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Cory's Corner: Eddie Lacy holds offense together

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Cory's Corner: Eddie Lacy holds offense together

After what happened in the first half of Green Bay's 34-27 win over Detroit on Sunday, everyone wants to know if the Packers offense is back. 

(Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ended the suspense and told his right guard T.J. Lang following one of his four touchdowns in the first half that he was in fact back).

I need a little more evidence than that. And the place I look is at running back because that’s the position that is going to provide the most offensive balance and take some pressure off of Rodgers in the process.

To say that Eddie Lacy had a good afternoon doesn’t really do him justice. He ran mean and hard and was the beneficiary of an offensive line that looked keyed up to run block since the Packers only had 48 rushing attempts heading into Sunday’s game.

Yes, Lacy’s 103 yards on 17 carries were impressive. But his yards after contact were even more imposing. And remember, the Packers only gave it to him six times in the first half. He lost a carry to, of all people, receiver Ty Montgomery.

With many key pieces out on the Detroit defense, this was a game that Lacy could’ve turned into the steam train that he is by practically daring people to tackle him. Midway through the third quarter, he carried the ball four straight times for 30 yards.

Lacy looks great right now. The problem is, he’s a grinder that needs time to wear down a defense. If head coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers are feeling a little impatient, it’s a lot easier for them to just dial up a pass and let Rodgers spin it all over the field.

Lacy is the snowplow in Packers’ garage after a blizzard, but they opt to shovel instead.

Something can be said about maintaining Lacy’s health, and I don’t condone giving it to him over 20 times a game, but he needs to be involved throughout the game.

Maybe it’s too easy to forget a guy like Lacy when you’ve got guys like Jordy Nelson making acrobatic sideline grabs, Davante Adams shaking his defender and even Richard Rodgers hauling it in for the touchdown before hitting the ground.

Lacy is the anti Rodgers. He isn’t surgical precise and Lacy doesn’t have a nervous tick about perfection.

And that’s why he’s perfect for this team. Now that Josh Sitton is no longer around, the Packers need Lacy to be the junkyard dog by running people over and providing juice in the huddle with each menacing stiff arm.

Even after the Packers attempted 24 rushes, which included five by Rodgers, their 24 carries a game is still under the league average, which sits at 25.78. The Packers are behind the Browns, which is interesting, because they’re 0-3 and cannot get out of their own way.

So is the Packers offense back? Only if Lacy has a front row seat.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (41) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

Give Lacy the ball 17 plus times a game and good things happen. It's been that was since the Packers drafted him, and it's especially true the last 2 plus seasons. It's not rocket science though sometimes I wonder, but the Packers are just a better Offense when Lacy is involved. Period.

Did anyone watch the Falcons/Saints game last night? Or even watching Riddick this past weekend. I would KILL for a 5'10" 210 pound RB who's both fast and quick who can catch. I know Thompson loves those large prodding RB but he had the right idea when he drafted Franklin. Would love J.Franklin right now. Or anyone like him.

RCPackerFan's picture

Completely agree.

I really would have loved to have seen what our offense would have have been like with Lacy and Franklin combo.
After Franklin's career ended prematurely, I was hoping Thompson would have drafted a RB with speed and shiftiness to replace him. And he hasn't. That is one thing that is missing from our offense. A RB that can change direction quick and also can expose defenders in the passing game.

That's why in all honesty I would have been happy if they would have brought in Spiller. He could have provided those types of things to the offense. He could have provided some of those qualities that is lacking.

Which also brings up another question. Where is Starks? He hasn't received a lot of carries yet so he maybe will get better if he gets more. But so far he has 12 rushes for 9 yards. That is .75 yards per carry. So I don't blame the coaches for not giving him more carries.

mnklitzke's picture

Starks looks old and slow. Only person that loses snaps when starks is in is lacy cause they are not going to take snaps from Rodgers. We are way over paying starks right now... Also don't like the game of no 3rb on the team...

RCPackerFan's picture

Starks hasn't looked very good early in the season. That is for sure.

mnklitzke's picture

I wish MM would just give Lacy 17-23 touches a game. That is what he needs to keep it going. As much as I hate to say it I think this is the last year of Lacy as they will draft a young RB that MM doesn't think is over weight. Also hate it when MM takes Lacy out for multiple series in favor of Starks, who looks old and slow.

fastmoving's picture

dont know if starks looks slow, but what I do know is that he isnt slow at all. especially compared to lacy.
edie had a good game against a not so good D and lets face it with 3 carries a game its not easy to get any kind of rhythem. but starks time will come and he always looked good when getting a real opportunity.

