Thunder and Lightning: Packers can Suffice with Rushing duo of Montgomery, Lacy

The last time the Packers drafted an offensive skill position in the first round in the Ted Thompson era, they selected some quarterback named Aaron Rodgers. The last time the organization ever selected a running back in the first round was Brent Fullwood in 1987. The Packers have had 29 drafts since with 28 chances at a first-round pick (In 2008, Green Bay traded their first-round selection to the New York Jets for two extra second-round selections, picking wide receiver Jordy Nelson, quarterback Brian Brohm and cornerback Pat Lee respectively), and they've selected a player on the defensive side of the ball 18 times.

Mock drafts — specifically one that belongs to NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks has the Packers selecting a running back — specifically Stanford's Christian McCaffrey — in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. The Packers hold the 29th overall selection after their NFC Championship thumping in Atlanta.

While McCaffrey can be categorized as a "scatback" (capable of playing multiple spots, praised for speed), the Packers seemed to have supposedly found a scatback of their own with the emergence of wide receiver-turned-tailback Ty Montgomery. Head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett found a variety of ways to get Montgomery involved in 2016, including motioning him out of the backfield to line up either in the slot or on the boundary. 

As a result, mismatches against the opposition ensued. 

Montgomery has made a strong case for the future starting bid as the team's full-fledged running back and even aims to change his jersey number over the offseason, per McCarthy in his season-ending press conference.

"He's a running back," McCarthy reassured. "He wants to change his number and that's the way we're going. He'll spend the whole offseason clearly working at the running back position.

"Him and Randall (Cobb) have that dynamic to them that we can have as part of our offense. But to shift full-board, we're fortunate we made that decision at the end of training camp to keep Ty (Montgomery) ready."

Whether or not that spells doom for soon-to-be-fifth-year running back Eddie Lacy whom the Packers selected at 61st overall in the 2013 NFL Draft remains to be seen. Lacy began his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons before suffering a setback in 2015, attempting to fend off a weight issue that was once one of his biggest critiques coming out of Alabama. 

Lacy spent the entire 2016 offseason slimming down with P90X creator Tony Horton and causing all kinds of media swirl over his "new look," which went on to become one of the biggest stories through training camp. The start to the campaign months later was the best five-game start to Lacy's career where he averaged 5.1 yards per carry, tallying 360 yards on 71 rushing attempts. He was soon hindered by an ankle injury that later went on to require surgery and ultimately end his season.

With an expiring contract in two months, many are speculating that Lacy has played his last down in Green Bay. There's a scenario where the Packers may let Lacy test the waters in free agency, only to potentially bring him back on a cheaper deal.

One thing is for certain — retaining Lacy would be one of the smartest things that general manager Ted Thompson and co. can do over the next five months.

"I'd love to see Eddie (Lacy) back," McCarthy said. "He's going through a medical situation, I clearly understand his contract situation. That's really something we'll continue to work for... Until Eddie even clears the medical threshold, we'll have to see where we are."

Lacy's thundering running style with a deceptively quick ability to cut inbetween defenders and locate running lanes is second-to-none when he's healthy. He's patented a signature spin move that only makes him that much more of a chore to bring down. 240 pounds of an aggressive tailback charging like a ram through the line of scrimmage would be the last thing even the most violent of NFL linebackers would want to see.

Lacy's initial 4-year, $3,392,412 contract has $1,040,208 guaranteed, including a base salary of $867,602 that was distributed to him in 2016 despite missing 11 games.

Actually, two things are for certain — wasting a first-round pick on a running back would be the most unnecessary and most asinine of things that Thompson and co. can do over the next five months. For a team like the Packers who had the fifth-most pass attempts (656) in the league in 2016 to just 366 runs, a running back wouldn't be a major necessity worth prioritizing in the first round either way. Not when there's major leaks on the verge of implosion at other end of the ship.

The needs that Green Bay has yet to address as an organization shone brightly during the team's six-game winning streak to end the regular season. It shone through their two-game winning streak in the playoffs, and even more so significantly in their loss in the Georgia Dome, which was their first since mid-November. The Packers lack speed off the edge at outside linebacker and they lack talent at the cornerback position.

With cornerback Sam Shields still dealing with the aftermath of his fifth reported concussion, there's a high chance that the best thing Shields could do for his own personal health and his family would be to walk away from the game he had grown to make a major part of his life. That would leave the Packers with two third-year corners in Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall, along with undrafted, inexperienced talent for depth. Rollins and Randall, both coming off of sub-optimal seasons of their own in which both dealt with their own array of injuries, are looking to make the third-year jump in 2017. Correction: many are hoping they do.

