The Packers had this feeling that they had struck gold when they drafted Eddie Lacy this past April.
A bruising, power running back with the ability to wear down opposing defenses, Lacy was seen as the answer at a position which had been less than inspiring since Ryan Grant stopped being a 1,000 yard rusher.
The hope was that Lacy would be able to add another dimension to the already impressive Packers offense, taking pressure off Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. By having a running back who defenses would have to game plan against as well as covering Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jermichael Finley downfield, on paper the Green Bay offense looked to be unstoppable.
Unfortunately, the Packers offense has changed greatly since the season began.
Randall Cobb has been lost for 6-8 weeks after breaking his fibula against the Ravens this past Sunday.
James Jones is also among the walking wounded after suffering ligament damage, and his status has yet to be determined.
Finely has done little thus far to show he belongs in the discussion as one of the best tight ends in the league.
Jordy Nelson has been typically Nelson-esque, displaying his normal quiet stardom. But he is now the featured player in the passing game, and will no doubt feel extra pressure as long as Cobb is out and Jones is hurting.
Injuries have taken their toll on what was expected to be a top notch offense. And this is where Eddie Lacy has the opportunity to not only be a force on offense. He may end up being the Packers MVP this season.
Everyone is aware of the skill Rodgers has throwing the ball around the field. His ability to put the ball where no one else can is part of the reason he is seen by many as the best player in the NFL. Having receivers named Cobb, Jones, Nelson and Finely will help any quarterback in that regard.
Someone will have to be able to move the ball, because the odds of the passing offense being anything close to what it has been is slim with Cobb out and Jones injured.
Eddie Lacy has the opportunity to become an even more important component of the offense over the next two months.
Green Bay currently ranks second in total offense at 450 yards per game. Three hundred and ten passing yards per game should not be that surprising. After seeing what Rodgers and company can do through the air, this is almost to be expected, even if the passing game has looked out of sync on occasion this season.
The surprise is the Packers are averaging 141 rushing yards per game through their first five games. Air McCarthy be damned, very quietly Green Bay has become one heck of a running team.
With the offense in flux following Cobb’s placement on IR-Designated to Return and Jones trying to recover, Lacy will be expected to carry an even bigger load.
He is after all the first Packers rookie to rush for 99 yards or more in consecutive games since John Brockington did so in 1971.
This production should become the norm for Lacy. Doing so should result in victories, something that might have become more difficult, but not impossible, now that the passing offense has to adapt.
If the Packers can continue to generate victories while the passing game transitions to life without Cobb, partly because of Lacy’s contributions, he may wind up being the Packers MVP for 2013.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at [email protected].