Eddie Lacy hasn’t been anything to write home about this season.
He has seemingly been overtaken by James Starks as the Green Bay Packers’ No. 1 back. Starks has more rushing yards than Lacy and has out-touched him in two of the Packers’ last three games.
So there are all kinds of questions about Lacy.
Some people — reporters, mostly — have been harping on the idea that Lacy is overweight. Packers coach Mike McCarthy says that isn’t the case and so does Lacy, himself.
Other people have suggested Lacy might be being hindered by injuries. Lacy dealt with an ankle injury earlier in the season, but hasn’t missed a game.
What we do know is Lacy isn’t producing. He’s averaging only 3.7 yards per rush.
So what’s the problem?
No one seems to have a good answer.
Asked what’s wrong with Lacy, associate head coach/offense Tom Clements replied simply, “I don’t have an answer for you.”
And that pretty much sums it up. The rest of the coaching staff, from head coach Mike McCarthy to offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett, says there’s nothing wrong with Lacy. Then they give us their best, “We’ve got to get him going” cliche.
A couple weeks ago, Lacy — using his best McCarthyism — told us pad level was his issue. And he’s gone out and done nothing of note since.
In other words, that seems just about as absurd as every time McCarthy blames pad level for whatever else is ailing the Packers.
We’ve got a couple more realistic ideas.
- The offensive line play. Have you noticed? It’s been nothing short of crap lately. It’s as if these guys have been busier worrying about getting in Pitch Perfect 3 than actually blocking anyone. It would probably be tough for Walter Payton to run behind this line right now.
- An actual commitment to the run game. The coaches say things like, “We’ve got to establish is running game.” The problem is, that’s all they do. I don’t care whether it’s James Starks or Eddie Lacy, if you’re going to establish the run game, then you actually have to go out and run the football.
Let’s take a look at No. 2, since there probably isn’t much that can be done about No. 1.
Here’s how many times the Packers have run the ball in the past five games: 19, 21, 17, 27, 33.
That 27, which came against the Rams, is a bit misleading. Aaron Rodgers ran the ball eight times in that game, so the Packers ran only 19 designed run plays.
You have to go all the way back to San Francisco, when the Packers ran 33 times, to see any commitment to the run. Only three of those runs were by Rodgers, so there were actually 30 designed running plays that were executed.
Eighteen of those carries went to Lacy and he ran for 90 yards, his best game of the season.
What does that tell you?
If you actually run the ball on a regular basis, you might have some success.
The Packers haven’t executed more than 19 designed running plays in a game since week 4.
But we’re gonna establish the run!