On the front lines, outside linebacker turned inside, then outside, now possibly inside again Clay Matthews could be looking at another position swap that brings him into a role that defensive coordinator Dom Capers occasionally used him for in 2016. Rather than sparingly being the team's dime linebacker in passing situations, Matthews' full-time role may once more be as a game-changing pass-rusher on the inside. 

There are also a mind-numbing amount of free agents (16) for the Packers this offseason, including many starters like tight end Jared Cook, Pro Bowler right guard T.J. Lang and outside linebacker Nick Perry, who led the team in sacks this season.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (51)

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Turophile's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:29 am

While the Packers do not need to spend an early pick on RB if Lacy and Montgomery are retained, theymost definitely do not want to make the mistake of going into the season with just two RBs as they did last year.

I'd suggest they invest in a 3rd RB to add competition to the injured guys returning next year. A 5th rounder like Lafayette's Elijah McGuire should suffice to round out this position group, with 3 RBs and Ripkowski at FB after they cut down to 53 players.

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The TKstinator's picture

January 29, 2017 at 06:49 am

If another team offers Lacy big $, he's gone. Ted will only sign him to a team friendly deal.
Seems like 27 and Monty would be a nice 1-2 with 32 as a nice #3.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:29 am

I doubt anyone is going to give Lacy big money. That said I'd just roll with Lacy, Monty and Michael. The defense needs a lot of help and every draft pick that can be spared. They need some morr depth on OL too.

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The TKstinator's picture

January 29, 2017 at 09:42 am

I doubt that too. But with free agency, all it takes is one! (Cough, Dan Snyder, cough)

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Big_Mel_75's picture

January 30, 2017 at 09:23 am

I would like to see what a healthy Crockett can do for this team. I liked him as a third option... Michael I don't think has it between the ears to make it.. Can run but can't learn plays...

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porupack's picture

January 29, 2017 at 01:45 am

I hear mention that the this year's draft is deep with RBs, so it seems smart to go at a good prospect in round 3-5. I think Lacy/Monty combo sounds pretty good with two contrasting styles, and both fairly versatile. Yes....GB needs Lacy back, but I'm fine if they try to get his contract price down.

I can't see moving CMatthews to ILB. While he has fallen off, and underperformed, he can be a great tandem if packers could get a 1st round level pass-rusher as a bookend. Alternatively, invest first round in an elite ILB....that locks down the short-middle of the field....and can go after the QB as well. A Ryan Shazier type. Fast. That would be the single position, that would upgrade the D the most. Paaahleaze.

In general, the position need by draft rounds
Passrusher in rnd 1
ILB in rnd2
CB rnd3
WR rnd4
TE (comp pick)
RB rnd5
CB rnd 6
CB rund7
CB comp pick #2

Then go out and get a veteran FA CB in offseason.

That might increase the odds of fixing things.

Cut a bunch of current FAs, except
Hyde, Perry, Cook, Tretter
Try to keep, but not overpay for
Lacy and Lang

Other existing roster FAs if very value contracts.
Goode, etc.

That's my GM agenda....

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NickPerry's picture

January 29, 2017 at 06:21 am

Thompson has had the opportunity to draft an ILB more than once and passed. I know I wasn't alone in wanting Kendricks to be the Packers pick in 2015. Instead we drafted Randall. People say TT doesn't value the ILB position and it seems he doesn't waiting until the 4th round to pick Ryan and Martinez. Nothing against Ryan and Martinez, actually looking forward to the steps they take next season.

I have to admit I laughed when I saw that Brooks had selected McCaffrey in his mock draft. Did he WATCH the playoffs? Not to mention I doubt TT would even draft Fournette or Cook if they were there for the taking in round one which they won't be.

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Rossonero's picture

January 29, 2017 at 07:56 am

I wanted Kendricks too. he looks like a helluva linebacker, like a Nick Barnett. He can cover, tackle, etc. I am hesitant with 1st round picks on CBs. It seems like the hardest positions to draft. Think of recent 1st round busts like Justin Gilbert, Dee Milliner, DJ Hayden, etc.

