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Packers need new running backs to get up to speed

Position remains in flux due to injuries, roster changes


GREEN BAY – Head Coach Mike McCarthy would like to get the Packers' newest running backs some game action right away this week in Oakland, but it will depend how practice goes for new acquisitions LeShun Daniels and Bronson Hill.

"The biggest thing for both those guys is just to get up to speed," McCarthy said prior to Monday's practice. "We want them to play in the game in Oakland. We don't know to what level."

McCarthy said he added some extra reps to the 9-on-7 run-game drills this week to help the new players, who became necessary additions due to injuries and Akeem Judd's sudden departure.

Jamaal Williams injured an ankle in last Thursday's preseason game, and McCarthy said he would be limited this week, while Devante Mays still isn't ready to return from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for nearly three weeks now.

Judd's decision to leave the team was a personal one, and McCarthy admitted being caught by surprise because he was impressed with what Judd had done in his short time in Green Bay. Also, Aaron Jones has not yet played in a preseason game due to a hamstring injury, and he'll be suspended for the first two games of the regular season.

Another hope was to get the starting offensive line a week of work together heading into the third preseason game, but it sounds like right guard Justin McCray's calf injury will prevent that from happening. McCarthy didn't give a timeline on McCray's return, but the No. 1 unit isn't expected to be intact for the Oakland game.

"We've got this week and next week to make sure we get some decisions ironed out," McCarthy said of the offensive line. "We'll get some guys the opportunity to play their second and maybe third positions. That's going to be the focus there."

Overall, with three public practices in camp remaining (including Monday), McCarthy likes the extra work the first units have gotten against one another in practice to this point. He said the "ones vs. ones" increased by 15 to 17 percent in total reps this summer.

"I feel like we're hitting the target there," McCarthy said. "The conditioning of the football team is on the path where it needs to be, so I feel good about that.

"One part you always have to try to get, especially in this era of CBA football, is to get enough information to make the right decisions as far as the roster."