GREEN BAY - When the offseason finally ended, when reporters and fans stopped analyzing Twitter photos and tweets, tailback Eddie Lacy enjoyed a brief but productive debut against the Cleveland Browns last week: four carries, 24 yards, a healthy average of 6 yards per carry.
One week later, in the Green Bay Packers’ second exhibition game, Lacy absorbed a heavier workload against the Oakland Raiders. And, once again, he enjoyed a productive and encouraging night: nine carries, 45 yards, one touchdown — all on the opening drive.
"I felt good," Lacy said after the Packers' 20-12 victory Thursday. "The offensive line did a great job up front, so I was able to break a couple tackles, break a long run in and try to run over a few people. I felt good out there today."
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The Packers won the coin toss and chose to receive, which was all the invitation Lacy needed to imprint himself on the game. With quarterback Brett Hundley under center, coach Mike McCarthy turned to Lacy as the focal point of the game's first drive. He dialed up the I-formation, used multiple tight ends and let Lacy go to work.
His first carry was a 20-yard romp between left guard Josh Sitton and center JC Tretter, who cleared a path wide enough to beckon. It was the beginning of five straight carries for Lacy, none shorter than 4 yards, and the beleaguered runner turned them into 41 yards.
"I’m just trying to continue to get better every day," Lacy said. "I definitely want this year to be different than last. So far, I think I’m doing a pretty good job at it. I’ve got to keep it up and continue to go."
The drive continued as Hundley guided the offense to the 6-yard line, where Lacy took over to finish the job. He carried the ball to the 1-yard line and then, after the defense stoned him on second down, jumped up and over the pile for the game's first score.
With a touchdown on the board, Lacy jogged to the sideline and gave way to James Starks. Lacy was done only minutes after his night began, and he took another step toward redemption.
"I thought our offensive line, the run blocking unit did a good job of creating an apex and giving Eddie clean looks," McCarthy said. "And I thought Eddie ran very well and did a very good job finishing runs. That was a very good start to the game and that’s what we were looking for."