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Bert's picture

January 29, 2017 at 09:37 am

Given we are drafting at #29, drafting by position of need would be a huge mistake. Just take BPA and hope to find an impact player. Basically the 2017 draft is to build the roster for 2018 and beyond. Gotta get out of the mindset that we will fill 2017 holes with the 2017 draft. I hope Ted drafts strictly for BPA and position of need be damned. Filling immediate needs should be done via FA but we know how Ted feels about that..........

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ironman3169's picture

January 29, 2017 at 06:45 pm

Exactly right. BPA drafting is the best way. Fill the holes via free agency. Easier said than done of course, as actually filling the holes with talent is pricey. Have you met our friend Ted Thompson?

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Bert's picture

January 29, 2017 at 07:10 pm

Never met Ted. Overall he's done an OK job and I appreciate that. With his good evaluation of offensive talent and Rodgers we have remained relevant. I just feel like he could have done so much more for the defense with just a few FA tweaks. Build some veteran depth instead of counting so much on the draft. I can't help but to think we should have a couple more SB appearances during the last 5 years if he wasn't so damn stubborn and admit that he just doesn't draft well enough to build a championship roster (defense) with D&D!

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Joshua Snyder's picture

January 30, 2017 at 09:48 pm

I like the two OLBs from Wisconsin. You can't go wrong with Watt in the 2nd round, and Biegel in the 3rd.

As much as I hate to say it, I think TT could trade out of the 1st just to get more picks. This only works if he uses FA to his advantage.....so I predict another ho hum 29th pick. Probably an OL.

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porupack's picture

January 29, 2017 at 01:54 am

Zach, I think the biggest concern with your Thunder/lightening plan might be that Monty hasn't been very good in pass protection. I'd be interested in your thoughts whether that would be solved in second year with a whole offseason prep. Seems reasonable...but, I don't know how hard those skills are to being acquired. Many good runners aren't in the league for this very reason.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

January 29, 2017 at 02:05 am

McCarthy did say he plans for Montgomery to go through the whole offseason with working as a RB, so take that with a grain of salt... I'd assume pass protection would be a huge emphasis, but Lacy has also been decent in pass-blocking as well. They could probably incorporate packages that involve each RB individually given the situation.

Also... I highly doubt he's with the team next season, but if they keep Starks as the 3rd RB, he'd automatically be the best pass protecting RB on the roster.

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ironman3169's picture

January 29, 2017 at 06:47 pm

Dude, if they keep Starks, I am really going to lose faith.

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BigCheese2's picture

January 30, 2017 at 08:17 am

Monty is quick, strong, smart and fearless. He will be perfectly fine as a pass blocking RB. I have faith in that. I do think he would be better utilized vacating the backfield before or after the snap and making linebackers look stupid...

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Bearmeat's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:12 am

Lacy has no "deceptive" quickness. He's a combination steam roller and dump truck. Monty is great and will get better, but I'd prefer a 3 down 235 lb. version of Lacy who can run you over AND take it to the house any day. You know, the one we saw in 2013.

Ted - Tell Eddie that he gets a 1 year contract. Make staying under 13% body fat a BIG portion of the weekly check. Repeat this for as long as you can.

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NickPerry's picture

January 29, 2017 at 07:52 am

I had read Lacy was REALLY heavy again. Obviously he can't workout the way he needs to, but he also doesn't have to eat everything in the refrigerator.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:25 am

Yep. I've read that too. Which is why you tell Lacy that he is to report under 235 and 13% body fat, or he gets his unmotivated rear end cut.

It may just take Eddie eating his way out of the league for him to wake up. Or, he just may never wake up and we've got our answer anyway.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:30 am

Lacy has never been 13% in his life.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:57 am

Demonstrably untrue. You don't get 6 pack abs until 12%. This may not be the most defined 6 pack you've ever seen, but it's there. And he ran a 4.45 40. You don't do that at 250 or even 245.

Edit: Google Eddie Lacy Combine. Look at the jpgs of him running the 40 without a shirt. The 6 pack is there. For some reason CHTV thinks I'm spamming when I copy/paste a link.

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Rossonero's picture

January 29, 2017 at 11:06 am

How can he run when he had ankle surgery? I would expect him to gain weight since he's been hobbled. What will be more telling is if hes still overweight even after he gets healthy.

