Are the Packers Using Eddie Lacy Enough?

As the Packers’ offense chaotically operated in their affair against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Eddie Lacy stood on the sideline for 51% of the total snaps in the ballgame

Their bell cow back only received 12 carries and managed 50 yards (35 snaps) rushing against the stout Vikings defense. With Sharif Floyd sidelined for the contest, it appeared going into the game that the Packers might attack the Vikings up front with their 230 lb. bruising tailback.

Instead, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers dropped back 51 (72%) times and only managed to complete 20 passes for 213 yards and were sacked 5 times. The most productive plays stemmed from penalties drawn on the Vikings’ defense.

Even with the inefficient passing game, Mike McCarthy chose to stay away from his starting running back opting for 30 (42%) snaps from backup James Starks. While Starks is the better receiver in the tandem, Lacy’s style of play provides a much bigger threat to an opposing defense. Starks is clearly not the same type of rusher that Lacy is, and it showed up in the stats as he posted 3 yards on 7 carries.

The largest Vikings’ advantage was 10 points, so the Packers were never in position to completely abandon the running game. This made the lack of snaps for Lacy more puzzling, as he consistently gives them an opportunity for a big play. Whether it’s a handoff or a short pass, no defender wants to meet Lacy one-on-one in the open field.

Eddie is the type of running back that gets stronger with more carries and can wear a defense down. It appears the Packers simply don’t use him the same way that they did two seasons ago when he churned out 1139 yards rushing. The biggest difference is the number of carries, as his career average has been consistent around 4.3 yards per carry. While he received 246 carries in 2014, he is set to carry the ball only 208 times this year if he keeps up his current pace.  

These statistics make me wonder if there is another issue with Eddie and the coaching staff that we don’t know about. It is well documented that Coach McCarthy wasn’t happy with Eddie’s conditioning last season, and maybe that has spilled into this year. Regardless of the reasoning, it seems the Packers need to involve Lacy more in their offense if they are going to improve. He adds a dynamic that can make the Packers unique to many teams, they just need to utilize him.

His physical, battering style of play is exactly what the Packers need against physical defenses like the Minnesota Vikings and most of the other playoff contending NFC defenses.

            

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Comments (57)

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NickPerry's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:09 pm

Didn't we hear something about getting back to basics, running the ball more? Didn't Lacy come into to camp in shape, run well in the preseason, and it the limited carries this year? I've lost faith in McCarthy to do anything that makes sense or even do what he says he's going to. Running out of the shot-gun on 3rd and one with Starks? THAT'S typical MM and a reason why the Packers are 6-8 in their last 14 games.

Lacy is ready. He's in shape, running with power, more decisive with his cuts. Lacy should have been on the field much more in the 3rd and 4th quarter.

I think Change is a coming, 11 years is long time and this team isn't using one of the best weapons they have in Lacy. If MM is saving him for December and January, he better worry about September and October first!

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JerseyAl's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:24 pm

4th and one. even worse.

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Rossonero's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:41 pm

Oh boy, don't get me started on that.

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Malland56's picture

September 20, 2016 at 12:34 am

Try 3rd an one also. We go for the end
zone

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NickPerry's picture

September 20, 2016 at 05:26 am

You're right Al even worse, and from shotgun.

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Big Moe's picture

September 19, 2016 at 09:02 pm

4th and 1 and Eddie on the sidelines, huh??? Unleash your beast!

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mrtundra's picture

September 20, 2016 at 09:01 am

Ripkowski and Lacy on the sidelines for the 4th and 1.

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mrj007's picture

September 19, 2016 at 09:03 pm

So if they won't there next 2 games they are essentially an 8 and 8 team then (if you only look at training 16 games)? Guess I didn't realize just how far the team has fallen.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:00 am

I think change is going to come. Not saying anyone is going to get fired or anything like that.

But I think offensively they are going to be making changes soon. Listening to McCarthy yesterday he was talking about the different philosophy's.

