Packers Annual Checkup: Eddie Lacy | Eddie Lacy

Packers Annual Checkup: Eddie Lacy


FOX Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. You can find every report here.

Season stats (playoffs included): 18 games, 18 starts (788 snaps; 64.8 percent of total offensive snaps), 286 rushing attempts for 1,313 yards (4.59-yard average) with nine touchdowns; three fumbles, two lost; 43 receptions for 437 yards with four touchdowns; one dropped pass; forced 84 missed tackles season rating: 23.0 (ranked No. 3 out of 24 Packers offensive players; ranked No. 3 out of 57 NFL running backs)

Best game: Week 12 win at Minnesota (played 62 of 66 offensive snaps); 25 carries for 125 yards with one touchdown; two catches for 13 yards with one touchdown; zero fumbles, forced five missed tackles; 6.0 PFF rating

Worst game: Week 3 loss at Detroit (played 24 of 54 offensive snaps); 11 carries for 36 yards with no touchdowns; one fumble, one fumble lost; one catch for nine yards; forced four missed tackles; minus-1.5 PFF rating

Expectations at the start of the season: High

Expectations were ...  Met

Looking live: Eddie Lacy's rookie season could not have gone any better. He gave the Packers the threat in the backfield that had been missing, running over defenses on his way to winning the NFL's offensive rookie of the year award. Lacy also graded out by ProFootballFocus as the league's fifth-highest-rated running back in 2013. Not bad for the guy who was supposedly overweight and whose injury concerns before the draft dropped him to the end of the second round.

While in 2013 it was Mike McCarthy's plan to have DuJuan Harris as the starting running back, that was obviously no longer the case when Green Bay reported to training camp a year later.

"I think Eddie Lacy looks more polished, more comfortable in the offense; the little things," McCarthy said following the first day of practice on July 26.

McCarthy went on to say that Lacy "had a couple of really nice catches today." Well, avid readers are well aware of it now, but July 26, 2014 was the day when the world first found out about Lacy's preferred nickname.

"Eddie has a self-appointed nickname of 'Moss;' as in Randy Moss," Aaron Rodgers said. "He thinks he's got incredible hands. His hands actually are very good and he's good catching the ball out of the backfield."

During every moment of downtime for Lacy in training camp practices, he was working with running backs coach Sam Gash along the sideline on catching passes. Gash fired ball after ball to Lacy, who caught every single one that I ever saw him attempt.

Lacy was barely used in preseason action. He was a healthy gameday inactive in the preseason opener in Tennessee and the finale against Kansas City. Lacy only played the first series at St. Louis (Week 2 preseason game) and just nine snaps a week later against Oakland. Lacy's 21 total preseason snaps were by far the fewest of any of the offensive starters, and it was not related at all to any injury.

Upon further review: Lacy got off to a slow start to begin the regular season. He wasn't getting the ball a lot, and in most cases he wasn't doing a lot with it when it was in his hands. With the exception of a terrific game Week 5 against Minnesota, Lacy didn't average more than 3.3 yards per carry over the first six games.

At the Packers' midseason bye week, Lacy had totaled 105 carries for 428 yards. That's an average of 13 rushing attempts for 53.5 yards per game. Those weren't exactly the type of numbers that most expected after Lacy's monstrous rookie season. At that rate, Lacy was going to fall well short of 1,000 rushing yards for the season.

There was one important discovery for Green Bay's offense right before the bye week, however, and that was Lacy's ability to dominate as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Though the Packers lost handily at New Orleans in Week 8, Lacy had eight catches for 123 yards in that game. When Green Bay returned from its bye, Lacy was given increased opportunities to live up to his "Moss" nickname.

After being handed the ball an average of fewer than 14 times over the first 10 games of the season, Lacy had 25 carries in Week 12 and 21 rushes in Week 13. And he delivered both times, leading the Packers to slim-margin victories over Minnesota and New England.

McCarthy dialed back Lacy's touches a bit over the next month, but when Green Bay needed a Week 17 win to secure a first-round bye and another division championship, he had a season-high 26 carries along with three receptions. Lacy also had 40 combined rushing attempts in the Packers' two playoff games, further showing how much more involved he was in the offense compared to the first half of the season.

Overall 2014 grade: B-plus

Status for 2015: One-hundred percent chance of being on Green Bay's active roster to begin the 2015 regular season. Lacy's days of plowing over defenders are long from over. He'll turn 25 years old in June and should benefit long-term from not being overused this past season. McCarthy had almost the exact opposite approach with Lacy than what the Cowboys did with DeMarco Murray. It will continue to be interesting to see how much Lacy is used as a receiver out of the backfield. Rodgers talked in November -- albeit somewhat in jest -- about Lacy's potential to become just the third-ever player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Rodgers said he was "teasing" Lacy about that possibility. But even if it's not 1,000 receiving yards, Lacy clearly has the ability to add variety to the Packers' offense. For what it's worth, during a three-game stretch midseason, Lacy averaged nearly 79 receiving yards per game. If he did that for an entire season, Lacy would finish with 1,258 receiving yards. 


Paul Imig | Fox Sports Wisconsin | March 13 2015



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