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Are the Packers Running Eddie Lacy into the Ground?

With the Packers star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, sidelined with a collarbone fracture and the usually static Packers, now starting a different quarter back every week, the offense has fallen on to the rookie shoulders of Eddie Lacy.

The Packers second round pick in the 2013 draft, has rejuvenated the running game and been thrust into a dominant role on the offense.

The storyline has been the same that past two weeks: Get through time without Rodgers by hoping the new starting quarterback will be a game manager and Eddie Lacy can help carry the team. Whoever steps in for Rodgers, be it Wallace, Tolzien or newly signed Matt Flynn, they don’t need to be a hero, they just need to not screw it up. Part of that “not screwing it up” mantra relies on having a steady and productive running game.

Eddie Lacy is the Packers running game. Even with a healthy James Starks and fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin, Lacy accounts for a majority of the running game.

The Packers have run the ball 266 times so far this year, Lacy accounts for nearly 60% of them, having carried the ball 158 times.

In seven games this season, Lacy has been on the field for over 60% of the Packers offensive snaps, missing time in weeks two and three due to a concussion. Comparatively, in the five games he played, James Starks generally averages less than a quarter of the offensive snaps (in the two games that Lacy missed, Starks received more snaps at 86 and 40%).

Franklin sees the ball and the field even less. He has been active for all nine of the Packers games thus far this season, but has only seen action on offense five times, with three of those games having a playtime percentage of 10% or less.

Lacy is the Packers rushing attack.

And that is problematic.

NFL players often talk of the Rookie Wall. The theoretical wall their body hits around the end of November when college football is normally ending but when the NFL is gearing up for playoff runs.

So far, Lacy has shown no signs of slowing down, but his Rookie Wall could be bigger than others.

Last season at Alabama, Lacy played in 14 games, but only two of those games occurred after November 24th. In the regular season, the Packers will play five games after November 24th, and hopefully more in the post season.

At no time in 2012, or at all in his college career, did Lacy carry the ball more than 20 times in a game. His 2012 attempts per game average was 14.6. In the eight games he played in this season, he averages 19.75 attempts per game, and that includes week two when he was injured on his first carry and left the game.

In the past six games, Lacy has carried the ball for an average of 23.8 attempts per game. If the Packers give him the ball at that rate, he will have more carries by week 13 than he did all of last season.

That is a lot of wear on a back. And puts his risk of hitting a Rookie Wall higher.

The Packers are known to feed the hot hand, and that has been Lacy. But it might be in their best interest to start including Starks and Franklin into the mix. With the amount of time that Rodgers will be sideline unknown, and with the possibility of the playoffs still there, but getting smaller, the Packers will need Lacy to be his best week in and week out.

And if they run him into the ground, he might not be.

Jayme Snowden is a feature writer at CheeseheadTV and a contributor to Today’s TMJ4. She also co-hosts CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (143) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

UP-Packer's picture

No.
The Packer's season could very well be on the line. When else would you run a young & healthy running back? --- Besides, running him into the ground is only hypothetical.

Zub's picture

Packer playoff push starts against the giants

Ma Linger's picture

Giants playoff push starts against the Packers

RC Packer Fan's picture

I would say no they aren't running him into the ground, but I do think they need to use him less and use Franklin more..

I think they are using Starks about the right amount.

But I really think they need to get Franklin more involved. I understand he fumbled. But at the same point, Ryan Grant fumbled 2x's in a playoff game and continued to play and put a huge game together...
Franklin has some real game breaking ability. He is fast, shifty and would be a perfect RB to be worked in the passing game. He brings something different to the RB position. It is time McCarthy figures out how to use him. Especially going in with Tolzien as the QB, they need as many options as possible.

My only other complaint is how they are splitting up the reps. They run Lacy for 4 series, Starks for 1-2, then Lacy for the rest. I would like to see them use each during each series. Not let the defense get comfortable with a certain RB.

Jayme Snowden's picture

Definitely agree about the way they are splitting the reps. Doesn't leave room for situational switches, and like you said, the defense just gets use to one style, controls the style of the drive as a whole.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Against the Eagles I remember when Starks was in, and it was 3rd and 1. I thought for sure they were bringing Lacy in, they didn't.
That to me is a perfect example of not using the RB's in the right situation. Lacy is a very good RB for those situations.

I just can't figure out how they seem to not be able to figure out how to split the reps of the RB's. You watch the Saints for example. They use Ingram, Thomas and Sproles equally and change them out during series.

I am a huge fan of Franklin, which I'm sure most can tell. But I just can't figure out why they aren't using him. One of the last plays I remember seeing him in on, he was running down the sideline with a LB 5 yards behind him, wide open in the endzone. Rodgers overthrew him. The guy has speed. Use it...

Stroh's picture

Franklin cost the Cincy game AND fumbled the next game. Not too hard to figure out why he isn't seeing the field. That along w/ losing his job as a returner equals NO PLAYING TIME!

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

Over 100 yards rushing in the Cincy game

Stroh's picture

Yes he had 100 yds. Then w/ the Packers leading late in the 4th and driving for a clinching score he FUMBLED! It was returned for a TD, and the Packers lost. He was given a 2nd chance the following week and FUMBLED again! His last remaining chance to earn playing time was by playing well on ST. He lost that role too. That's 3 strikes against him. He should be out of chances this year IMO.

