Lacy is no fill-in, he’s a legit Pro Bowler

Eddie Lacy earned a spot to compete for this trophy, and not just as an injury scratch.

Eddie Lacy earned a spot to compete for this trophy, and not just as an injury scratch.

It shouldn’t have taken an Adrian Peterson injury scratch for Eddie Lacy to make the Pro Bowl.

For the Jerry Rice-Deion Sanders Fantasy Football Game or whatever they’re going to call it, Lacy had the numbers to back up it up while being the offensive Clydesdale that plowed the Packers into the playoffs.

Lacy was eighth in the NFL in yardage (1,1,78), third in rushing touchdowns (11), and most importantly he only had one fumble in a rookie season that was filled with team potholes.

First and foremost, he had to deal with not just losing the Packers’ and arguably the NFL’s best quarterback, but also with adjusting to three different backups. A lot of offensive players have a hard time getting into a rhythm with the starter, let alone the third-string backup but Lacy was the one constant that kept the offense afloat.

Secondly, Lacy had 20-or-more carries in 11 games including the playoffs. That showed how much trust a pass-happy coach like Mike McCarthy can appreciate the tough-running Lacy.

And finally, Lacy did it all with an asthma condition that gets worse in the winter —he had never seen snow before this season — a concussion and right ankle pain that plagued him for much of the latter part of the season. But he galloped on and never let an ankle problem hinder his workload.

Lacy put up legitimate Pro Bowl numbers with the heart of a seasoned veteran. Which is why he was awfully respected inside the Packers’ lock room. Other players understood how much he was hurting, the hits he was taking and above all, the fact that he was doing all this as a rookie.

The scary thing is, Lacy is only going to get better. His vision will improve. His bond with the offensive line will grow tighter, only increasing their motivation to open running lanes for the 5-foot-11, 230-pound wrecking ball.

Lacy is the long-lost running back the Packers have been looking for. He isn’t afraid of contact, extreme cold, nagging injuries or even playing in the shadow of an iconic quarterback that would rather pass it around the yard than hand it off.

Rodgers is the prized possession on offense, but it’s Lacy that will maintain the Packers’ offensive relevance.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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