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Eddie Lacy shows plenty of power

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Tyler Dunne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
October 14, 2013

BALTIMORE—When everybody was laughing at Eddie Lacy, Mike Daniels knew defensive players across the NFL had a much, much different take.

You remember the photo, the unflattering angle of Lacy catching a pass in a July practice. It set off a social-media fire. Right away, Daniels insisted the guys who have to tackle Lacy were shuddering, not snickering.

Inside the visitor’s locker room after Green Bay’s 19-17 win Sunday, the Packers’ defensive end leaned his head back in satisfaction.

“This is exactly what I was talking about,” Daniels said. “It is exactly what I was talking about. There’ll be a point where people dive out of his way and I can’t wait for that day to come. I really can’t.”

On Sunday, Lacy was again the one-man jackhammer giving Green Bay’s offense an attitude. With 120 yards on 23 carries, the rookie proved his extra weight is a good thing. Listed generously at 230 pounds, he barreled downhill and helped the Packers win in a new way.

Running hard against the Detroit Lions was one thing. Doing it on the road, at Baltimore, would be another.

“He’s a big, strong kid,” Daniels said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually puts his hand in the dirt and plays with us. But hey, he can run the rock so they might as well leave him over there.”

Against the Ravens, Lacy started fast and finished strong.

After cutting loose for gains of 10 and 37 yards on his first two carries, Lacy figured he’d have success against the aggressive Ravens’ front. Green Bay effectively swept defenders out of the play, and Lacy stayed patient. The way left tackle David Bakhtiari describes it, the hole drawn up on paper may not always be the hole that opens up on the field.

The Packers need a back capable of making the same on-the-fly reads as the line. Through these last two games, Lacy has.

Behind Josh Sitton and Bakhtiari, Lacy’s 37-yarder teed up a field goal. In the fourth quarter, he converted a third and 2 that bled the clock from 7 minutes 29 seconds to 4 minutes 20 seconds. Then, on the Packers’ final drive, his runs of 9 and 4 iced the win.

“They over-pursued a lot and our linemen pushed them past it which allowed for our cutbacks,” Lacy said. “And I hit it, got my pads low and just drove forward.”

The fumble, benching and all-around jitters at San Francisco could’ve fed self-doubt.

Lacy knew it’d “be a bumpy road,” that “nothing’s ever constant.” Since San Francisco, since the Week 2 concussion, he’s been making a conscious effort to put two hands around the football and stay reliable.

“There are always going to be ups and downs, but as a football player you have to overcome adversity,” Lacy said. “For me, mine was early in the season. My team did a great job of keeping my confidence up and not letting me get down on myself. They just keep telling me to run the ball.”

To Jermichael Finley, there’s only one other back built like Eddie Lacy. And, well, he’s not even in the NFL anymore—“Jerome Bettis,” he says. In the spring, Lacy was 238 pounds. His official weight now? That’s a mystery. But more than any number on a scale, Lacy needed to prove his conditioning was fine. .

So far, he’s not tapping out. After 46 carries in two games—staying on the sideline for only two series—Lacy’s conditioning has not been a problem.

And this frame, this build the Packers haven’t possessed in years at running back has been a benefit, not a detriment.

“He’s working hard to do the best he can to handle his weight,” Finley said. “But at the same time, if he can hold it and run like he’s been running, who cares? That’s my opinion.”

Right guard T.J. Lang said Lacy is “a load” and “a hell of a runner.” He’s not closing his eyes and bashing into a heap of bodies, either. Linemen say he’s making the right reads … then using weight to his advantage.”

As he walked out of the locker room, toward the team bus, Daniels made it clear. He doesn’t want to hear “that s-word”—soft—again. Not with the way Lacy is running, now with how the defense is stopping the run.

“The four-letter word,” Daniels said. “Don’t want to hear it.”



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