I like his potential but he's learning his lesson the hard way. His own fault...

Stroh-Hater's picture

Shut up Straw please. The kid has talent your just 2 blind to see it!!1!

Stroh's picture

Not a chance. Starks has been very productive in the running game the little he has been used. He definitely needs more touches. I would use Lacy about 2/3 of the time and Starks 1/3. Franklin doesn't see the field till he proves beyond a shadow that he won't put the ball on the ground. He's done exactly squat to prove that so far. He lost his return role and isn't doing anything to earn snaps on offense. Until he does Franklin can ride the bench. His own damn fault for costing the Packers the Cincy game!!!

I'll be more than happy to see Starks more, Lacy less and Franklin none till next year!

RC Packer Fan's picture

He didn't cost the Packers the Cincy game. Yes his fumble gave the go ahead points to the Bengals. But that is not the reason why they lost the game.
Bengals Scored 34 points in that game. He cost them 7. That means the Bengals scored 27 more points in the game. Can't pin the game on him.

Evan's picture

To say nothing of the fact that when all other RBs dropped out with injuries, he answered the call. If he lost the game for the Packers, fine. But he was also a big reason they were in a position to win the game too.

And how can he "prove beyond a shadow that he won’t put the ball on the ground" if he's not given any touches. I don't think this team is in any position at the moment to be leaving healthy, talented players in the dog house.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I completely agree Evan.

How do you prove your capable of playing if your not allowed to play.

Yes he lost the return job, but that has nothing to do with him used in the backfield.

Franklin has the speed and shiftiness to become a game changer. Right now they need to use all the talent they have to help out Tolzien.

Stroh's picture

Franklins return job was the one way he had left to earn playing time on offense. Look at Lattimore. His great play on ST is earning him more time on D. Franklin fumbled in consecutive games, and now lost his best opportunity (kickoff returns) to earn playing time offense.

For young players and rookies ST is the way to earn a chance on offense or defense. Prove you belong by making plays on ST's will help you see the field on O or D. ST, offense and defense are not mutually exclusive.

Stroh's picture

Lattimore made the most of his opportunities on D AND ST and will continue to get on the field w/ the return of Jones. Franklin has fumbled his opportunities literally and figuratively on offense and ST.

Robbie Henges's picture

Well if he's having fumbling problems in practice the coaching staff would know and he wouldn't play we don't know

Robbie Henges's picture

Look its not like Franklin fumbled for no reason I'm not one to make excuses for players but both times happened when he was stood up and somebody streaking in got a helmet right on the ball. I think he does add a dynamic to the running game. Although Stroh may have a point, maybe Franklin has struggled in practice, maybe he has been fumbling in practice we don't know. Also I think starks, gives us enough big play potential and is physical.

Bill's picture

This is an example of creating a "story" where none exists. It is based on nothing but speculation and was written to fill space on a website.

Jayme Snowden's picture

It actually a discussion we have weekly at the LiveBlog during games and often during Railbird Central as well. Which is why I pulled the stats today. Not just done to fill space.

Bill's picture

This sentence sums up my point:

So far, Lacy has shown no signs of slowing down, but his Rookie Wall could be bigger than others.

I.e., there is no evidence this is happening, but it "could."

Evan's picture

"I.e., there is no evidence this is happening, but it “could.”"

And history has shown it often does.

Derek in CO's picture

I like the article Jamie. And yes, they are using him too much. Why run him 20+ times a game, every game, when you have a perfectly capable guy in Starks healthy?

RC Packer Fan's picture

The whole point is that, its a good idea to start easing back on him before he gets burned out.

'IF' the Packers were to make it to the playoffs... (that's a big if too), They would definitely need him then. They need to be careful to not allow him to hit the wall....

RC Packer Fan's picture

Only thing filling space is your comments...

This is a great argument, and a well written article.

Derek in CO's picture

If you don't like it, don't visit the website.

Bill's picture

Good one. Maybe I'll go read some 2014 mock drafts. They are just as newsworthy and fact-based as this article.

Evan's picture

19 comments in just about 30 minutes. Some of them even from you. I'd say the people have spoken as to whether this is a worthy topic of discussion.

RC Packer Fan's picture

How is this article not fact based?

It's extremely factual and tells us exactly what we need to know, followed with stats to back up. It was researched and accurate.

Don't know what your complaint is. But I agree, if you don't like it, don't read it...

Longshanks's picture

Bill, don't know who you are but this I can tell you from my experience since I've been here. If you dare question ANYTHING Jayme writes you will be attacked and labeled as either a "troll"(whatever that means) or a "sexist pig" because no man should ever question anything a woman writes.

I questioned something she wrote a month or so ago and got viciously attacked by all the real sexist pigs who feel that Jayme is a weak woman and needs to be defended. Trust me, they will come after you for your opinion on this article. They already have.

Longshanks

RC Packer Fan's picture

No Longshanks. I don't know what happened last time. But this time I completely disagree with Bill's point that 'It is based on nothing but speculation and was written to fill space on a website.'
I don't agree with his points, at all... 'That this was a waste of space'... I don't care if the writer of this was male or female. It was well written and factual...
Jayme is a big girl, I'm sure she can take care of herself. But to call this a whole waste of space is nonsense.