Handsback's picture

Freeman is a very stout RB. Not sure why the Falcons played Colemen as much as they do, but finding those guys aren't easy to do. I thought Burk at 5-9 and 205 could be that guy for the Packers. His blocking was superb and seemed to have a good game speed.
One thing for sure is TT hasn't seen that Franklin replacement yet.

RCPackerFan's picture

Coleman has a lot of speed and he is an emerging player.

I honestly am kind of surprised at what the Packers have done with the RB position. They kept Burks on the 53, claimed Pressley. Kept him for a week then cut him, and haven't brought in another RB.

Each draft i have been hoping they would have found Franklin's replacement. So far. they haven't.

Colin_C's picture

This year's draft should break the stalemate. Fournette, Cook, McCaffrey, Chubb, Freeman, Perine, and Hood are all prospects to watch. I know TT's love for Pac 12 guys, so I'd put my money on us drafting Freeman or McCaffrey if they're available. Both are absolute playmakers.

RCPackerFan's picture

Very good point. This year should be loaded at the RB position.

If they do resign Lacy the guy who I would love to see them get is McCaffrey. He would be a perfect compliment to Lacy. He would add a whole new dimension to the offense.

Also Thompson really likes his Stanford guys. Definitely a guy to watch.

Colin_C's picture

I agree that McCaffrey won't be there at 32, but Freeman might. Check out his tape. He's big, but has the feet of a gazelle. Taking a CB wouldn't surprise me either. Getting Desmond King would be a dream, but he'll probably go higher. Keep an on two Pac 12 guys. UCLA's Fabian Moreau, and Washington's Sidney Jones.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I'm assuming he will be gone by 32 as well... But you never know either... Just saying I would love to see them get him.

I agree too they will likely be able to find good RB's later. I just think McCaffrey could be great with the Packers offense. And the top of the RB class is loaded.

I agree about CB... Shields future concerns me.

RCPackerFan's picture

One stat I heard yesterday which surprised me. This is Lacy's 4th year in the NFL. Sunday's game was the first time Lacy had ran for more then 100 yards in the month of September.
12 regular season games in September and this was the first time he rushed for over 100 yards.

One of the keys to keeping the offense on track is keeping it balanced.

Is the offense back? Not completely, but its on its way.

Hematite's picture

Lacy needs to get the ball more period.
Starks needs to stay on the bench.
Putting Cobb or Montgomery in the backfield is a bad joke.
Only Lacy can put fear in the opposing defense and for some reason McCarthy makes him disappear far too often.
Feed that beast Mike!

stockholder's picture

No the packers offense is not back. The more the packers try to throw long, the bigger the chance is they'll lose. Doesn't matter how much separation Adams gets, he's still the worse WR in the league. A-rod has to throw short. Lacy was used for a change of pace, and take the time off the clock. AS much as I liked his power running, he's to slow. Lacy should be gone by the end of the year. But in the meantime, it's just a matter of time before he's on the IR again. Especially if they expect him to carry this team. The detroit Lions defense is a far cry from the Vikings and Panthers etc. . Lacy shows to much fatigue against a premier defense. The only thing that is going to hold this offense together is A-Rod. The speed in the backfield is to slow. I would expand Montgomery's role. Keep improving their West Coast Offense. This game showed 1 big issue. A-rod has to get the completions in the short game.

Colin_C's picture

Adams is the worst receiver in the nfl? I think the Packers coaching staff would disagree.

stockholder's picture

colin- I Said league. But I do believe he has the worse yds. per catch in the NFL. It's unfortunate they picked him.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Wut? Worst in the league is the same thing as the worst in the NFL. There is no difference.

Colin_C's picture

League and NFL are the same thing. While he hasn't lived up to second round pick status yet, you really could do much worse. Adams possibly still has a lot of upside. Wait more than two years before writing someone off.

L's picture

@Hematite - I agree E.Lacy needs to get the ball more and J.Starks needs to stay on the bench (should only see the field when E.Lacy is gassed or banged up), but I have no problem with R.Cobb and T.Montgomery lining up in the backfield; in fact, I'd like to see the team experiment with creativity in using a split-back formation out of their 00, 01, 10, 11, and 12 personnel packages.

Can you imagine the options and confusions the offense may present a defense when you have E.Lacy in the backfield of a pro-set or a shotgun formation along with either T.Montgomery or R.Cobb (aka the 10, 11, or 12 personnel packages)? Hell, even a shotgun formation with both R.Cobb and T.Montgomery as the potential split-backs (aka the 00 or 01 personnel packages) -- there'd be nothing wrong with making the check down pass when your check-down is a true play-maker in space. A.Rodgers could even run some pre-snap motions with R.Cobb/T.Montgomery into-or-out-of the backfield to better read and analyze the defense in order to determine how best to attack it.