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Dr.Rodgers's picture

January 30, 2017 at 11:44 am

Hearsay doesn't win arguments. I follow Lacy on twitter, and he posted a selfie last week and he look d like a guy who is ready to roll. Just my opinion, but he looks to be in the 225-230 range anno muffin top. Whatever, we have no control over his weight and perhaps McCarthy is monitoring Eddie's commitment with his positive comments.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 29, 2017 at 07:34 am

Mind numbing list of free agents?. At best there are only 6 we need to being back. Ultimately I have no faith in TT doing what needs to be done, resign Cook, Lacy, Perry , Tretter and Lang and sign at least 2 veteran FA help on D, CB being one of them. Then draft BPA available mainly on D but including a TE, WR and RB

Not rocket science with this roster. We have big expiring contracts and tradeable picks. Stop being cheap. Time is wasting. Giants added some key free agents knowing time is running out with Eli.

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porupack's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:15 am

I was thinking last year how many FAs TT had to deal with, and now this year another 16. I get the reason to offer 1 year prove it deals, but they can cause the situation TT is in now, a big bulge of contracts to push off again next year.
And was Jared cook that much of a risk, that he couldn't have been given a 2 year deal? He was a pretty known quantity; definite talent was plain to see, and pretty obvious he underperformed in large part due to QBs he's had.....so really should have been a low risk for 2+ year deal. Maybe Cook wanted the one year deal, but I doubt it.
I dunno. Something's wrong up there.

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fthisJack's picture

January 29, 2017 at 09:53 am

there are 12 UFA. if you take 53 guys and stagger their 4 year contracts you have 13 FA every year. so 12 is no big deal and a number of these guys can be let go IMO. biggest ones are Lang, Perry, Tretter,Cook, Hyde and these guys will not break the bank.

i'm no a big Lacey fan. his running style sets him up to get banged up regularly as we have seen. plus, i don't think he is that hungry to keep himself in football shape. pick up a RB in the mid rounds and go with Monty, Michael, and Rip. look whats available in FA.

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Spock's picture

January 29, 2017 at 10:40 am

Porupack:
TT DID offer Jared Cook a two year deal; Jared's the one who wanted the one year! Not sure where the original link is but you can look it up. :)

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Savage57's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:15 am

No matter how much Packers fans want Eddie Lacy to be the guy he was as a rookie, 3 straight years of ankle issues point to the fact he's a 6-10 game player who just can't stay healthy. Relying on him as the basis for the run game will find the Packers in the exact same position they were in this year: Cobbling together a running game from spare parts and pieces.

What really burns is that the Packers passed on Jordan Howard - twice - choosing Martinez and Lowry about a dozen spots before him.

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Lphill's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:32 am

I would like to see Lacy come back maybe a 1 year deal , would be nice competition between him and Monty , that's s pretty good 1 -2 punch. I would like to see the first 3 picks go toward defense . Take the best available defensive player in the first round, hopefully it's a true corner not a not a hybrid experiment.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 29, 2017 at 08:48 am

Thunder and Lighting

You have got to be kidding.

A fat guy with ankle problems.
A muscular guy who gets dinged every 4th play will only last so long with increased snaps.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 29, 2017 at 09:15 am

You have a point with Eddie. But Ty? I dunno about that. He's had 2 injuries that have kept him out of games. 1 was a season ender last year. The other was in the NFC CG last week. We weren't winning that day anyway, so who cares.

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fthisJack's picture

January 29, 2017 at 09:57 am

he runs high and reckless and takes a beating. he will always be hurt.

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Ryan1978's picture

January 29, 2017 at 10:32 am

In the draft they should really be trying to trade up for CB Desmond King in the first round. They need a playmaker on defense and he's not a draft and develop situation. He'll be so starting 2017 season

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 29, 2017 at 11:01 am

I'm all for trading up for a day one starter on defense but at linebacker, in or out, corner back is deep this year.

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Samson's picture

January 29, 2017 at 11:53 am

Neither Lacy nor Monty are capable of staying healthy for a complete season. --- As a result, there has to be a better option than relying on just those two. --- If the Pack go into game one 2017 with just Lacy & Monty, the running game will again be a weakness. --- Look for AR to be throwing 40+ a game all season.

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dobber's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm

RBs who carry the ball any amount are perishable goods. Few make it through a whole season without getting dinged up or missing time. This is why it was an angry dog waiting to bite this team when TT/MM went thin at RB in September.

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Rossonero's picture

January 29, 2017 at 11:56 am

I keep reading that Ted should sign a free agent CB. Do you guys honestly think:

1) Ted will spend big.