William Wallace's picture

My god you are so sexist. A sexist troll. I'm gonna kick your ass Longshanks.

W. Wallace

Longshanks's picture

Bill, I sort of agree with you. C.D. Angeli did the same thing two weeks in a row talking about Sharpe and ripping Teddy Tee. I thought of it as well as a "space filler". You seriously took those two words right out of my mouth.

As for Lacy, I see no signs of him slowing down or hitting any "rookie wall". If anything McCarthy is giving him alot of reps to keep him in shape. Lacy is the type where if you don't keep him active by getting him carries, he could get out of playing shape rather quickly.

This guy has two switches. One is "hammer time" on the field and the other is relaxing on a couch watching cartoons and playing video games. You take away "hammer time" and you have a very disinterested aloof rookie running back.

Longshanks

Jesse's picture

If you think getting ~5 less carries per game is going to do anything negative regarding his conditioning and work ethic then I don't know what to tell you. It doesn't change anything about how much prep and time he would put in during the week. You know, the actual work part of the job.

packsmack25's picture

It's a bizzarro season when Mike McCarthy and Andy Reid are being questioned about giving their RBs too many touches.

PackerPete's picture

i just thought the exact same thing...

bryce's picture

I agree. It should be a 50/50 split with Starks.

Evan's picture

50/30/20 - Lacy/Starks/Franklin

RC Packer Fan's picture

^ yes.... 100% agree... This is exactly what I want.

Stroh's picture

Whats Franklin done to earn ANY snaps? Fumble and lose the Cincy game, get tongue lashed by the coach, fumble again the following game and then lose his return role on ST. That is and SHOULD earn him exactly NO PLAYING TIME! Sit his ass on the inactive list rest of the season. Its what he has earned...

RC Packer Fan's picture

So a player loses 2 fumbles and he shouldn't play anymore the rest of the year? So by that, Ryan Grant shouldn't have entered back into the playoff game that he fumbled 2 times in I believe 2007? Which that game he turned in 200+ yards rushing.

Give the guy a fucking break. He had a mistake. He isn't the first guy to lose fumbles. He won't be the last...

He didn't lose the game for them too. see my previous comments...

Stroh's picture

He made a mistake, followed it up w/ ANOTHER mistake and now lost his role on KO returns! That's not the way to earn playing time on offense!

Stroh-Hater's picture

Goddamn it Straw.

Nick Perry's picture

I think he gained 103 yards in a very short time. The Packers are decimated by injuries and in a game or two, it's not going to matter if he fumbles every time he touches the ball. If you knew anything about the man, he has issues coming out. Every year but his Sr. year he had issues with fumbles.
Give the kid more than one or two carries. I know this, everyone was praising him right before the fumble. So what, a rookie fumbled. The Packers still had a chance to win the game and on 2 of the 4 downs to make 10 yards the ball was batted down. It was like the Bengals were in the huddle. Bench Rodgers because he's like 0-19 in drives like that? Take the play calling away from M.M. because he's so damn predictable? Look at Burnett the last few weeks, HE'S SUCKED! Should they bench him too? What you're seeing is a injury riddled team that's made a lot of bad draft picks and lost their QB that covered up that fact. Give Franklin s few carries or better yet, get creative Mike! Or did the creativity vanish after Philbin left?

Evan's picture

It's not like Lacy and Starks both also haven't fumbled this season. I think you're making way too big a deal out of that.

Stroh's picture

I never said Franklin didn't play well vs Cincy and I never said he didn't have talent. But he fumbled, got a tongue-lashing and cost the Cincy game, was given a 2nd chance the very next game and fumbled AGAIN, and now has lost his return job.

3 strikes! He's out...

RC Packer Fan's picture

How does him losing the KR job affect what he does on offense? Those are 2 separate things.

Some guys are good on special teams and not good on offense/defense. (see Jarrett Bush, Trindon Holliday, Devin Hester to name a few).

Also, his fumble against the Bengals was a fluke thing. He fumbles, the guy picks it up, Cobb tackles him and that guy fumbles, another guy picks it up and runs it back. So technically you could blame Cobb for causing the fumble.

Packers had an opportunity after that fumble to win. They didn't. Franklin did not lose that game for them. He was the only one on offense keeping them in the game.

Stroh's picture

Young players, rookies or not OFTEN earn tine on O or D by their play on ST. It up to them to make the most of it! Franklin funbled hus chances. O and D and ST are not mutually exclusive. How yiu do on ST can get you playing time. Just as Lattimore!

Evan's picture

Lattimore got playing time because Jones got hurt.

UP-Packer's picture

Who honestly believes that Starks and/or Franklin can be as productive as Lacy?

However, it really won't matter who gets the carries if Tolzien can't hit on at least a few 3rd & longs early against the Giants. Seven & eight in the box will slow any RB down. --- I'd still put my money on Lacy. --- Worry about splitting up carries when GB is back in the hunt.

Evan's picture

Uhh....Starks: 5.7 YPC.

Idiot Fan's picture

That's just theory.

Longshanks's picture

Bingo!!!! You are the winner UP-Packer!!

As poor Bill said, this was a space filler. Nothing more. Fun to talk about but no evidence to support Eddie is going to suddenly turn into mud. Eddie is a rare special back. He can take the pounding.

