BOCA RATON, Fla. – Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has seen the photo of Eddie Lacy like everyone else.
The one where the running back Eddie Lacy appears to be noticeably slimmer following a workout with P90X founder Tony Horton in California. The fourth-year running back has overhauled his offseason after playing too heavy during the 2015 season. The extra 20 pounds he carried resulted in Lacy's productivity dipping from 3,001 total yards his first two NFL seasons to only 946 this past season.
Lacy, who’s entering the final year of his rookie contract, dove headfirst into the conditioning program. Based on reports McCarthy has received, Lacy is on pace to return for the start of next month’s offseason program in better shape than he played this past season.
“If he stays the course, yeah definitely,” said McCarthy when asked at Tuesday’s NFL owners meetings whether Lacy will be thinner when he reports for the team’s offseason program. “So far, so good.”
New Packers running backs coach Ben Sirmans has been in constant communication with Lacy, who has split his offseason between training in Wyoming and California. McCarthy mentioned that Lacy took a one-week break for a wedding, but otherwise has been diligent in his training.
“It sounds like things are going well for him,” McCarthy said.
So what does McCarthy think of the photos?
“He looked good. … He looked like that rookie guy.”
The Packers officially re-signed Lacy’s backup, James Starks, on Tuesday. He agreed to a two-year, $6 million contract on Friday that included a $1.5 million signing bonus. Starks, who turned 30 last month, took one visit to New England before coming to an agreement to stay with the Packers.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound running back is coming off a career year in which he produced 993 total yards. While 30-year-old running backs often get associated with being old, McCarthy views Starks’ situation in a different light.
A sixth-round pick in 2010, Starks has averaged only 110.2 touches per season during his first six years in the NFL. Comparatively, Lacy has averaged 271.3 touches during his first three NFL seasons. Green Bay evidently showed a little interest in two-time Pro Bowler Matt Forte, but ultimately stuck with Starks.
“James was obviously a rookie in 2010, but I don’t look at him as a 30-year-old running back that’s beat up,” McCarthy said. “He’s got a lot of football left in him. I feel like you always want to have competition there and, more importantly, you want them all to be able to play first, second and third down. I love the one-two punch with Eddie and James but it would be nice to see Crockett and some of these other guys to push to make the 53-man roster.”
*Right guard T.J. Lang could be sidelined until the start of training camp while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, McCarthy said.
Lang played with two bad shoulders last season and underwent surgery on his right shoulder in early February. McCarthy said Lang is recovering well but will miss the offseason training program. His return is being expected for the first day of training camp, which likely will be July 24.
The Packers will open camp a week earlier than normal because they will play in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 7 against the Indianapolis Colts.
* Inside linebacker Sam Barrington, who was sidelined for the season after suffering a right-foot injury in the 2015 opener at Chicago, has been doing well in his offseason training in nearby Miami, McCarthy said.
“So far, so good,” McCarthy said. “Staying (in Green Bay) for the whole rehab the whole year, you love it when that happens. You look at him and Jordy (Nelson, who also rehabbed in Green Bay), and just the progress they were able to make.”
Stu Courtney contributed.