Lacy Focused on 2016 Season

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy already appears more dedicated to the 2016 football season than Madden '16, and that's a good thing as far as the Packers and their fans are concerned.  Lacy had a rough 2015 season, following two-straight years prior when he rushed for over 1,000 yards each.  Lacy entered 2015 looking pleasantly plump and was hampered by an early-season ankle injury that led to a disappointing year.  In addition to the weight issues, Lacy had a metal lapse in the middle of the season that led to his being benched for a portion of a game.  He had everyone scratching their heads and wondering how a running back who was nearing his chance at a new contract and a big payday could allow himself to show the way he did.

During the divisional playoff game at Arizona, Lacy broke through and was on his way to the end zone when he was easily caught from behind before reaching the end zone.  It was the epitome of Lacy's season and following that loss to the Cardinals, Packers head coach said that Lacy would not be playing at the same weight he did in 2015.  From the looks of things, Lacy got that memo.  A picture of Lacy emerged on Twitter earlier this week (it was quickly removed but not before being shared by many) following one of his P90X workout sessions.  Here's the photo, courtesy of ESPN Milwaukee Packers beat writer Jason Wilde's Twitter account:

 

Lacy has been working towards getting in better football shape and is either dedicated to being the back that the Packers need him to be again or playing his way into a lucrative new contract after 2016.  Maybe it's both.  Either way, the Packers should be getting a better version of Lacy and that bodes well for the offense this coming season.  A motivated and toned up Lacy along with the return of receiver Jordy Nelson should have the Packers offense humming once again.  

Depending on what the Packers decide to do for depth at the running back position will also impact Lacy's 2016 season.  They can look to bring back James Starks, who has proven to be an able complement to Lacy over the past three seasons.  Starks did have an issue with ball security and lost the rock in four-straight games late during the past season.  That is unacceptable and may be a factor in Green Bay's strategy to address the position.  Starks also just turned 30 years old, which for a running back is typically when they see their greatest decline.  That said, there are exceptions.  Adrian Peterson is almost too much of an anomaly to mention, as he has kept in phenomenal physical shape and appears to be headed towards a few more very productive years post 30.  But take a guy like Matt Forte.  We've discussed the free agent-to-be a few times around here as a possible target of the Packers in free agency.  Reports emerged last week that Forte's market could be in the neighborhood of $3 million per year.  At that rate, the Packers should be kicking some serious tires, if you ask me. 

Adding a back like Forte would allow the Packers to rest Lacy enough to keep him fresh to keep pounding away into the fourth quarter when defenses are more gassed.  Lacy can also catch the ball out of the backfield and that can't be forgotten.  Any increase in shiftiness or speed would be a huge boost to the short passing game.  Green Bay could also look to add a back via the draft and infuse some youth to the position.  And let's not forget the contributions of Randall Cobb and a healthy Ty Montgomery from behind the line of scrimmage.  As much as I hate seeing Cobb take a hand off, he's a viable option that defenses have to account for.

The Packers also made a statement about their disappointment in the running game by firing running backs coach Sam Gash and hiring Ben Sirmans.  Sirmans immediately spoke about the state of the running backs and described Lacy as "hungry", an interesting choice of words for the new coach.  Sirmans will surely be tasked with keeping Lacy away from the pizza buffet and closer to the salad bar and perhaps the change in leadership will give Lacy a fresh perspective and outlook on his offseason prep.

With all of the recent changes the Packers have made and have yet to make at running back, they should have a top-notch Eddie Lacy to build around.  Lacy may be smaller, but look for him and the Packers offense to take big steps forward in 2016.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (34)

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croatpackfan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 05:13 am

Jason, nice overview. But why nobody pay attention to John Crockett. Do you consider him as not good enough for NFL, or you think he needs more time to be ready or what? He was signed as change pace RB possibility. Now it seems as nobody cares about him. Like he is non existent. I don't get it...
P. S. same when you are writing about TE, nobody mentioning Mitchell Henry, PS member who was taken by Broncos from Packers at the beggining of the last season and in the moment they released him (they needed roster space!) Packers jumped back to sign him on PS... There were some nice players on Packers PS. Why we forget about them!

