What’s up with Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy? That’s been the question that a lot of Packer fans have been asking themselves lately. When looking ahead at the season, no one would have expected James Starks to be the team-leader in rushing yards, especially with Lacy being mostly healthy. Sure, there was an ankle injury that seemed to nag Lacy early in the season, but as of last week, Lacy and his ankle were not even listed on the injury report leading up to the Packers’ home game against the San Diego Chargers. One would have expected, then, to see Lacy getting more involved in the offense and finding more success. What actually happened is that Lacy gained just 3 yards on 4 carries.
There had been some speculation, especially in the Twitterverse, about the cause of Lacy’s decreased efficiency and playing time. A few folks even speculated that Lacy looked big and sluggish. Of course, Lacy has always been a big back, but the contention was that Lacy looked even bigger than usual. While I initially thought that this explanation was a bit of grasping at straws, it turns out that it may very well have merit.
In a press-conference on Wednesday afternoon, Head Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed both that Lacy appears to be fully past the ankle injury and that he is indeed heavier. Speaking about Lacy, McCarthy stated, “I’m not going to get into guy’s weights. I mean, I’ve never been asked a question about a guy’s weight. But I think players do get bigger in their career. But he’s bigger than he was as a rookie.” ESPN reporter Rob Demovsky went so far as to say that, “Mike McCarthy doesn’t sound overly thrilled about it.”
Fortunately for the Packers, depth is usually not an issue. James Starks has filled in admirably, rushing for 112 yards and 2 TDs, one rushing and one receiving. The only problem is that Starks has now found himself on the injury report with a hip injury. He has yet to practice this week; it is very possible that he will miss the Packers’ upcoming trip to Denver.
It’s an inopportune time for this confluence of events. The regularly explosive Packers’ offense has looked like it’s been spinning its tires for much of the last few games. Now they are facing the best defense that they’ve seen since an NFC Championship game that will remain unnamed. If Starks indeed is not able to go, the Packers will have to rely upon an under-performing, perhaps overweight Eddie Lacy, and talented but very green rookie Alonzo Harris.
In other words, this is a perfect time for Lacy to prove his critics wrong. His weight has been the subject of criticism in the past, and Lacy pretty much responded by becoming the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The Packers’s offense is good without Lacy, but great when he’s performing at a high level. Lacy has been quiet thus far this season, but let’s hope that the freight train is about to leave the station.
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.