Lumpkin Stays Prepared In Case Call Comes

Whether Kregg Lumpkin will make his NFL debut Sunday at Detroit remains to be seen, but with the other two running backs on the roster each recovering from injuries, the rookie back is at least preparing for the possibility.

Starting running back Ryan Grant, who missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury, started on Monday night against the Vikings and posted 92 yards, but that came in limited work as he carried the ball just 12 times. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday afternoon that Grant was "very sore" at halftime, and was not at full strength in the game.

Grant's participation in Wednesday's practice was limited, and McCarthy said he hoped to rest him some again tomorrow before likely getting more work in Friday's practice.

Backup Brandon Jackson did not participate at all in practice on Wednesday as he recovered from a concussion he sustained in the second half on Monday night. McCarthy did classify the injury as "minor", and said he hoped Jackson would work out tomorrow and pass the tests in place for players who have sustained a concussion.

"Just trusting the doctors and the information that was given to me today, I feel confident that Brandon will be ready to go for the Detroit game," McCarthy said.

With the Packers currently carrying only three halfbacks on the active roster, Lumpkin took most of the reps with the first offensive unit in practice on Wednesday, something he said he hadn't done since 2006 when he was a junior at Georgia.

While McCarthy expressed confidence in the availability of Grant and Jackson for Sunday, he also said he would be comfortable with Lumpkin taking on an increased role if a situation called for him to be the feature back.

"I think he could handle it all," McCarthy said. "He's done a very good job with his opportunities. You can only judge him on what he's done, and every time the young man has been given an opportunity to play, he has improved.

"Actually he took a majority of the snaps at today's practice, and he missed one blitz pickup, but I thought he did a very good job."

However the reps at running back end up being shared on Sunday, the Packers will be facing a Lions defense coming off a season opener that saw them give up 318 yards on the ground at Atlanta in a 34-21 loss to the Falcons.

The 318 yards were the third-most allowed in a game in Detroit's franchise history and the most rushing yards ever by Atlanta in a game. Running back Michael Turner, who signed with the Falcons this offseason after four seasons in San Diego backing up All-Pro LaDainian Tomlinson, posted a team-record 220 yards rushing on 22 carries in his Atlanta debut.

Turner posted eight runs of 10-plus yards, and backup Jerrious Norwood added five of 10-plus yards as he made the most of limited time with 93 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

{sportsad300}To this point Lumpkin's opportunities have been limited to the preseason, when he led the team with 153 yards on 38 carries (4.0 avg.) with one rushing touchdown. The Packers were impressed enough with what they saw from Lumpkin to release veteran backs Noah Herron, Vernand Morency and DeShawn Wynn. Wynn later returned to the Packers as he was signed to the team's practice squad.

Lumpkin, who was active for the season opener against Minnesota but did not play, said despite the increased workload Wednesday, he is maintaining the same approach in practice.

"I still approach each day as a work day," Lumpkin said. "I'm trying to get better each day by learning from Ryan and Brandon and the fullbacks. I'm staying mentally focused and prepared.

"I'm still working on my blitz protection and reading the holes right. I'm trying to get a feel of all aspects of the game."

Lumpkin's options were limited following this year's draft after he battled injuries throughout his college career with the Bulldogs. He missed the entire 2004 season with a torn ACL and was limited to only five games as a senior in '07 because of a meniscus injury to the same knee.

After not hearing his name called on draft day, Lumpkin was contacted by several teams, but the Packers were the only one to offer a contract. He went on to become the only non-drafted rookie free agent to make Green Bay's 53-man roster.

While the Packers are confident that Grant and Jackson will be able to carry the load Sunday, Lumpkin said he'll be ready if his name is called.

"I'll just stay right by coach and if he gives me the tap to go in, just be prepared to go in," Lumpkin said. "I am confident enough to go out there and play mentally focused and be prepared."

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