GREEN BAY - In his first three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Eddie Lacy never once lobbied for more carries.
There have been plenty of chances. He is asked several times throughout a season if coach Mike McCarthy should give him the football more.
Usually, Lacy provides the same answer.
“I don’t know how to answer that,” Lacy said Thursday. “The way I think, whatever opportunities I get, I just make the most of it. Whether it’s 14 or 20, whatever. I’m just happy when I get an opportunity to run.”
There are skill-position players who demand the football. Need the football. They can’t help themselves.
Whether he’d like to get 20 carries each week, Lacy won’t say. He’s not about to start demanding the ball now. But he understands why McCarthy said earlier this week “the running backs have not been given enough opportunities” through the season’s first two games.
Lacy, at 240-plus pounds, is not a scat back. He doesn’t have the big-play speed to thrive on 10, 12 carries a game. His strength is his strength. Over four quarters, Lacy leans on an opposing defense, eventually wearing them out.
Lacy said he can tell a big difference in the fourth quarter when he’s had a lot of carries.
“It makes it a little bit easier,” Lacy said. “Because those guys don’t want to hit anymore, so it allows for more broken tackles. It allows for more passes down the field, because they’re playing up to stop the run.”
There’s the potential key for unlocking the Packers’ formerly big-play offense. Taking away quarterback scrambles, the Packers ran on only 34 percent of their plays through the first two weeks. Lacy, their lead tailback, had 14 carries in Jacksonville, then 12 in Minnesota.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence the Packers have struggled throwing downfield. When the threat of running effectively doesn’t exist, it limits the usefulness of a play-action passing game.
“We pretty much just make the defense creep up to stop us at two, three, four yards,” Lacy said, “and that’s when the play-action game becomes a lot better. Because they’re creeping up so much that you’re able to get the passes over their heads.”
Through two games, Lacy hasn’t come close to reaching 100 yards. He had 61 in Jacksonville, 50 in Minnesota. He also hasn’t reached the end zone.
Lacy acknowledged more carries could help him get into a rhythm. He just isn’t asking for them.
“Anything is easier when you’re doing it a lot,” Lacy said. “If you throw the ball a lot, you’ll get into a rhythm. If you shoot enough threes, you’ll get into a rhythm. Anything happens if you keep doing it, but you have to play within the offense.”