Thursday, September 11, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Meet Kregg Lumpkin
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The Green Bay Packers were so impressed this summer with running back Kregg Lumpkin, an undrafted rookie from Georgia, that they released three veteran backs to keep him on the roster. Vernand Morency, Noah Herron and DeShawn Wynn were all jettisoned when Lumpkin won the No. 3 tailback job behind Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson. (Wynn was later signed to the practice squad).
The idea was for Lumpkin to provide depth while learning the ropes from Grant and Jackson. But with Grant nursing a sore hamstring and Jackson recovering from a mild concussion, Lumpkin took all the snaps at tailback Wednesday in practice. Both Grant and Jackson are expected to play Sunday at Detroit, but the situation underscores the faith the Packers have in a rookie few NFL fans might have heard of.
"I think he could handle it all," coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. "He's done a very good job with his opportunities."
Lumpkin was active but did not play in Monday night's 24-19 victory over Minnesota. Based on the health of his teammates, that could change Sunday in Detroit.
Elsewhere around the NFC this on this Thursday morning:
- Under McCarthy, the Packers are a combined 9-0 against Minnesota and Detroit. Conveniently, they open the season against those two teams. Overall, McCarthy is 10-3 against the NFC North.
- Vikings coach Brad Childress on quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's mindset: "He's doing fine. It's not like he's on suicide watch or anything like that."
- The Lions made a number of lineup moves Wednesday, but it doesn't appear that first-round draft pick Gosder Cherilus will be involved in any of them. Cherilus will continue to back up right tackle George Foster for at least one more week. It's probably a smart move to avoid starting a rookie against Packers left defensive end Aaron Kampman.
- Sunday's Packers-Lions game will be televised locally in Detroit after a furniture store purchased the remaining 3,100 tickets to secure a sellout.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Bears quarterback Kyle Orton: "Don't get caught up in the notion that Orton can't make plays or win games. That tag might have applied when Orton was a rookie asked mostly to hand off. Now, three years later, the Bears expect him to do more and need him to do more."