By Joseph Gunther
Name: Eddie Lacy – RB – #27
Weight: 230 lbs.
Hometown: Geismar, LA
College: University of Alabama
Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been with the Green Bay Packers for seven seasons. Running the ball on offense has been an issue during almost all of them.
The best rushing offense McCarthy has had finished 14th in the NFL in rushing yards per game and yards per carry. Every other year, the team finished in the bottom half of the league and got as low as 27th. The average finish in both statistics is 21st in yards per game and 20th in yards per carry.
Now enters rookie Eddie Lacy. He is a thick, powerful and physical running back that can make a defender miss from time to time.
Lacy now has to prove that he can be the workhorse running back the Packers need.
“I can only bring what I was drafted to bring in, and that’s what I’ve been doing pretty much my whole life,” Lacy said during the Packers’ mini-camps in June. “I don’t plan on changing the way I run and I don’t think that they expect me to be able to change it. They just want me to be able to come in and do what I was drafted to do.”
Projected as the first running back in the draft, Lacy saw his stock fall due to injury concerns.
“The issue with Eddie Lacy was we were worried about a toe injury that he had, which is probably what caused him to slip,” Broncos Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell said during a fan forum conference call in early May, via the Denver Post.
The Denver Broncos had the opportunity to select Lacy, but selected former Wisconsin Badger running back Montee Ball at the No. 58 pick instead.
When training camp began on July 26, Lacy’s weight became a headline after reporter David Woods of theScore.com tweeted a side-by-side comparison photo of the running back. The two photos – one taken at the team’s June mini-camp and the other at the start of training camp – were taken at different angles and Woods adds the question if the training camp photo was “Just an unflattering angle?”
Lacy is not concerned about his weight.
“I’m at a weight where I’m comfortable at, and the coaching staff feels as though they’re comfortable where I’m at,” Lacy said, according to the Associated Press. “So as far as that’s concerned, we’re all on the same page. I’ve always been big. I’m a power back. I pretty much get the tough yards and I’m fast enough to get around the outside and make big plays.”
McCarthy appears to be okay with the former Alabama star’s weight and conditioning.
“Going through the conditioning test, he was fine,” the head coach said. “If we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, they wouldn’t be on the field.”
Lacy and fourth round draft pick running back Johnathan Franklin from UCLA are both expected to provide a big boost to the Packers running game.
“We’ll be better, I promise you that,” McCarthy said in June. “Big letters.”
Lacy and Franklin join returning running backs Alex Green and DeJuan Harris for reps in training camp.
“Training camp is going to be intense,” Green said in June. “There’s a lot more guys here, a ton of competition.”
The Packers need one of the running backs to step up and provide balance for the team’s one-dimensional offense. Lacy should get every opportunity to be that guy.
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.