2) The owning team will let the following guys go? I don't. *= Pro Bowler

Malcolm Butler (Restricted FA, Patriots)
AJ Bouye, (UFA, Texans)*
Trumaine Johnson, Rams
Logan Ryan, Patriots
Prince Amukamara, Jaguars
Morris Claiborne, Cowboys

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stockholder's picture

January 29, 2017 at 11:59 am

I must say I disagree with zac on Lacy. And many of you. The guy is always hurt. He's average at best. He runs at tacklers, and not away from them. Compare the running of monty to Lacy. And you'll see what I mean. Lacy or starks are not fast enough. Plain and simple. Why do we need a refrigerator? He could not gain the 4 and 1, anywhere you want to line him up. The only thing he can do is carry a cb for a few yards more. But he's just to slow people! He's a prime candidate for concussion protocol. So don't waste the money. TRY not thinking he's a packer for life if TT drafted him. ALSO how is it asinine for TT to take a RB. This offense was stagnate until Monty was used at RB. So how is it wrong to take a RB #1. If the guy's a stud, you draft him. You just might get a hornug, or someone greater. Popular opinion does not make this team better. Nor will taking a cb. I want a player that says give me the ball. I'll get it in the end Zone.

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dobber's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:14 pm

He can't get 4th and 1 because the play is usually telegraphed to the defense and the line can't run-block if their lives depended on it.

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4thand1's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

We don't know what this team will look like on defense next year. This teams identity is offense, always has been and always will be as long as Rodgers is the QB. Its been drafting defense high for years and it only gets worse. The book is still out on Rollins and Randall, but this defense needs to get pressure on the QB. You can have the best cb's in the world but without qb pressure they aren't worth much. Whoever the running backs are they have to stay on the field. I don't think Monty is the lighting, it would be like Michaels, he just is quicker and overall faster.

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Bert's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:40 pm

The Lacey & Monty combo sounds great but only if Lacey has his weight down prior to signing any contracts. If he's fat forget it. Thunder & Lightening would be great. Rolling Ball of Fat & Lightening not so great.

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Point-Packer's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Two questions:

1) If GB could only sign Jared Cook or Eddie Lacy, which one would you choose and why?

2) If GB signs Lacy, would you take the over or the under on him playing nine games next year?

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Bert's picture

January 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm

1. I would resign Cook. Easy choice for me. Good TEs are harder to find than RBs and Cook seems to be a guy who will stay in shape. We've been looking for a TE since Finley and I would wrap Cook up for a while. Cook proved to be an impact guy and I would hate to lose him. Eddie can be more easily replaced IMO.
2. Nine games seems about the maximum unless he comes to camp in top shape. If I was betting I would take the under actually.

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Oppy's picture

January 29, 2017 at 03:26 pm

At RB, people are forgetting about Crockett and Jackson.

I think at least one of them is on the roster next season.

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Point-Packer's picture

January 29, 2017 at 11:44 pm

I can't imagine why, both are so unbelievably unforgettable. Especially Emmit Smith, I mean John Crockett.

If GB has upgraded the RB position, neither will be on the roster. And there is not evidence to suggest so. Thank god.

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Oppy's picture

January 30, 2017 at 06:01 pm

I think Don Jackson has some pretty decent upside actually, and Crockett looked like an NFL back vs. Det in 2015.

I certainly wouldn't rule either of them out for the #3 RB position.

I think the only lock at RB right now is Ty. I think the Packers go into the 2017 season with either Lacy or Michael, but I don't think both.

I personally would keep Lacy if a deal can be made that is reasonable. Michael I fear is a tease. That would potentially leave a spot for either Crockett or Jackson as #3.

Packers value their own. Look at Ty- why, just a few weeks ago, half of Packers nation was screaming he could never really play RB, "end the experiment".. Crockett and Jackson may not make it, but I wouldn't be so dismissive of them.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 30, 2017 at 06:30 am

Didn't forget about them, but can't necessarily count on them either.

At this point, they need to add more talent to the position, and if they come in and play really well, then its an added bonus.

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4thand1's picture

January 29, 2017 at 05:01 pm

We need Aaron Donald

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DD's picture

January 29, 2017 at 07:12 pm

Lacy will come in overweight and out of shape. Release him, cut Capers. Defense is our biggest need: pass rush, two good cover corners.

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al bundy's picture

January 29, 2017 at 07:33 pm

Monty isnt much of a running back and eddy is an unreliable fat ass dufuss

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Bert's picture

January 29, 2017 at 09:55 pm

LOL!!!

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