced yesterday. Once we get through practice, we’ll determine the final play time expectations for all of our guys. But he looks good."
Jordy's status for this week's game is not a big deal. The Packers are wisely being cautious with their top receiver.
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 5:04pm
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 10:36am
Packers RB James Starks...
"He's in midseason form," running backs coach Sam Gash said. "He runs as angry as he did last year. He runs with a purpose."
While Eddie Lacy and his Packers' rookie rushing record of 1,178 yards received all the attention, Starks had the most productive of his four NFL seasons. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry, more than a yard better than his previous best of 4.3 in 2011.
As long as Lacy is healthy, Starks, who not long ago was viewed as a possible long-term starter, will be No. 2 in Green Bay.
Starks is going very late in fantasy drafts, but he's productive when given touches and is the clear handcuff to Lacy. Lacy owners should make it a point to draft Starks in the waning rounds.
Beat writer Tyler Dunne on the Packers' TE situation:
The rookie (Richard Rodgers) drew the start in the first preseason game and held his own. His upside is immense. The Packers have two years invested in (Brandon Bostick), and seem ready to expand his role in the offense. (Ryan Taylor) is a fierce blocker and remains one of Green Bay's top special teams players. The wild card appears to be (Andrew Quarless), who was injured the entire spring and has had a quiet camp. But the Packers have kept four tight ends every year since 2010, and even kept five in 2011. If the Packers don't stray from that philosophy, Quarless should be safe. The controversial Lyerla (knee) will likely receive an injury settlement or end up on the injured list.
Rodgers and Bostick offer explosion and playmaking ability in the passing game, while Quarless has experience after starting much of the season last year. Given that he started the first preseason game, it appears that Rodgers has the edge, but Bostick had a nifty catch and run later in the game. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 2:22pm
The Packers just signed wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a long-term contract extension, so the last thing they’d want to do to celebrate is anything that would put him at risk of missing extended time this season.
That meant going the extra mile in terms of precaution when Nelson came down with a minor hamstring injury recently. Nelson skipped the preseason opener and a few practices, but his absence came to an end on Tuesday.
Nelson was back on the field, but the wraps weren’t totally off. Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports that Nelson took the first rep of each set of team periods, but did little else during those drills. That suggests the Packers are going to be easing him back to full speed, which could mean that they’ll hold off on making a decision about Nelson’s availability for Saturday’s game against the Rams.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 11:22am
Packers WR Jarrett Boykin has been no better than average in his quest to replace James Jones as the No. 3 receiver. Every time it looks like rookie Davante Adams may take that job from Boykin, he drops a ball.
Boykin has reportedly had his share of drops too. Adams had a rough preseason opener, muffing two punts and then getting hurt. Boykin's experience likely makes him a favorite here, but what once looked like a sure thing doesn't seem to be the case. We still think Boykin has sleeper potential, however, and is a guy to look at in the later rounds for depth who could possibly emerge as something better.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 11:18am
No one from the Packers tight end group has emerged as the favorite to replace Jermichael Finley, although Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers have had their moments (both good and bad).
Monday, August 11, 2014, 7:37pm
Packers WR Davante Adams, who had a prolific career in Fresno State's high-octane offense, finished with two catches for 22 yards in the 20-16 loss Saturday to the Titans. He also went out to field the first two punts - somewhat of a surprise given his relative lack of work in that area in public portions of practices - and muffed each time, losing the second. The turnover set up a Titans touchdown.
Adams also hurt his wrist on the second muff, an injury that kept him out of practice Monday.
It wasn't a good start for Adams who is battling Jarrett Boykin for the WR3 spot. Any time Adams misses time it could end up hurting him in this competition, but he seems to at least be a WR4 possibility for the Pack.
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