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Packers' RB Eddie Lacy gets the message

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Eddie Lacy was not aware on Wednesday that his coach had called him out two days earlier, when coach Mike McCarthy bluntly said: "Eddie needs to play better."

"Oh yeah?" Lacy said when told of that.

But it's safe to say the Green Bay Packers running back understands the message.

"As a player, I think when a coach calls you out, that means he sees something in you that you can do or you need to work on and get better as a player," said Lacy, who has just 113 yards on 36 carries without a touchdown in three games this season.

McCarthy benched Lacy for part of last Sunday's loss after he fumbled on his second carry of the loss to the Lions. It was his first fumble since Week 1 of 2013, a span of 325 carries.

"It's not an issue," Lacy said.

What is an issue is the Packers' lack of a running game.

After Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards last season and was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, the running game has slipped back toward the bottom of the league. Through three games, the Packers rank 27th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, and Lacy ranks tied for 37th in rushing yards.

"I think it's surprising for a lot of people," Lacy said. "No one really expected it to be like that, but you can't predict how things are going to go. You just have to go out and continue to play. It'll get better throughout the course of the season, but nobody really expected us to be, like no one thought we'd run the ball the way we have the past few [games]."

After Sunday's game, Lacy seemed so perplexed by his struggles that he said he didn't know whether he needed to speed up or be more patient.

The answer, he said Wednesday, was neither.

"I need to work on keeping my pads low," Lacy said. "There were a few times last week where I was running kind of high, and I just figured that out. This week, definitely get my pads down when I'm running."

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers thinks he can help the running game, too.

"I think you can pass it better to help set up the run; we've done that over the years here," Rodgers said. "If we're a little more efficient in the passing game, we might see completely two-shell [defenses], then there's no excuses for not running the ball well."