Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy deep in the doghouse


The Green Bay Packers pulled off a miracle in Detroit, but Eddie Lacy only managed one yard on his six touches

Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers were let off the hook by some magic on Thursday night, with Aaron Rodgers and Richard Rodgers connecting on a game-winning Hail Mary that we’ll be seeing on highlight reels ten years from now. A largely flawed victory, but a victory nonetheless. The game was a complete wash for running back Eddie Lacy, however, and the issue might be running deeper than his performance.

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“I don’t feel as though that’s something I should get into yet,” Lacy told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky when asked about his sparse usage. CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz also made a vague allusion to some practice issues with Lacy, while Tracy Wolfson reported from the sideline mid-game that Lacy’s “benching” was not injury related. Instead, it was a coaches decision.

Lacy has been one of pro football’s biggest disappointments in 2015. This much is difficult to dispute, but as a notoriously slow starter to his seasons, Lacy finally seemed to be rounding the corner over the past two weeks. In back-to-back games, Lacy eclipsed at least 100 yards on the ground and was seeing the bulk of carries ahead of James Starks.

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Even the Green Bay Packers beat reporters were stunned to see Starks on the field for Green Bay’s two opening drives Thursday, though it seemed Lacy may have been getting punishment for his Thanksgiving Day fumble. Which is fine, but when James Starks fumbled the ball later that game near the goal line, he was rolled back out moments later for the next drive in the red zone. Eddie Lacy is in Mike McCarthy’s doghouse.

Finishing the game with five rushes four four yards, adding a reception for a loss of three, Lacy’s day has thrown a thick layer of fog over the Green Bay running back position. Again. This was further confused by the elevation of running back John Crockett from the practice squad prior to the game, who took the place of the released Alonzo Harris.

Crockett, who I profiled with some optimism here in May, opened the second half in the Green Bay backfield and flashed explosiveness en route to 22 yards on five carries. The North Dakota State product has excellent open-field potential, too, so if he’s set for some increased snaps, I’d hope that Mike McCarthy will allow him to eat into some of James Starks’ inclusion in the receiving game.

So where does this leave Lacy? The potential of an off-field problem is particularly worrying, especially if McCarthy is already allowing it to limit his game day snaps. Frankly, Lacy didn’t look like the most interested human being in Detroit throughout last night’s game.

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Unfortunately, unlike Starks or Crockett, Lacy does not profile well as a 6-to-8 carry running back. His talent comes in building carries through the early stages of the game and wearing down defenses, helping to run out the clock with a power running style after Rodgers and company grab the lead. That’s not happening with this usage level.

Combined with an offensive line currently in shambles and a wide receiver group still miles from answers, Lacy’s struggles are another log on the fire with this Green Bay offense. The second half against Detroit sent things in the right direction, but at this point, Lacy might be watching most of the show from the bench.