Lacy's slow start? Still better than last year
If you're concerned Eddie Lacy is off to a slow start this season, just remember that last year was worse.
The Green Bay Packers' workhorse running back has 77 rushing yards on 25 carries, along with 29 receiving yards on five catches through the first two games. That's 106 total yards.
After two games last season, when he went on to win offensive rookie of the year honors, Lacy had 82 total yards. He finished the regular season with 1,435 total yards (1,178 rushing, 257 receiving).
Lacy has lost snaps to concussions during the start of both seasons, more so last year than this year.
But another slow start for the second-year back has toned down some of the preseason speculation that a healthy Lacy plus a healthy Aaron Rodgers would light up the scoreboard.
Lacy managed only 2.8 yards per carry in the opener against Seattle and didn't have much room to run against the Jets on Sunday.
"They had a distinct plan for our run game, just the way they played their alignments and their base personnel to our subpersonnel," coach Mike McCarthy said after the Jets game. "There was obviously a commitment to try and take Eddie Lacy out of the game. I think that was clearly evident for four quarters."
Lacy carried the ball only three times in the first half Sunday, gaining 5 yards. As the Packers tried to dig out of an early deficit, they even gave receiver Randall Cobb two first-half handoffs while Rodgers threw 30 passes.
"He needs some more opportunities," Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show, "and we didn't help him by going down by 18 there because that kind of takes away your run game for a little while."
Lacy bounced back with a decent second half, carrying 10 times for 38 yards. As much as anything, an effective Lacy means an effective play-action game for Green Bay's offense.
"I think it's going to really help because we haven't run the ball that effectively in two weeks," Rodgers said, "but the threat of it has gotten us some one-on-one matchups outside for our receivers. So it's really helped us move the ball when we've needed to.
"But the more we can run it and have balance, the better our offense is going to be. It's going to slow down the pass rush, it's going to give us that play-action look."
Next up are the Detroit Lions, who have allowed a mere 115 yards rushing through their first two games. Opponents are averaging 2.5 yards per carry against Detroit's formidable defensive line of Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones.
Lacy's production against the Lions last season was up and down: He had 99 yards on 23 carries in Green Bay's 22-9 Game 4 victory at home, but was held to 16 yards on 10 carries in the 40-10 Thanksgiving Day debacle at Detroit.
"We need to continue finding ways to run the ball a little bit better," Rodgers said, "and if teams are going to start rolling some coverage to Jordy (Nelson), then one of your other guys step up and we'll be able to run the ball more effectively."