"It's like anything in this game, you really have a decision one way or the other," McCarthy said Monday. "Do you want to play personnel formation [and match] exactly this player to this play? We played like that at one time here. We do that sometimes in situations, and there's times where we don't. We play tempo and no-huddle. So the ability to do both is important, I feel, especially over the course of the season, and the utilization of the players in both formats is important because it definitely challenges the defense."

As I said below, this sounds like to me he is realizing that his uptempo isn't working as well as it sounds on paper.
We may not see a big change this week, but I am thinking/guessing/hoping they make changes during the bye week.

Its time they start using all the players they have.

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carusotrap's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:15 am

Do we believe McCarthy will change course? That Starks was in showed deeply rooted commitment to the scheme, and even with two games of evidence that their up-tempo offense us neither up-tempo, nor an offense, the low drone of "we have to execute better" makes me think they think it all still can work.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:36 am

Listening to McCarthy yesterday, and this could just me, it felt like he was realizing that he needs to make a change.

"It's like anything in this game, you really have a decision one way or the other," McCarthy said Monday. "Do you want to play personnel formation [and match] exactly this player to this play? We played like that at one time here. We do that sometimes in situations, and there's times where we don't. We play tempo and no-huddle. So the ability to do both is important, I feel, especially over the course of the season, and the utilization of the players in both formats is important because it definitely challenges the defense."

The last sentence made me think he was realizing that he knows he needs to use more players more often.

Last year when asked about his philosophy by Wilde, I remember McCarthy being more defensive about his approach.
I think we will see some changes being made.

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lou's picture

September 20, 2016 at 11:33 am

McCarthy's comments last year were more then defensive, how many times did he say, "there is nothing wrong with the scheme", that is defiant, not defensive and indicates NO CHANGE is coming. This is another year, time will tell.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

That is kind of my point though. Last year he was more defensive and would say that players that are on the field need to execute.
Last night he said that you have to pick and choose which way you want to run the offense.

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dobber's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:46 am

If we're talking about that 4th down play, Starks was on the field for the majority of that drive. If you're going to substitute Lacy at that point, you're slowing down the tempo and tipping your hand to the defense. I understand why Starks was in there.

I take "we need to execute better" as the typical non-answer. Sheltering his locker room to a certain degree and not calling anyone out.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:01 am

Just like we need a big receiving presence in the middle, that we begrudgingly use! MM talks a good game but his actions leave a lot to be desired. I am so tired of hearing abour adjustments, obvious things we need to do better. Use all the talent we have or shut up already. He and Rodgers need to look in the mirror.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:18 am

completely agree..

Its time for them to take a hard look at themselves.

I think this uptempo and no huddle philosophy needs to be changed. I think they need to change their personnel more and use the talent they have and once they get the mismatch they want, then run the hurry up and uptempo. When you go 3 and out what good did the hurry up do?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2016 at 12:39 am

RC, thanks for translating MM's statement. I read it twice, and gleaned nothing from it. I am inclined to believe that it is a bunch of words meant to convey nothing.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 21, 2016 at 06:53 am

I'm not saying I'm right. But the way he answered the question really made me think that he has realized that they may need to alter what they have been doing.

I just remember last year Wilde asking McCarthy about this very topic and McCarthy basically said there are reasons why we do what we do and we just need to execute better.

His tone was different compared to last year.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:13 pm

Yeah they should have ran more and kicked the field goal. Rodgers preforming is no longer a given. So McCarthy is going to need to learn when to take the ball out of his hands.

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Klincker's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:20 pm

To me, it comes down to the gameplan,and when MM abandoned it. I'm sure he wanted balance, but he let the passing attack take over in the 2nd quarter. He tried to get back to running more to start the 3rd, but I think MM panicked and didnt stay with it. If he is all about being productive in the running game, and having the 1-2 punch with Lacy and Starks, he has to either stick with it, or just have Lacy be the number 1, so if Lacy gets hot, he will get the 20+ carries. And if something isnt working with Lacy, you go with Starks. But its hard to accomplish a 1-2 punch when both backs are wanting to keep any momentum they get going with, and are constantly being substituted during a drive. Hot hand? Not sure that will exist with balancing out Lacy and Starks' carries.