L's picture

My previous response was meant to be a response to Hematite, but for whatever reason the site has attached it to
stockholder's comment. Weird.

Savage57's picture

"Now that Josh Sitton is no longer around, the Packers need Lacy to be the junkyard dog"

The issue I have with this statement is the players tough-guy Sitton fronted up were DB's. Not real impressive.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

¨The issue I have with this statement is the players tough-guy Sitton fronted up were DB's. Not real impressive.¨

What in the world does this mean?

staffordsneckfat's picture

I 100% agree with the notion that a player like Lacy wears down defenses and gets better as the game goes on, but some of this effectiveness hinges on his conditioning. He may have lost weight in the offseason but I still doubt he could handle 25-30 carries a game.

The people piling on James Starks leave me scratching my head though. The guy has just 12 carries this year.

Then again, there were some on this site calling for the Packers to cut Rodgers last week, so nothing should surprise me.

L's picture

Yes, J.Starks has only 12 carries (and 4 receiving targets), but he's still been on the field for 60 snaps (31.75% of the total offensive snaps) which is IMO way too much. I'd much rather see E.Lacy receive a greater share of the offensive snaps (around or above 65% verses the 57.67% he's currently at) as well as see R.Cobb and T.Montgomery get more opportunities to play out of the backfield.

staffordsneckfat's picture

In a perfect world I'd like to see Lacy on the field 100% of the time. I agree, he is a better back. But he just hasn't shown the ability to stay on the field, be it due to injury or conditioning, for 16 games.

Carries over the last 3 years:
2013: 284
2014: 246
2015: 187

Using last year's total number of carries (and assuming their just as likely to run with Lacy/Starks on the field), if he got 65% that would be around 280 carries.

Do you think Lacy has another 280 carry year in him?

RCPackerFan's picture

12 carries for 9 yards... A long of 5. So on 11 carries he has 4 yards... That is ridiculously bad.

It may not be fair to him since he only has 12 carries. But those 12 carries have been bad.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Starks is fine as the back up RB. He is a one cut slashing type who needs a hole. He's had these type of stats in the past.

staffordsneckfat's picture

RC,

You're a great contributor and I enjoy most of your veiw points.

One of my least favorite football arguments is when someone tries to use strict data to make a point while arbitrarily throwing out the outlier that may work against it.

You can't pick and choose which carries count and which do not.

Lets see him build a reasonable sample size and reconvene later.

Since '61's picture

To me it seems that Lacy plays much better at home, like the rest of the offense. Maybe it's the surface, the crowd, or a combination of factors. The key for Lacy is to get to the LOS with a head of steam and once he does he is difficult to bring down and delivers punishing blows to the second and third level of the defense. Problem is that he is not a breakaway back and his asthma. I believe his asthma is why he disappears from games for stretches at a time. Nick Perry made the best point in his post by mentioning Jonathan Franklin. He could have been the difference maker in our ground game. He had the speed and elusiveness you need in a change of pace back. It's been 4 seasons and TT has not found a replacement yet because it's hard to find those players. It's the only missing piece to our offense. Without that piece opposing DCs plan to stop Lacy in the run game and don't worry about Starks, Cobb or Montgomery carrying the ball. Lacy is a good back but really our only RB. We need the other head to our 2 headed monster. Go Pack Go ! Thanks, Since '61

mnklitzke's picture

Reason why he never had a 100yd game is MM didn't feed him the ball. Per packershistory.net 2014 Lacy did the following; 12t-34yds,13t-43yds, 11t-36yds, 17t 48yds. Only once neared 20 touches. In 2015 Lacy went 19t-85yds, 3t-19yds (injury), 10t-46yds. Again only once had almost 20touches. 2013 in his rookie year played 2 games and had 15 touches for 51yds.

kubyskins2132's picture

I'm not going to say the offense is back yet but I liked what I saw especially in the first half. the packers actually ran some slants for once and Rodgers finally got back to what made him such a great QB throughout his career and was throwing quick passes and throwing in rhythm of the offense and taking what the D gave him and letting his receivers make people miss and and do the work. U don't have to throw it 20 yards to get big play, u can throw quick passes and let your receivers run after catch and still get big plays and packers got back to that instead holding onto the ball and scrambling around and trying to make big play with backyard football, quick passes take what the D gives u and once in while u get those scramble plays and they work better when done a few times a game instead every play. Also like how McCarthy was mixing up personnel and giving D different looks and doing some things with formations to allow receivers to get mismatches and free releases to get open. Would like to see more I formation with Rodgers under center and rip lead blocking for lacy on runs. I think he's more productive when running with fullback so would like see a little more of that with some playaction passes coming out that formation too.