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

March 04, 2016 at 06:24 am

roles players only, if that.

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RCPackerFan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:18 am

I like Crockett. I think he could be our #2 next year. I just really don't want to go in with just him. I would like to see them bring in more at the position. I would like to bring in more competition and let them battle it out.

Same goes with Henry. I think both Henry and Backman could take steps next year and could possibly be guys that could help us next year. For me though, I would rather not just go in with them, and find an upgrade.

Something to remember with Henry too, is that he was brought with on some road games with the team. They take 2 PS players to road games because they earned it. Henry was one that earned it.

While I like them, I don't want to settle with going with them especially incase they don't take a step.

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dobber's picture

March 04, 2016 at 08:09 am

There are RB who are productive regardless of scheme and there are RBs who are productive due to scheme (or quality of OL). I suspect that Crockett could be a productive scheme RB...albeit in a limited sample of carries. He seems to run hard (like Starks) and has similar measurables to Starks, but I suspect he isn't as fast. I think, with a full year and 2 training camps under his belt, he could be that #2 back.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:34 pm

RC, Agree. Please call MM and TT and tell them to sign a FA TE to to make sure we don't go, into season depending on someone step up!!!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 04, 2016 at 09:10 am

I like Crockett pretty well, but he is not a change of pace RB. At least the change is not large enough for my taste. Concerned that Crockett couldn't get on the field last season.

I really like Mitchell Henry. I like Henry better than Backman and better than Perillo long-term.

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jasonperone's picture

March 05, 2016 at 08:23 pm

For me personally, it's more about not being very confident that Starks is back. Crockett is a given next season but he's unproven and we don't know how much he'll be involved. So that leads me to wonder how they'd add another back who will need to contribute and play a decent role. They're not likely to take a RB very early in the draft so it's not realistic to expect a 4-7 round guy to do that. Would seem FA is a real option....but as we know, with Ted, that could end quickly with the re signing of Starks. Your guess is as good as mine and we'll know in less than a week.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

March 04, 2016 at 06:43 am

Wow to me it looks as if he lost a ton of weight, at least he is at it hard.

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Evan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:12 am

Bet the over on Lacy for 2016. Dude will have a monster year.

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RCPackerFan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:19 am

especially being a contract year.

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NickPerry's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:13 am

I've always thought if Eddie Lacy did the same thing Le'Veon Bell did he'd be one of the best RB in the NFL. Bell came in around 240 pounds as a rookie and played at that weight in 2013. In 2014 he reported to TC at 225 and he was much quicker and faster than the year before. He also mentioned he didn't get as tired at the end of games but at 225 was still a load.

Obviously Lacy and Bell are built differently but if Lacy could come to camp around 225 or 230 pounds, the Packers would have one of the best RB's in the NFL. Last season it seemed after any run of 10 yards or more Lacy was raising his hand to come out, at 225 he could just stay in and keep spinning and pounding defenses. Keep it up Eddie!!

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dobber's picture

March 04, 2016 at 08:13 am

It depends on style, too. Lacy isn't all that elusive in the open field...has good feet, but relies on power to break tackles and the spin to help slip away from some defenders. I think he's got to play at 235 or 240 in order to keep playing the way he's used to playing.

When people are saying he was playing at 260+ this year, it brings back memories of Christian Okoye running over defenders. He was all power and didn't have much footspeed, so it worked for him. It's clear that it doesn't work for Lacy. I still remember that colossal hit where Steve Atwater stood Okoye up and knocked him backward. THAT'S football...

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Beep's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:14 am

Glad to hear he's supposedly putting in the work now, but are people really getting excited that Lacy sucked in his gut for a photo with a trainer? I'll get excited when he shows up to camp ready to play and actually runs for 1600 yards next year.

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Evan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:22 am

As for Starks' age...everyone keeps saying "30 is old for a running back."

It's really not so cut and dry, imo.

His 30 years old is not the same as AP's or any other primary back. It's not age in a vacuum, but number of carries, to me, that really makes the difference. There is a huge difference between 250-300 carries a year (as a lead back gets) versus the 90 carries a year or so that Starks has averaged. I don't think there is any reason he couldn't continue to be a solid complementary back for several more years.