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L's picture

September 20, 2016 at 12:56 am

Don't forget most of the plays have built in options for Rodgers to check into or out of based on what he sees the defense setup as or what it appears to be; therefore, it's hard to known how much of the "going away from running the ball" is truly MM's fault verses A.Rodgers making adjustments he believes are best for the team offense.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 04:42 am

I agree with you, I think it is not Mike McCarthy calls. I think, because of Jordy Aaron insisted on passing game. I feel big fight between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy behind closed door. I believe Ted Thompson will have to earn money in solving this issue. Unfortunately, it is obvious that Aaron is not playing on the level we were used to. Oh, I would love to see our Aaron back. Real Aaron, fearless and precise....

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2016 at 12:50 am

At the end of the day, MM is responsible for the plays that are run. If he doesn't like the audibles, he can restrict AR's discretion. If MM can't control AR, then we are back to Mike Sherman.

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Razer's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:44 pm

I agree that we have to run the ball more and get more out of Lacy but neither he or Starks are showing much in the early going. Watching Lacy dance around in the backfield is downright painful. Maybe having these bruising power backs that need to run between the tackles, behind a line that isn't opening anything up between the tackles is the simple reality of the problem. I would have like us to keep a speed back that could effectively get to the outside and force defenses to spread out a bit. But, between the tackles it is - even if it isn't.

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Rossonero's picture

September 19, 2016 at 08:48 pm

Short answer is no. It wasn't just the Vikings game either -- Lacy disappeared for long stretches in the Jaguars game too, for no explicable reason.

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holmesmd's picture

September 19, 2016 at 11:09 pm

He has asthma & it was a 110 degrees doctor. SMH. I think the staff on the Packers knows a lot more than you do. Asking questions is fine, making assumptions about something you don't know about isn't.

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Since'61's picture

September 19, 2016 at 09:01 pm

I would agree that Lacy was not used enough last evening. The question is why? With Lacy you never know how much his asthma is a factor. I think they threw one pass to Lacy and picked up about 15 yards. The under utilization of Lacy is a symptom of the current offensive struggles which include not using Abby, Ty Montgomery and Rip. Why? Also not many throws to Jared Cook, but maybe that began to change in the 2nd half last evening. Lacy is not the only weapon that is being under used. Thanks, Since '61

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croatpackfan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 04:54 am

Yes, Since, you are completely right. there was a lot of possibilities left behind and forcing plays with no effect. I starts to wonder why did they signed Jared Cook. For playing FB position? If it is so, they made mistake. They might keep John Kuhn for less money!

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mrj007's picture

September 19, 2016 at 09:12 pm

Not using Lacy us just one of about 8 questionable decisions
1 why go long on 3rd and 1?
2 why no more middle screen and slant passes to slow down the rush?
3 why the constant confusion at pre snap?
4 why do only 3 of 7 receivers see snaps even when they fail to get open?
5 when did Rodgers Best pass become the throw out of bounds?
6 why don't they use more TE passes to open the middle?
7 why did the Packers decide to keep a punter who can't punt when it counts?
8 why can't Packers win during Nationally televised games - ever?

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 19, 2016 at 11:14 pm

"1 why go long on 3rd and 1?"

If Rodgers doesn't have his mind made BEFORE the snap -- watch that play again and take a look at Cobb....

Walk in, right? Or at the very least he's tackled inside the 5.

