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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The sample size probably isn't substantive enough to call Eddie Lacy a slow starter, but it's trending that way.
The good thing for the Green Bay Packers and their standout running back is his breakout typically comes at around the same time.
It did during his final season at Alabama.
It did last year during his rookie season.
And it appears to have happened again last week.
When Lacy rushed for a season-high 105 yards last Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings, it ended a four-game stretch in which he averaged just 40.3 yards per game.
Last season, on his way to an NFL-rookie-best 1,178 rushing yards, Lacy had only 51 yards before his Week 5 breakout with 99 yards on 23 carries against the Detroit Lions. To be sure, Lacy missed a game and a half because of a Week 2 concussion and the Packers had their bye in Week 4, but that began a run of games that also included 82-, 94- and 150-yard rushing performances consecutively.
It was much the same for the Crimson Tide in 2012, when Lacy opened the season with games of 35, 36 and 55 yards before finally going over 100 in the fourth game. His last five college games, he rushed for 92, 99, 131, 181 and 140 yards.
When asked this week if he's a slow starter, Lacy said: "I don’t know. ... I have no idea."
But what he does know is that he was a different running back in his last outing than he was in the opening month of the season.
"I mean, it feels good just to be able to go out there and accomplish what we were able to accomplish on the ground," Lacy said. "So that's definitely something to build on."
Lacy refused to concede that the concussion he sustained in the season opener this year against the Seahawks impacted the way he ran early this season. Regardless of the reason, however, he did not run with the same decisiveness he showed last season.
Until last Thursday, that is.
"Watching Eddie on Thursday running was fun," receiver Jordy Nelson said. "We enjoy that a lot, and we continue to need that as an offense to be balanced. The more balanced we are, the better we'll be. I think that's something that obviously will be helpful for us."
Lacy said it was a conversation with running backs coach Sam Gash that changed his mindset. Gash told Lacy not to put on "the air breaks" and to cut more decisively. One run against the Vikings showed Lacy listened. It was his 10-yard touchdown -- the second of his two scoring runs in the game -- when he barreled over safety Robert Blanton and in the process knocked off Blanton’s helmet.
"Definitely I looked different than the previous weeks," Lacy said. "You know, when I got in the secondary I didn't slow down and try to, I don't know, look to see if I can reverse field or anything like that. I just took what was given to me and got north and south as fast as possible."
By Rob Demovsky | ESPN.com | October 9, 2014