There is nothing that should excite Green Bay Packers fans as training camp approaches more than Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy playing a full season together.
They only played in six games together last year due to injuries for both. They went 5-1 in those games with the only loss being the first game of the season at San Francisco, averaged 29 points per games and averaged 404 yards per game. For reference sake the Packers averaged 35 points per game and 405.1 yards per game during their historic 2011 season. The points differential can be explained in red zone efficiency.
The Packers were still third in the NFL in yards and eighth in points with Rodgers missing seven games, which is amazing to think about. Not only where they without Rodgers and Lacy at times, but they were also without Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley and James Jones at times too. It really wasn’t talked about enough how effective they were on offense last year without this collection of talent.
Rodgers and Lacy is perhaps the best quarterback and running back duo in the NFL. The league should be scared if they both stay healthy and the Packers are at least adequate on defense. Rodgers used to dominate without much of a running game at all and defenses hanging back in cover-2 defense compelled to let the Packers running game beat them because they knew it couldn’t. Now it can.
Ryan Grant was an underrated running back during his time in Green Bay, but he did not command the respect of defenses that Lacy will. Defenses fear Lacy and not Grant.
Lacy’s 1,178 rushing yards and 4.1 yards per carry last year do not tell the full story of how well he played. He did not fumble after the first game, was a beast in short yardage and always seemed to get what was available to him.
Not a lot of running room was available to him after Rodgers went down. Defenses stacked the box on first and second downs, and Mike McCarthy often played right into their hands by giving it to Lacy. They seemed to be on him almost right after he took the hand off
He will never be confused for a burner, but Lacy has quick feet for a man of his size and can accelerate well in short areas. Obviously, he is a load to bring down and not every defender is willing to lay their shoulder in on Lacy.
Aside from the physical traits Lacy also has an advantage over Grant in vision. Grant always seemed to miss a couple of lanes per game and Lacy not only usually hit the right hole last year but hit it with authority. An improved offensive line and good backups to rest him should give Lacy an even bigger advantage in 2014 along with Rodgers.
Rodgers doesn’t need much help, but his supporting cast is terrific yet again. He did start to get frustrated the last few years with the conservative looks he was seeing from defenses. Rodgers still rarely forced a bad pass even when most quarterbacks would have probably grown impatient. McCarthy and Rodgers still love their shot plays though, and having Lacy with Rodgers should put them in a better position for those to be successful.
The Green Bay offense should be a joy to watch with Rodgers and Lacy feeding off each other. For the first time in his career Rodgers has a scary running game, and it is hard to fathom what he will do with it.——————