Eddie Lacy's coaches are confident the rookie running back can overcome his breakdowns in pass protection that have become a sore spot in the past two games.

After allowing two sacks in Detroit and another against Atlanta, the rookie from Alabama has been charged with 4-1/2 in 12 games.

That's more than any running back in Green Bay has yielded in a full season in more than 20 years. Ahman Green, in 2001, and Travis Jervey, in '98, each allowed three.

Lacy's protection problems are the lone blemish on his strong first season.

He leads all rookies in rushing with 887 yards and joins San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen, Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard and Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon as leading candidates for offensive rookie of the year honors.

Even though the Packers regard pass protection as vital as any segment of their running backs' job description, the staff isn't alarmed by Lacy's blocking.

"He's got assignment challenges that he'll learn from," coach Mike McCarthy said at mid-week. "I think, fundamentally, he does a good job."

Lacy allowed 1 1/2 sacks in San Francisco, but the coaches attributed that to being nervous and timid in his first game. Then, in his next nine games, he didn't allow a sack.

"He's gotten a lot better during the course of the year," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said Thursday. "The more he's in there the better he will be. Certainly it's not because of lack of effort. He's a good blocker."

In Detroit, the Lions ran a so-called "green dog" (blitz and engage) in the second quarter that fooled Lacy.

Assigned to block middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, Lacy went out on a check-down route prematurely. Tulloch delayed his rush for a count and, when Lacy left the protection, gambled that he could sack Matt Flynn through the open middle before Flynn could get the ball off to the uncovered Lacy.

The result was an 8-yard sack in 3.1 seconds on third and 6, and the Packers had to punt.

On the second play of the second half, the Packers were in their inverted wishbone formation when the Lions ran a zone blitz. It was the only time that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham dropped a defensive lineman into coverage.

Safety Louis Delmas and linebacker DeAndre Levy rushed off the left side as part of a five-man pressure. Instead of going left to pick up Delmas, Lacy carried out a play-fake to Flynn's right.

Delmas was on top of Flynn in 2.8 seconds for another 8-yard sack, and the Packers had to punt again.

On Sunday, Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan baited Lacy on a first down early in the second quarter.

Strong safety William Moore walked up to the left of the line as free safety Zeke Motta walked up to the right. At this point, Lacy is instructed to make a verbal call alerting teammates he would block to the back side (Moore) and leave Motta to the front side.