2. Screens would have definitely killed the Vikings at certain points of the game. There were so many times Harrison came blitzing in along with an extra LB

3. Credit that Defense. They were waiting 'til 8 seconds or so were left on the clock before showing their hand. I'm guessing that's why Rodgers didn't/couldn't audible much. That hold on Richard Rodgers was a result of the Vikings waiting to show their hand and Rodgers flipped the play right into where the Vikings blitz. They also disguised things well.
4. I'd like to know why the rotation isn't mixed up more, but separation wasn't a problem
5. I initially had an Lol here, but then it hit me.....
6. Keyword is "more". I agree. Good question. Even short curls/hooks would help. Take those easy 4-5-6 yards.
7. Good question
8. Does the Super Bowl count?

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croatpackfan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 05:04 am

Drealyn, no 3. The problem is on Aaron side again. They are waiting even longer - they are waiting till 5 seconds before snap. Why? Because Aaron Rodgers always snaps (last 2 years) at 01-02 seconds left on the play clock. Check, and you'll find I'm correct. That allows opponent D to disguise their hands to very late before snap. Why Aaron always snaps that late? Because he is trying to get "free play" on every snap. He is affraid to toss the ball downfield, because it may be intercepted. He became obsessive not to throw interception. If I'm Mike McCarthy I will forbid him to go beyond 10 sec left on play clock. If he will do it 2 in the row, I will pull out him from the game...
So, we will see more and more opponents DC to disguise their D hands because they know Aaron will snap the ball at 01 - 02 seconds left on play clock!

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 20, 2016 at 04:53 pm

@Croat

I agree that Rodgers looks for the "free play" often, but I don't believe that's why he waits so long to snap the ball. I believe he's reading the Defense and trying to find the best way to attack it. Especially vs a Defense that disguises and blitz as well as the Vikings do. Rodgers doesn't always wait 'til the last second or 2. There were many times he snapped the ball w/10+ seconds left. You also have to take into account when the plays are actually getting called in. I've seen plays where WRs are just getting in their stance with 11 or so seconds remaining on the clock.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:14 am

'4 why do only 3 of 7 receivers see snaps even when they fail to get open?'

This to me is one of the biggest fundamental problems with the offense. This is a philosophy change that needs to be made. In 2 games they have used 3 WR sets in 95 out of 123 offensive snaps. Which is 77% of the offensive plays.

While Nelson and Cobb need to be on the field the most and get the most snaps, Adams shouldn't have 50+ snaps more then the next WR's. In the last game alone Adams had 55 snaps. Abbrederis had 6, Davis had 5 and Montgomery had 0. In 2 games Abbrederis has 20 snaps, Davis has 5 and Montgomery has 11.

I think its time McCarthy does some soul searching and takes a hard look at what their philosophy is. Cuz I think right now they are not using the talent they have on offense enough.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 05:05 am

Where is my answer from you regarding your injury predictions?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 20, 2016 at 12:08 am

Lacy isn't 230 pounds. Lacy is a better receiver than Starks, and it is not close.

Lacy was underutilized, but we don't know if there was a reason for it. Normally, I'd give the coach the benefit of the doubt that there is a good reason, but MM no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt.

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fastmoving's picture

September 20, 2016 at 01:58 am

starks is by far the better receiver. better hands, more burst, better vision. showed it a lot.......
unfortunately not in the last 2 games.

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tbohms's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:16 am

He is the better receiver, without question, but does he give them a big play threat like Lacy? If they were down 20+ points I understand putting Starks in the game and passing every down. In this situation, it seemed to hurt them by taking a major offensive threat out of the game.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

September 20, 2016 at 03:18 pm

What do you base this on? If you look at Starks ans Lacy's stats on NFL.com you'll see that since 2013, Lacy's stats are better than Starks in almost every category. Last year Starks put up better numbers, but if you compare Starks' best year to Lacy's, Lacy has more receptions, better average per rec. more t.d.'s etc. so one could conclude that based on easily available stats, Lacy is clearly a better receiver.

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Hematite's picture

September 20, 2016 at 05:55 am

Poor coaching, poor decision making.
McCarthy is becoming a liability.

