Lacy who is only 2 years removed from a rookie of the year campaign in 2013, and averaged over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first 2 seasons, was expected to have an even bigger breakout in 2015, and was expected to be a major factor in the Packers offense.
He found himself demoted Thursday night for the Packers comeback win against the Lions after missing curfew in Detroit the night before the game. James Starks got the start, and Lacy was in for just 19 snaps, rushing for 4 yards on 5 carries and had 1 reception for -3 yards.
The star running back has struggled so far this season on and off the field after showing up overweight to training camp at 234 pounds.
“I’m not the smallest person,” Lacy said Thursday. “Brandon Jacobs wasn’t the smallest person. Jerome Bettis wasn’t the smallest person. Some people can just play like that, not that I’m Jerome Bettis’ weight or nothing like that. I’m just saying, not everybody’s meant to look like Adrian Peterson or somebody like that.”
In the 2 games prior to Thursday’s showdown against the Lions, Lacy had seemed to finally find his groove, rushing for over 100 yards for the first time this season. Before that, he had a total of 312 yards while dealing with a sprained ankle he sustained in Week 2 against the Seahawks and a pulled groin against the Panthers.
Nobody in the Packer organization including Lacy or Head Coach Mike McCarthy are offering much insight to what the problem is, but it seems like his issues were already present before the curfew incident.
“Eddie didn’t have a great week, so we went with James,” McCarthy said. “The idea was to come in there with a one-two punch. What can I say about Crockett? He’s a guy that’s just been working super-hard and we felt like he deserved an opportunity. The initiative was more for special teams, but as we got going in the game and the things that were happening in the game and with his running style, I decided to stick him in there and he gave us a big spark. I think you see the way his teammates react to him and just the energy that he brings. So it was a good jolt for us.”
When asked what Lacy needs to do to get out of his doghouse, McCarthy added. “He needs to build off his preparation.He’s put up some yards in the prior games, but he can be better. We need to be better as a team, frankly. I discussed this in our team meeting. There’s a lot more to give. The fine details are not where we want them to be. There’s a formula for us to get it there. That was made clear to our players and with the expectations and the commitment that we’ve made to each other, and we’ve got to do a better job.”
With the Packers working out a few running backs yesterday, and Starks and new addition John Crockett stepping up, Lacy is going to have to sort out his demons rather quickly if he plans to keep his job.
However, Packer fans have some reason for concern, as his issues seem to be more in his head than on the field.