Longshanks

UP-Packer's picture

I said nothing about Bill. I still have nothing to say about Bill. That part of this conversation is insignificant to me.

RC Packer Fan's picture

What proof do you have that he won't hit the wall?

Lacy only carried the ball more then 20 times in 3 games during his college career. The most carries he has had in college was 204 carries last year. He is at 158 currently.
The whole point is its time to spread the carries while giving the majority to Lacy...

Stroh's picture

It also means he has a lot of tread left on the tires. Just another way of looking at it. I think Starks should get a little more work. Split 2/3 Lacy and 1/3 Starks would be fine IMO.

RC Packer Fan's picture

For carries I agree with that.

I don't want to see Franklin getting many carries. What I want to see is him used in the Passing game. Where he can get the ball where he isn't in a crowd. Get him on the edge one on one with someone.
Its what I want. I know you don't feel the same way, but that's what I want...

Stroh's picture

What has Franklin done to earn any touches on offense? He looked good vs Cincy but still cost the game w/ a fumble. Given another chance the very next week only to fumble AGAIN. And now has lost the return role on KO. He doesn't deserve any role on offense right now. None...

Evan's picture

"What has Franklin done to earn any touches on offense?"

He carried the running game pretty much all by himself against Cincy.

As I said above (or below, I'm not sure), this team is in no position to be leaving healthy, talented players on the bench.

Evan's picture

Well, the trolls are well on their way to turning this post into their own little piss-filled sandbox.

UP-Packer's picture

You sure like to complain. Ya know, not everyone is here to please 'Evan'.

Evan's picture

It'd be a much better place if they were, though.

Morgan Mundane's picture

Oh sorry Evan, ya none of us have any constructive ideas like you do. Perhaps rotatiing backs is a bad idea just because MM isn't doing it and we know how bright he is.

Evan's picture

"Oh sorry Evan, ya none of us have any constructive ideas like you do. "

That's all I'm saying...

RC Packer Fan's picture

The world would be a better place if you could punch a troll in the face. :)

Sorry, stole that from Jim Rome, but it fits well doesn't it.

Evan's picture

Stop complaining!

Longshanks's picture

Evan, from the responses I would say you are the troll. Gee, isn't is just possible that some people don't agree with Jayme on this Lacy article? I see about four or five people so far that don't agree. So that makes us all trolls according to you? Get a grip. It's do or die time. I would rather ride Lacy hard the next two games with Rodgers out than rest him and put in Franklin only to see him fumble the game away. Call me crazy but I tend to trust Mike McCarthy over Jayme Stodden. Oh, damn I guess that makes me a sexist pig. Damn, why did I say that.

Longshanks

ohenry78's picture

The reason that Bill was called a "Troll" (which is a real thing on the internet. Look it up.) is because he came on to this article and, instead of posting an argument against what Jayme posited, decided to attack the author by saying that the article is a waste of space. The only one bringing up anyone being a "sexist pig" is you (guilty conscience?).

Disagreements are just fine a thing to have. Gosh, just look at Nagler's twitter feed for some good old fashioned disagreement. But having an opinion to the contrary requires evidence to the contrary, and refusing to list that evidence in favor of silly things like "This article is a waste of space" is why Bill's comment was ill received.

Bill's picture

My criticism of the article was this: there is no evidence the "Rookie Wall" phenomenon is happening to Lacy. The article is based purely on speculation about what might happen. So yes, I did post an "argument" which was based on "evidence" -- namely, the lack of any evidence in the article.

PackerPete's picture

I don't understand this whole discussion. For the last few years every fan complained that the McCarthy directed O doesn't run the ball enough. I also always hear that the ideal number of carries for a good RB is anywhere between 20 and 25.
The Packers season is on the line, so you have to play the best players as long as they are healthy enough. Lacy clearly is the best RB on the roster.
And by the way, there is absolutely no evidence that having a smaller number of carries in a game results in better avg per carry or significantly better results.
What are you sparing Lacy for? Next season? The playoffs that may not be reached with Lacy having less carries? All I know is that in seeing how opposing DBs don't even want to tackle him, run him as often as possible.

UP-Packer's picture

Exactly.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree, Lacy is the best RB on the team. I want to see him carry it around 20 times a game. But how many plays is he in the game getting hit where he isn't carrying the ball?
All of those hits add up as well.

The season is on the line. My fear though is they over use Lacy now and 1 month from now he hits the wall and isn't a factor like he is now.

I think Starks is being used right. Getting 5-10 carries a game. (if he is overused he will get hurt, that's his track record).
I want to see them get Franklin more involved. More in the passing game.

That is my opinion.

Stroh's picture

One month from now, they'll have Rodgers back. They can rest him a bit more then if they need to and give Starks more playing time. We need to stay in the playoff race, so resting Lacy now wouldn't be the best way to get to the playoffs. That said, I'm fine giving Starks more touches. He at least deserves them. Franklin is getting what he deserves too BTW.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I know what your saying Stroh about Franklin, you have made it quite clear how you feel...

My whole comments on this is that I don't want to see him getting overused and if they were somehow to get to the Playoffs, he will be burned out. He is vital to our offense, and I don't want to over work him.
I want to see him carry it around 20 carries a game. To me that is good. Get Starks like 5-10 carries pending on the game. And yes I would like to see Franklin get 2-4 receptions out of the backfield, on swing passes, checkdowns, and screens.
That is what I want to see...