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daveh's picture

September 20, 2016 at 06:04 am

WHO GOES? MCCARTHY OR RODGERS. I' ll iterate what I said last year, the Packers will not go to the Super Bowl with Mc Carthy..just my opinion

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Donster's picture

September 20, 2016 at 06:50 am

I say no they don't play Lacy enough. When he gets going, TT pulls him. He can't get into a rhythm. Now is this because he is to fat? Or his issue with asthma? Possibly. But I think it is MM. Because he wants to throw the ball all the time. You need some balance. You need to keep the offense on the field as long as possible. Passing doesn't eat up as much time. Defense gets tired. And the back end of this defense isn't what it is cracked up to be. No speed. Which is what you need nowadays.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 06:55 am

'Are the Packers Using Eddie Lacy Enough?'

I argue that they haven't used all of their offensive players enough.

McCarthy was asked about this yesterday. This is a good article to read by Rob Demovsky. http://www.espn.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/33509/mike-mccarthy...

I think McCarthy and Rodgers are so focused on being up tempo that they are limiting their offense. I get their philosophy in that they want to keep the same players on the field to force defenses to stay on the field so they can't substitute.

I think its limiting them offensively. What we have talked about all off season was that the Packers have a really strong group of WR's, and how versatile they are. That they may keep 7 WR's (which they did). If they are strong enough to keep 7 WR's and in the last game they had 7 active, why did Abbrederis, Montgomery and Davis get 11 snaps total? Also Adams played 55 snaps on offense on Sunday. While he maybe our 3rd best WR, is he that much better then the other 3 WR's that he deserves 50 snaps more then the next WR's?

McCarthy talked yesterday about his offensive philosophy. "It's like anything in this game, you really have a decision one way or the other," McCarthy said Monday. "Do you want to play personnel formation [and match] exactly this player to this play? We played like that at one time here. We do that sometimes in situations, and there's times where we don't. We play tempo and no-huddle. So the ability to do both is important, I feel, especially over the course of the season, and the utilization of the players in both formats is important because it definitely challenges the defense."

Well McCarthy, this philosophy needs to change back to how it used to be. The current philosophy has not worked the way it was hoped to work over the last year. This up tempo that you keep talking about is great and all on paper, but it hasn't worked out as well as you hoped. Also is it really up tempo when your QB routinely waits till 1-2 seconds left on the clock to snap the ball?
How about changing the personnel and formations more to find mismatches? I'm not say change personnel every play especially if you have a couple of bigger gains. Once you find the mismatch, then go up tempo.
We have 7 WR's, 2 TE's, 2 RB, and 1 FB. Its time to use everyone.

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DukeDivine's picture

September 20, 2016 at 07:45 am

No they don't! And I think its Rodgers audibling out of many runs just like the 3rd and 2 before the 4th down that had a run play called and he went with a low percentage fade instead. Killed that drive. They need to Lean on Lacy. Stop the stupid rigid rotation at RB. Use them situationally rather than the Lacy this series, Starks the next, and then Cobb. I don't care whose turn it is in the rotation, when it's short yardage #27 should be in the game. Its baffling how they are so stubborn with the "this is how we do things and how we will continue to do things" why? Its not working!

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:07 am

'Stop the stupid rigid rotation at RB. Use them situationally rather than the Lacy this series, Starks the next, and then Cobb. I don't care whose turn it is in the rotation, when it's short yardage #27 should be in the game. Its baffling how they are so stubborn with the "this is how we do things and how we will continue to do things" why? Its not working!'

That to me is apart the philosophy change that needs to happen. This uptempo philosophy is limiting themselves. It doesn't always put the players in the best situation and uses them to their strengths. The uptempo and hurry up works when you have a mismatch on offense.

I'm not a big fan of running Lacy one series Starks the next. I think they would be better if they were used together on the same series mix them in together.