kubyskins2132's picture

I'm not going to say the offense is back yet but I liked what I saw especially in the first half. the packers actually ran some slants for once and Rodgers finally got back to what made him such a great QB throughout his career and was throwing quick passes and throwing in rhythm of the offense and taking what the D gave him and letting his receivers make people miss and and do the work. U don't have to throw it 20 yards to get big play, u can throw quick passes and let your receivers run after catch and still get big plays and packers got back to that instead holding onto the ball and scrambling around and trying to make big play with backyard football, quick passes take what the D gives u and once in while u get those scramble plays and they work better when done a few times a game instead every play. Also like how McCarthy was mixing up personnel and giving D different looks and doing some things with formations to allow receivers to get mismatches and free releases to get open. Would like to see more I formation with Rodgers under center and rip lead blocking for lacy on runs. I think he's more productive when running with fullback so would like see a little more of that with some playaction passes coming out that formation too.

Donster's picture

I agree that we another RB. A speedy, quick back that can run wide. Catch the ball out of the backfield. Lacy can't get outside. Neither can Starks. That is why I thought the Presley kid might be able to do that.

L's picture

How about using T.Montgomery and R.Cobb more in that role? R.Cobb is fairly speedy (quicker than both E.Lacy and J.Starks) with good elusiveness and he's obviously got the ability to be a fantastic pass-catcher out of the backfield. T.Montgomery isn't as speedy as R.Cobb, but he's still quick and he provides more size/strength. Personally, I think T.Montgomery would be a fantastic option as a potential 3rd-down back, but he'd likely need to work on his pass-blocking before being trusted with such a role.

MarkinMadison's picture

I guess I'm a contrarian. Last week people were ready to fire the head coach and call #12 over the hill and I was saying, 'they've been too good in the past not to fix this.' This week I'm saying it ain't fixed yet, and Eddie Lacy ain't the solution.

(1) This wasn't your older brother's Lions D - this was a banged up Lions D. Let's save the champagne.

(2) Unlike most everyone else I was happy to see MM run the ball more in the second half because I thought our banged up D was starting to get gassed. I guess you could have played "track meet" but do you really want to count on big plays the whole game when Jordy is less than 100% and everyone else is inconsistent? I don't think you do.

(3) In the second half Lacy had those four solid runs of 6+ yards in a row and then production started to decline. He had four plays the rest of the way that went for more than 2 yards, two that went for more than 4 yards. Put differently, he had two positive plays, two draws, and the rest went for little, no or negative yardage. When the Packers needed a six or eight minute drive they were getting drives of 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes. Whether its Lacy's conditioning, the line, or some combination of the two, this is not a stuff-it-down-your-throat offense.

(4) If you believe in #12, if you believe that this is a deep group of receivers, if you believe that the OL/Lacy combo is not capable of winning you a championship, if you believe you have limited options at full-back and TE (note: right now Cook and Ripkowski are injured) then it is probably time to dust off the four and five WR sets and see if they are as good as you think they are. If you fail at least you see which WRs are worth keeping. That's how I see it.

EdsLaces's picture

We need balance. We need to run on 1st down. We need to stop with the gadget wr in the backfield crap it doesn't work very often. Eddie is a running back ...run him.

RCPackerFan's picture

I like the WR's in the backfield more to use in the Passing game then the running game. I would rather see them run routes then to see them actually run the ball.

That is why I wouldn't have been against them signing Spiller. He would provide a more threat to run, and receive.

L's picture

Spiller is washed-up, but I'd love to see the Packers experiment with T.Montgomery as a 3rd down back; though, he'd need to work on his pass-blocking and blitz recognition in playing from out of the backfield.

EdsLaces's picture

Yes I agree. If they are gonna do it let it at least be for a pass or reverse even. If I have to watch Cobb run the ball like a rb one more time I dunno if my heart can take it....I would have liked to seen Spiller in there as well.

Dancing Eddy's picture

The packers run game looks different than most other teams. Holes are not large and clean very often, and Lacy seems to get there late many times.
I do not know why.it is what I see. Of course Lacy can often break initial contact, but this does not allow quick breakaway. Because of this we very often are chasing the chains instead of ahead of them. Makes for nervous football. We need team speed as alternative. Lacy needs to run straight, his moves and fakes do not fool anyone. That it's for the speed guys.

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