Stroh's picture

Again what has Franklin done to get any opportunities on offense? Fumbled 2 games in a row and got benched from his return role. He's earned his seat on the bench, nothing more. Riding Lacy right now is the way to help get us a shot at the playoff race. IF we're still in it when Rodgers returns, that is the time to scale back on Lacy's touches. For now, he is needed to take on more of the offenses burden. I think they should be making sure Starks get 10 touches a game and that shouldn't have to come as a direct result of Lacy getting fewer touches.

Longshanks's picture

I also agree Packer Pete!!

Longshanks

Idiot Fan's picture

For the most part I agree, but I think what makes it a worthy question is:

1. He is a rookie who has never played as long as an NFL season is.
2. He dropped in the draft because of injury concerns, and many of us were worried prior to the season that he wouldn't make it through unscathed.
3. The other backs have actually looked pretty good when they came in.

Given those things, it's a reasonable question to ask whether they should be running Lacy less right now. The answer may be no, but it's worth talking about.

Morgan Mundane's picture

Why would you rotate between Lacy and Starks? Makes no sense at all. You let Lacy run all day and when he gets tired you keep on running him and when he gets exhausted you keep on running him.
Oh, sorry, that's MM's philosophy. I would alternate on series to keep them both fresh and present a different stlye back to play against but hey that's just my thinking.

Point Packer's picture

I think we need to see Starks more and Franklin at least a little. The risk of Lacy wearing down is real. And even if it wasn't, it is good offensive strategy to utilize different looks from our backfield.

Starks is a proven commodity. Despite mistakes, Franklin has shown potential.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Completely agree...

That is what I'm saying.

I personally don't like how they are rotating Starks and Lacy. I would like to see Starks worked in more on each series to change the style on the defense. Keep them more on their toes, vs. getting used to one style or another.

Franklin has some real ability and it has been untapped. Yes he has made mistakes. But so has Starks and Lacy. Everyone makes mistakes.
I'm not saying only give Lacy 10 carries and give Franklin 20. I'm saying have Franklin take about 10-15 plays a game. Use him in the passing game more. Get him on screen/swing passes where he can use his speed.
Use his speed combined with Lacy's power and that will be a great 1-2 punch.

UP-Packer's picture

Use your approach when you're playing Madden. --- In the real world, let Mac run the show.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I don't play madden.

Buster's picture

Agreed. Fans always have a better way, especially after 2 losses. It's easy to call the shots when you have nothing to lose.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I have been making this argument the last 4 weeks... That they need to be using Franklin more, and not over use Lacy...

Stroh's picture

Franklin is getting what he has earned! Cost the cincy game, fumbled again the next game when given another chance and now lost his role as the return man on KO. Why should he get ANY snaps?

dawg's picture

Franklin was much better used in space at UCLA, hope Packers can figure that out!

dawg's picture

Which means, Screens or third down back. Shifty back w/ speed.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Exactly Dawg! That's how I want to see him used.

I'm not asking for him to be ran up the middle 20 times a game. Use him like a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles. That would be a perfect fit for him.

Stroh's picture

Fine use him that way next year. I don't disagree w/ using him on screens etc. But he has done NOTHING since the Cincy game to EARN any playing time. Cost the Cincy game w/ a fumble, was given another chance the following game only to fumble AGAIN. Had a role as a return man, but lost that role now too. Franklin hasn't done anything to earn a 3rd chance this season. He is getting exactly what he has earned for himself. NO PLAYING TIME!

Getting benched isn't the way to earn snaps.

THEMichaelRose's picture

Glad you wrote this. Every time I see him get popped after a 2 yard run my worries grow. It'd be great if he took 4-5 fewer pops per game. At least Starks look good in the event Lacy does hit some "wall."

PackerPete's picture

RC - "The season is on the line. My fear though is they over use Lacy now and 1 month from now he hits the wall and isn’t a factor like he is now."
that's a risk that the Packers have to take I think. My fear is that they use someone else now more often, and that will result in that it won't matter what Lacy does a month from now since the Packers playoff hopes will be dead.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree they have to use Lacy as much as possible. I'm just saying I don't want them to overuse him. I think there is a fine line there.
I want Lacy to average 20 or so carries a game. But I want to see Franklin get used more.
My fear about using him to much is that 1 month from now they are still going to need him, if they are still in the playoff picture...

I agree that Lacy needs to get the majority of the touches.

Here is another thought. How about taking out Kuhn, and putting Lacy and Franklin in the backfield together... Create some confusion...

PackerPete's picture

i would love taking out Kuhn, but he is in there for pass protection - vital with Tolzien at the moment - and actually called the plays last week.
but i agree, let Lacy and Franklin both line up there. why they use Taylor or Quarless in the backfield sometimes is maddening. Fake a run with Lacy and let Franklin speed through the middle and dump the ball off - big gains possible. not disagreeing with you there. but, as far as running the ball goes, Lacy is the man.

RC Packer Fan's picture

And honestly I'm not saying giving Lacy the ball a lot less then what he is being used as far as carrying the ball. I want to see less snaps total for him. Give 10 of his snaps to Franklin a game.

I don't really want to see Franklin running the ball as much as I want to see him catching the ball... I think his value right now is more of a receiver then runner.