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al bundy's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:37 am

Please this is the genius of Mike. No one will ever figure this one out. And we have a full back why?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2016 at 01:01 am

TT decided to move on from Kuhn. My guess is that Ripkowski isn't ready to play. We will probably see more of Rip later in the year. MM actually likes to use a fullback: as soon as he regained the playcalling, Kuhn's snaps skyrocketed last year.

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DukeDivine's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:57 am

And no, Eddie subbing in on short yardage is not tipping your hand! Look at the defense get sucked in just with the threat of Lacy on that play action TD to Nelson.

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stockholder's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:05 am

I don't care what Lacy Does. He's not a west Coast running back. We won the super-bowls with the west Coast attack. Not let Lacy run over everybody. Eddie should be a change of pace. Nothing more. Oh how this team needs Edgar Bennet and Dorsey Levens. I would even settle for Ahmad Green right now. Lacy and starks need to start catching some short passes. Problem is their to slow now to break away.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2016 at 01:14 am

You'd settle for Ahman (not Admad) Green? Really?

Yeah, those RBs with great speed and power who run for 1883 yards (5.3 yd. average) and tack on 50 receptions for another 367 yds for a total of 2250 yards from scrimmage in one season might be an upgrade over most RBs.

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zerotolerance's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:25 am

Adams is a poor perimeter WR (bad hands especially) who sees the field I (and others) think due to his draft status. Case - even though there was a PI flag he should have caught that pass for a TD. Right off his hands (again). Try Janis or Davis at the outside opposite Nelson. Montgomery should also see more time, sometime paired with Cobb. That would change things up a bit.

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al bundy's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:36 am

No can do, Mike doesnt ever want to make teds high picks look bad. I agree janis can run down the sideline too and drop balls so whats the thrill with Adams other than he is a high pick and will play over lesser picks???
He sucked in pre season, and last year but he still has that starting role.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:44 am

Adams was gaining a quite a bit of separation and had good plays in the game. That pass he dove for was a very tough catch especially when being interfered with. I give him a break for that.

I think Adams is playing better then what most people want to give him credit for.
That being said I don't feel he has earned the right to play that much more then the next WR's.

I think the offense will be running at its best when it starts using all the weapons and players it has.

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al bundy's picture

September 20, 2016 at 08:33 am

Maybe its me but it looks like Lacys first step got slower. He is getting hit more behind the line then ever and is forced to run wide versus through the line straight ahead. It aint working that well.
Also, he is still over weight and that effects the ashma a lot.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 20, 2016 at 09:05 am

At this moment, I cannot help but sense that Rodgers is checking out of too many plays unnecessarily either via a desire to rebuild a somewhat broken ego or he is still spooked from what scared him last season.
On another note, I also sense that no matter who was playing on this offense, the play calling and checking out would result in the same predictable, repetitive and easily defended offense witnessed for coming on a seasons total of games.
The awaited Lacy show for many will not come until the passing game and play calling issues, McCarthy and Rodgers, become mentally sound.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 20, 2016 at 09:22 am

Lots of talk about how we are not using Lacy enough, not using Cook enough, not using WR 4-7 much at all. There are only so many balls to go around and with the short series before a (lackluster) punt, not everyone gets a shot. The only reason we might statistically have a lot of plays is because the D was forcing the punts as well. Few sustained drives, the longer ones sustained through PI, and no offensive rhythm means crummy individual performance/stats and less chances for everyone.

Then again, crummy individual performances could be causal to the few sustained drives and no offensive rhythm.

I don't know...I just know that I don't like it. At all.

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Allan Murphy's picture

September 20, 2016 at 09:21 pm

Packers bring in RB C.J Spiller for work out today what's up with that ?????

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L's picture

September 21, 2016 at 07:51 am

Eddie needs to be the "man" at RB. Starks needs to take a backseat and become a true handcuff by only coming in if Eddie gets winded or injured. I don't mind seeing R.Cobb sprinkled in here and there occasionally by lining him up in the backfield and wouldn't mind seeing T.Montgomery in a similar role too, but Lacy needs to see about 18 touches a game IMO.

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