After a crushing defeat at home against the Dallas Cowboys, with the offensive struggles continuing and the hope of fans dwindling, the hits just keep coming. Eddie Lacy has been placed on IR. Given that Sam Shields was placed on IR only a day earlier, there is a very good chance that Lacy will not be used as the one player allowed to be reactivated to the roster from the IR. He could miss the rest of the 2016 season.
To add to the difficulty, James Starks will miss four weeks with an injured knee. For tonight’s game against the Chicago Bears, the Packers will likely have to depend upon some combination of fullback Aaron Ripkowski and wide receiver Ty Montgomery in the backfield. Newly elevated practice squad running back Don Jackson may also be thrown into the mix.
For an offense that was already struggling, things have gone from bad to worse. With Aaron Rodgers looking out of sorts, he’ll have little to no running game to fall back on tonight. At a time when the Packers could use to lean away from the passing game, they will have to rely upon it almost entirely.
All of this certainly has interesting implications for the Packers and Lacy going forward. Lacy is an unrestricted free agent after 2015, and missing so much time in a contract year does not bode well for his receiving a large pay day. Perhaps the Packers will be able to resign him relatively cheaply.
However, in the short-term, the role of newly acquired running back Knile Davis just exploded. When it was announced that GM Ted Thompson had made an uncharacteristic mid-season trade for the Kansas City Chiefs running back, the assumption was that he would provide some depth until Lacy and Starks were both back at 100%. Given the news about Lacy, however, the trade suddenly seems less surprising.
Knile Davis is certainly a talented player. A third round pick in 2013, Davis is bulky but fast. At 5-10 and 227 lbs, Davis ran a 4.37 40. For a back with good size, Davis is explosive.
That new @packers RB?
His name is Knile Davis.
And he can do THIS. 😱 https://t.co/SoD51jjCNM
— NFL (@NFL) October 19, 2016
In fact, when Starks returns he may remain in his role as a change of pace and third down option. Davis could easily come in and take the reigns as the starting running back in the Green Bay offense for the remainder of the 2016 season.
The question stands, however, as to how long it will take Davis to get comfortable with the Green Bay playbook and begin to contribute. Any chance that he will see any kind of significant playing time on Thursday night against the Bears is slim to none. While it is being reported that he will be suited up, one has to wonder how ready he will be to jump into the offense having just arrived in Green Bay in on Monday.
Going forward, however, Packer fans will need to learn the name of Knile Davis. Without Eddie Lacy, and with Rodgers struggling, any chance that the Packers have to make the playoffs for an 8th consecutive season will depend largely upon how well he can come in and contribute.——————
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.