I love the idea of putting Franklin and Lacy together or even Starks and Lacy. It would give the defense something it hasn't seen before.

Buster's picture

If Lacy is the hot RB, MM is not going to pull him out just to get anyone else more game snaps. MM's ass is warm because the Packers are 5-4. They need a win or two NOW!

Evan's picture

"MM’s ass is warm"

Not even a little bit.

Point Packer's picture

Not even without shouting distance of the burner.

Same with TT.

Longshanks's picture

Exactly Packer Pete. If the Packers are out of the playoffs 4 or 5 weeks from now than they can sit Lacy all they want and play Starks and Franklin to their heart's desire.

Longshanks

RC Packer Fan's picture

And they will be able to play Starks and Franklin all they want if they over use Lacy and he hits the rookie wall...

Stroh's picture

Lacy was not overused in college like say Monte Ball was. If Ball can carry 30 times a game in college, Lacy can handle a heavy workload for now. Getting Starks a few more snaps/series is fine, but Lacy has plenty of tread on those tires. No need to over-think this too much.

RC Packer Fan's picture

My whole thought is, he isn't used to getting that kind of workload. If he gets used to much, there is a good chance he could hit the rookie wall...
That is what this whole article is about. I agree with the article.

Evan's picture

Yeah, I think you're talking about two different things.

Not being overused in college speaks to career longevity. People like to say RBs only have so many carries in their bodies before they break down.

But the rookie wall is more about not being used to the length of an NFL season and the increased intensity/ workload/beating.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Your right Evan. I am referring to the season, not career.

Lacy's body is not used to having 300 carries in a season.

My concern is, that if we make it to the playoffs he won't be effective. I understand we have to get to the playoffs first, and right now it doesn't look the best. But if we get there, I want to make sure we have Lacy running strong.

That's why I would like to see Lacy get around 20 carries a game. I really don't want to see him carry 30 times a game.

denniseckersley's picture

I've definitely felt like they've been riding him a little too hard. Particularly last week. I have no problem with the Packers giving the guy over 300 carries a season....but last week I felt like they should have spelled him when it was unlikely that we were gonna pull it off. It kind of felt like we were wasting him.

However, in normal circumstances (with Aaron Rodgers), I would highly advocate running him hard. It's a cruel way to look at it, but I think the best way to treat the running game is to squeeze all the carries you can out of these players while they are on their rookie contracts.... and then let them walk in free agency.

Stroh's picture

When Rodgers is healthy is the time to give him more rest. With Rodgers out they need to ride him as much as possible. Other than giving Starks a few more touches, this is the time we need to ride him. We can run the offense thru Rodgers when healthy and afford to rest Lacy then. Now is not the time to worry about resting Lacy, IF he needs it.

Longshanks's picture

RC, he's not going to hit this fictional Rookie Wall that Jayme is spewing to you. The guy is what 22 years old? he's a big big powerful strong young man. He plays a game for three hours a week then goes home in some rented dupulex in Green Bay and watches cartoons and plays video games all night resting his body and relaxing.

It's Green Bay, he's not out dancing it up and partying. Edddie is chillin with Bugs Bunny and Speedy Gonzalez and that's fine with me. He's not going to wear out. You need to quit reading and worrying about what Jayme is telling you.

If he is showing signs they won't need Jayme to tell them to rest Eddie, that will come from McCarthy. He's not some idiot that's not aware of the fact Eddie is their featured back. You need to trust McCarthy RC and quit worrying. He does have a super bowl ring. Jayme does not. Jayme has caused undo panic with this article I am afraid.

Longshanks

ohenry78's picture

Hey Jayme -- looks like Longshanks here has all the answers. Maybe he's right, and you shouldn't have written this article. Maybe CHTV should hire Longshanks. Then we can eliminate all these articles that postulate about "scenarios" and "what-ifs" and fill them with the cold, hard, endless expanse of Longshanks' knowledge.

Longshanks's picture

"Maybe CHTV should hire Longshanks."

Thanks for the compliment but I honestly would never work for a place where it's writers insult it's readers like Angeli and Stodden do. Besides, I don't work for peanuts. They could never afford me. They should feel fortunate I don't charge them simply for gracing them with my presence.

Longshanks

RC Packer Fan's picture

First, the rookie wall is real...

Second, how do you know what he does in his spare time? Are you stalking him?

Third, Why do you care if Jayme wrote this article or if Brian or Aaron wrote it? Its not about who wrote it. Its about the article itself...

ohenry78's picture

The one thing I will give Longshanks is his assessment of how Lacey spends his free time. There was an article in the MJS before the season that was a nice profile on Lacey and got in to his personal life, where it was revealed that he isn't a big "go out and party" sort of person and prefers to watch cartoons and stuff. Seems like a chill guy, but the sad part is that a lot of it has to do with his inability to get over his family's losses to Hurricane Katrina. All the more reason to wish for his success :)

Longshanks's picture

RC, the so called "rookie wall" is only real if you believe it to be real. Ask Russell Wilson if he believes in a rookie wall? He seemed to get better and better as the year went on not worse. Almost took them to a super bowl.

I've seen plenty of rookie running backs similar to Lacy come in and not have a drop off as the year went on. Earl Campbell, George Rogers, Tony Dorsett, Barry Sanders, Eddie George. Not buying it for a second sorry!!