You don't just look at the age of a car, the mileage is what's important.

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RCPackerFan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:30 am

exactly right...

So that being said, who would you rather see the Packers bring in. James Starks or Matt Forte? Roughly the same age.

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Evan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:42 am

If price were the same (which it obviously won't be), Forte is clearly the superior back. But when you factor in price and his familiarity with the offense, I'd pick Starks.

I wouldn't want to pay Forte what he'll likely command just to be a #2 back. There are enough teams out there (New England, Cleveland) who have a bigger need and will pay him accordingly.

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RCPackerFan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 08:28 am

Yeah, not factoring in price I think Forte even though he has more miles is the better RB. His receiving ability is superior to Starks. I would definitely go with Forte over Starks.

But when you factor in money, Starks would be the cheaper option.

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dobber's picture

March 04, 2016 at 08:52 am

It would be much more cost-effective if Lacy would fix his issues and they wouldn't NEED Matt Forte...

You're not signing Forte to be the #2, you're signing him to be 1b (with Lacy being 1a).

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WKUPackFan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 11:15 am

The bummer is Forte comes across in interviews as being intelligent and likeable. Unfortunately $3 million is just too much.

Forte has grossed $34.1 million (via spotrac) in his career. He might be willing to take a little less to play with a GB or NE.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 04, 2016 at 05:12 pm

Absolutely. Miles are critical, which while I like what Forte brings in the passing game as well as running, he has a ton of miles and he may not be what we think he us anymore. Starks we know.

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Since'61's picture

March 04, 2016 at 08:54 am

Good to see that Lacy is off to a good start with his weight management efforts. Of course he has plenty of time to put weight back on by the time we get to training camp. I would still like to see the Packers sign Forte and draft an RB. That would send a message to Lacy and other team members very effectively to get in shape and get serious. Thanks, Since '61

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WKUPackFan's picture

March 04, 2016 at 10:31 am

Eddie is a good dude. He'll do what's right.

Glad to see him looking happy with people around him. I feel that Eddie is an introvert. It's important for him to be comfortable gaining experience win people he's not familiar with.

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4EVER's picture

March 04, 2016 at 01:19 pm

Call me crazy, but isn't Forte one of those ball players you want, you need on your team.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 04, 2016 at 05:06 pm

No your not crazy. Unless something is wrong with him, you have to wonder why Bears did not make an effort to keep him. He was the Bears Offense for a long time. Would love to have him, question is it it too late and which Forte would we be getting.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 04, 2016 at 09:17 am

If Lacy has a good year, TT will have to decide if Lacy learned his lesson and weight won't be an issue in the future, or if Lacy is going to have intermittent trouble with weight during a 2nd contract.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

March 04, 2016 at 09:41 am

I liked the article.

I like the progress on weight control based upon what I can tell from the photo.

I do have concern about weight control in the longer term if he is signed to a long term contract.

I also worry about previous comments and actions which bring question to his dedication and love of football.

Guess that's why the Packers pay Ted Thompson the big bucks to make those decisions and I sit here.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

March 04, 2016 at 10:49 am

They could put a weight clause in the contract it would motivate him lots of performance bonus makes them hungry.

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Spock's picture

March 04, 2016 at 10:03 am

Glad Lacy seems to have it figured out. Concerning that the Journal Sentinel is saying D. Randall was driving the car where Texans WR was arrested for Marijuana. Randall was released, but yikes! No off season news (other than this on Lacy) is usually better than some off season news with the Packers.

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Oppy's picture

March 04, 2016 at 11:52 am

The Packers need to quit the song and dance with these so-called RB's and sign a real RB who can get it done.

Who's that RB? Manny Papoose.

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Lphill's picture

March 04, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Lacy was at fault for his condition to a point but it seems also the entire coaching and trainer staff fell asleep on Lacy , he did not gain the weight the night before the Arizona game , I know they made coaching changes after the fact but how is it possible nobody addressed his weight prior to that game. MM is responsible as well .

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Tundraboy's picture

March 04, 2016 at 07:38 pm

Great point. He was clearly heavy when season began. Did they not notice how he only got heavier as the year went on.

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