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Family Night notes: Young DBs shine, Eddie Lacy leads productive ground game

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 4, 2013 – 12:58 am

For the main recap of Saturday’s Family Night scrimmage, including a close look at the kicking competition and the QB play, click here.

Other news & notes from the night:

–Young DBs shine: All the injuries at cornerback for the Packers have led to extra reps for a lot of prospects, and that paid off for two young corners on Saturday.

CB James Nixon

CB James Nixon

James Nixon, a practice-squad holdover from a year ago, and Brandon Smith, a converted receiver, both turned in impressive interceptions, with Nixon returning his 65 yards for a TD.

Nixon, who has been in and out of practice with a troublesome knee, looked full speed as he took off down the sideline. He had jumped a hook route by receiver Jeremy Ross and picked off QB B.J. Coleman’s throw, and from there he said the adrenaline kicked in.

“Once I saw (the receiver) start to break down, I knew to jump and react right then,” Nixon said. “Luckily he threw it.

“It was huge. I’m still a little humbled by it, a little shocked by it.”

Smith, an unknown 26-year-old who was out of football the past two years, shocked everyone with an interception on the first day of practice, but he showed on Saturday that maybe it wasn’t a fluke.

He had tight coverage on Ross in the end zone, spun around at the right moment and snagged Coleman’s underthrown jump ball.

“I just read his eyes,” Smith said. “His eyes got big, so I whipped my head around and jumped up as high as I can to make the play.

“I want to come out here and prove myself.”

Making big plays in front of a big crowd is a start for Nixon and Smith. Their next task is to carry it over to the preseason games.

“Anytime you see your DBs compete in a one-on-one situation and go up and get the football, that’s what it’s about,” Mike McCarthy said. “It’s a one-on-one battle out there in space, and it was a great job by both of those guys, especially scoring with the football.”

–Lacy blasts ahead: Rookie second-round pick Eddie Lacy posted powerful runs of 16, 19 and 8 yards amongst his handful of carries.

The productivity on the ground was spread around the backfield, as James Starks added a pair of 5-yard runs and a 23-yard gain on a screen pass, while Alex Green had rushes of 11 and 6 yards. But it was Lacy’s explosive plays that stood out.

“I think Eddie definitely has picked it up here the last 3-4 days,” McCarthy said. “This is our longest stretch of practices in a row, and it’s important for guys to take that step, and he’s definitely getting more and more comfortable with the things we’re doing.”

Lacy concurred.

“I’m very comfortable, a lot more comfortable than when I first got in. but it’s going to continue to be a progression,” he said. “I still have things I need to learn and make sure I’m not second-guessing myself no matter what they call. There’s still room for improvement.”

–O-line update: McCarthy didn’t rule Don Barclay out of the right tackle competition, but it’s worth noting that the first sub for Marshall Newhouse at the position was rookie fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari.

Equally interesting, Barclay actually took some snaps at right guard in place of T.J. Lang with the No. 1 line.

“I give Don a lot of credit,” McCarthy said. “He’s doing what’s best for the team, and what’s best for the offensive line unit is that he’s versatile. We aren’t just letting him line up and play right tackle.”

–One injury: The only injury from the scrimmage McCarthy mentioned was to TE Ryan Taylor, who left the field, but the injury wasn’t specified.

–Williams’ status uncertain: CB Tramon Williams, who injured his knee earlier this week and hasn’t practiced since, said there is no tear in his knee and the current prescription is for plenty of rest.

He reiterated what McCarthy said earlier this week, that the injury isn’t serious, but his status for the rest of the preseason is uncertain. Williams said he didn’t think this would be something that would sideline him for the season opener, but he wasn’t going to make any guarantees he’d be out there, either.

“We’re definitely going to rest as much as I need it, but at the same time, if I feel I don’t need it and I’m able to go, I’m going to go,” he said. “We’ll be smart with it, though. Docs are smart here with injuries. I’ll let those guys do their jobs.”


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