As far as how I know what he does. I read a great article by a wonderful woman writer/reporter named Lori Nichol who I have the utmpost respect for. She filled me in on what he does when he's not at 1265 Lombardi.

As to why do I care who wrote the article? I don't care. I simply disagree with the writer who in this case just happens to be a female. I treat her just like a man and that's how she wants it I would imagine.

If I treated her like a woman I would have to then pretend that I liked the article and say how great it was and how I agreed with her so nobody would think I am a sexist. You see the difference? I am quite certain Jayme respects me for my honesty if nothing else.

Longshanks

RC Packer Fan's picture

LONGSHANKS...

Great to see you searched hard for the leagues greatest RB's in history to use that as your example.

The rookie wall is real. Yes some rookies don't hit it. Some do... I'm not saying Lacy will hit it, I'm not saying he won't. All that I'm saying is I don't want him to hit it...
I think you can agree that you don't wan to see him less productive then what he has been.

I don't know what you said before to get a huge uproar, and honestly I don't care. I'm not getting into a sexist thing. If that is your intentions to be a sexist, well that is your issues, not mine or anyone else's here.

Ohh and also the way your talking about Jayme, yes your a sexist. I don't want to hear it.

Whatever the problem is, i'm not getting into it.
If you want to talk football, I will talk football. I'm not talking about your women issues.

Longshanks's picture

lol.. Believe me RC, I don't give a damn about women's issues here either but time and time again a few assholes like to bring it up. If people want to call me a sexist that's ok with me. Doesn't bother me because all I said is MOST women love football for the shopping and the food.

They aren't on football message boards like Jayme talking football 24/7. They don't give a shit like men give a shit. They are different and look at the game differently. If I was wrong than there would be a hell of alot more women here than just one. Where are they all?

I understand you are a big Franklin fan. I like the guy too but I just think they will or have to go heavy with Lacy for this next game or two. I don't see him hitting a rookie wall if Rodgers comes back because once he does they will go back to passing a tad more. Until that time comes I say they need to use Lacy heavy.

As to using the great backs as examples, I don't use research RC. I am an old man. I use my memory only and I used those guys specifically because believe it or not I kind of put Lacy in the same category as those NFL greats. (and please nimrods get off the Eric Torkelson shit that was a joke obviousy)

Longshanks

Stroh's picture

The rookie wall may be real, but its not as pronounced as it used to be. PLayers stay in condition year around now. The wall doesn't take any of them by surprise it they hit it and not all players experience it. If they take care of themselves during the week the wall isn't nearly as much a factor as it once was.

RunAndHyde's picture

The whole...let's use Starks this whole series thing last week n give Lacy a break was stupid. Roll with ur hott hand. Give lacy a break or two every drive not take him out completely.

RC Packer Fan's picture

agreed.

Idiot Fan's picture

Some people argue that it takes a couple plays to get in a groove, so if you're constantly switching RBs, neither can get comfortable, whereas if they have a whole series they can settle in. I don't know if that's true or not, but I've heard that argued.

Stroh's picture

With Rodgers at QB the Packers 1) can afford to rest Lacy a little more than they can now. And 2) used the no-huddle the vast majority of the time, so subbing doesn't work during a series. That being the case you sub for a whole series at a time. Right now they NEED Lacy to shoulder the burden on offense.

Longshanks's picture

Exactly Stroh. People need to understand that Eddie Lacy is now our Aaron Rodgers. He's our offense!! You don't play him less, unfortunately he needs to keep playing as much as possible because he gives our team the best chance to win as long as Rodgers is out. If Tolzein can keep improving than maybe Lacy can get a breather but they need to win this fucking game first. No time to rest Eddie Lacy. None!! Lacy 70 percent and Starks 30 percent.

Longshanks

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree Stroh that they need him to shoulder as much of the load as possible. But they have plenty of opportunities to substitute. I just would like to see them mix in Starks a little more, vs doing whole series type of things.
Just my opinion.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Yes, and I'm fine with it.

With our luck he will probably suffer a season ending injury soon, so run him while you can. I do wish we saw a package for Franklin, some screens and draws would be swell. They really must not trust him right now.

We can't worry about players having too many snaps, that's a luxury for healthy teams. He's our best back, ride him til the wheels fall off.

Cow42's picture

"Whoever steps in for Rodgers, be it Wallace, Tolzien or newly signed Matt Flynn, they don’t need to be a hero, they just need to not screw it up."

how do you figure?

who's going to pick up the slack?

the defense? HA
special teams? HA
play caller? HA

i couldn't disagree more with that statement.

the way this team is built (weak/soft/finesse/etc.), if the qb isn't making plays - they're going to lose.

Justin Case's picture

Christine Michael is a much better back. No way he hits the rookie wall.

Stroh's picture

No player hits the wall w/ 17 carries in 10 games. Michael isn't getting enough playing time. He's carried as much all season as Franklin did in his one game.

