Packers to lean on Eddie Lacy with Rodgers sidelined
Eddie Lacy was regarded by many to be the best running back in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he slipped to the back end of the second round due to injury and weight concerns. So far in his young career, however, Lacy has made those concerns look simply ridiculous.
Lacy got off to a slow start, as his first regular season NFL game was against a stingy 49ers defense. The next game, Lacy took a helmet-to-helmet hit that concussed him and ended his day after just one carry. Since returning from that concussion, however, Lacy has been a monster. The Packers have fed him 22+ carries in each of the past five games (four of which were winning efforts), over which span Lacy has averaged 109.0 rushing yards per contest.
Now without Rodgers, the Packers appear poised to lean on Lacy even more. Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt made that clear when speaking to the Green Bay Post-Gazette about life without Rodgers. "Obviously, you want to keep him down around 25-20, somewhere in there," said Van Pelt. "29 (the number of carries Lacy had in Week 9) was a little high. Over 30 would probably be a little high, but hey, he might have to carry it 35 times. Who knows? The game will dictate that to us. Hopefully, that won't be the case, but if it is, he's fully capable of doing it."
That sounds like an endorsement that could lead to some monster workloads for Lacy over the next few weeks. James Starks will factor in as well, but as more of a change-of-pace option, with Lacy functioning as the every-down bruiser.
Lacy's size and running style can create some serious problems for the Packers' opponents. Lacy is listed at 230 pounds and does not shy away from contact. Defenders who have to deal with a massive athlete pounding into them throughout an entire game are sure to be worn out down the stretch, which will create easier opportunities for fill-in quarterback Seneca Wallace, as well as Starks when he subs in.
Lacy is a fun runner to watch, and it looks like we're going to be seeing a lot of him over the next month or so, as Rodgers is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Lacy's fantasy owners should be licking their chops at the thought of their running back's upcoming workloads. For the rest of the season, the Packers play just two teams that rank better than 21st in total defense. Their remaining schedule is PHI (ranked 16th in yards allowed per carry), NYG (5th), MIN (13th), DET (28th), ATL (26th), DAL (27th), PIT (19th), and CHI (24th). Lacy is locked in as a mid- to high-end RB1 going forward.