Justin Case's picture

Yeah I know i was just yanking Eeyore's (oops I meant Cow's) chain from a while back when he claimed that Michael was a better back than Lacy.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

The rookie wall is a very real condition. Rookie backs that are asked to shoulder a load they are not accustomed to can easily go through lulls and yet have stellar games at the end of a season. Additionally, the number of increased collisions takes its toll not only from a current season aspect but for future production long term. Eric Dickerson actually got better in terms of aggregate yards from year 1 to year 2 but that is rare. Backs with bigger frames can shoulder a bigger load but anything approaching 350+ carries for any back and you may start looking for a replacement the next year as production decrease is a very real possibility. If you remember James Wilder as I do his production dropped significantly. He's not the only one.

tundravision's picture

Thanks, Paul. Nice to have an experienced voice of reason.

Alex Van Pelt, the running back coach, also agrees.

“We had an extra day (to recover) this week with the Monday night game, that plays into it too,” said Alex Van Pelt, the Packers’ running backs coach. “But we’re definitely monitoring the carries for him, try to get him back down to around 20.”

http://www.packersnews.com/article/20131101/pkr0101/131101028/packers-st...

Stroh's picture

20 carries/touches for Lacy and 10-12 for Starks works fine w/ me. The rookie wall isn't as pronounced as it used to be. Its still there, but not as definitive and not as severe for a lot of reasons. Some players don't even hit it. Depends on awareness of the player, and coaching staff. More rest during the week and overall conditioning.

Bert's picture

I do worry about Lacey's longevity given his current workload. I assume Mac is also aware of the downside to possibly over using him. Not sure what the answer is but I think one remedy would be getting Rodgers back and then we have many more options as far what the offense can do. Right now we are stuck with the situation we have, which is the most effective way to move the ball and maybe win games is to run Lacey early and often.

lennysmalls's picture

Yes.

4thand1's picture

Eddie Lacy is a fresh back coming out of College. He didn't carry the ball much at Alabama only in his senior year so he hasn't been beaten up. The average RB lasts about 3 years in the NFL. The good ones last pretty long. Jerome Bettis carried the ball a ton and lasted like 13 years going over 300 carries in a season at times. Lacy will be fine, the guys he flattens won't . Use him 20+ carries a game. Great backs don't come around every day, we as Packer fans should know this. I think we have the makings of a great back. Eddie Munster!

Bert's picture

Plus with the defense continually giving leads away it's tough to want to see them on the field. The best way to keep them off the field is to run Lacey early and often.

Brett Favre's picture

Everybody shut up. I'll play RB. I still got it.

Fish and crane's picture

I think Lacy is going to turn out to be one of those "freaks". He doesn't seem to get bothered or tired..he's just all, " Do my job."

Blue collaresque if I dare

larry valdes's picture

Can lacey starks orfranklyn play safety because that is what we have been mising since we lost collins we now get a chance to sign ed reed ted please dont think about it.

KennyPayne's picture

Great article and spot on. Not quite sure why Starks is not used more and Franklin is never used.

PackerPete's picture

as we all know from experience, Starks has only so many carries per game to not get injured. use him more and you see him on the sideline.

Mojo's picture

I've been able to scan most of the comments on this subject and there seems to be two main opposing opinions; 1. run Lacy until he drops and 2. wean his carries in favor of the other backs. I fall more into the second camp.

Lacy's done a great job. He's probably our best back. But that doesn't mean we're not getting production from the other RB's. Starks has a better YPC and 3 impressive TD's with limited carries(about a third of Lacy's). Franklin was explosive in the only game he got significant carries(Bengals game). Sure he fumbled, but didn't Ahman Green when he first started out, and how did his career turn out?

Starks was the best RB in training camp, preseason and has done very well in the regular season.

I understand that both Starks and Franklin's impressive YPC would decrease with more action, but don't dismiss them because you're enamored with Lacy. If at worst both Starks and Franklin's production decreased to the point where it equaled Lacy's, then why would wouldn't you run them more and spell Lacy from the beating he's been taking? And "just because" is not a reason.

I like what Lacy's done this year, but to be honest, Starks has been even better with his carries. So what's the problem with running Starks more, tossing Franklin in there and keeping Lacy fresh....?

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree with you Mojo.

My whole point is. I want them to use Lacy roughly what they are right now for carries. I don't want them giving him the ball 30+ times a game. 20-25 range is good for him. I'm not saying cut him down to 10-15 carries a game. I'm just saying don't overuse him.
Let Starks run the ball 5-10 times a game.
And I want to see Franklin used on screens, swing passes and just in the passing game in general.

The last time I saw Franklin on the field he ran down the sidelines about 5 yards in front of a LB, open for a TD. Rodgers over threw him.
He has some real ability, and to me it feels like they aren't using him like they could be.

If they can use Kuhn, as a receiver out of the backfield can't they use Franklin a couple of times a game?

Stroh's picture

You missed all the bad returns he had on KO's recently? Those were his last chances on the field. Except he lost that job too. So now he's relegated to having to tackle on ST KO returns.

RC Packer Fan's picture

KR, has nothing to do with offense. Jarrett Bush is really good on specials teams. Doesn't mean he can play defense...

Franklin never returned in college. They only went to him because they didn't have many options. They thought Jeremy Ross was the guy, and when he wasn't they had to go with someone. Franklin isn't a returner. has nothing to do with offense...

PackerBacker's picture

It's really more simple than all this.

You run him as many times as it takes to win the damn game. Period.

You spell him periodically throughout the game to make sure he has the energy it takes to pound the D at the end of the game, but otherwise, if he's you best option, you RUN HIM.

Steven's picture

Lets jusy agree that lacy is a star

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