GREEN BAY, Wis. — With less weight and more burst, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy is feeling good.
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He’s not done yet.
Four months after coach Mike McCarthy called him out publicly for playing at too heavy of a weight last season, Lacy took part in the Packers’ first open-to-the-public organized team activity practice of the spring Tuesday. He appeared lighter and Lacy made it clear that his offseason diet and workout changes paid dividends.
"I feel like I handled it well and I held up my end of the bargain," Lacy said. "It’s a process. I’ve got to keep going and just keep hoping for the best."
After back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in his first two years in the NFL, Lacy ran for only 758 yards last season, though his weight was only one of the reasons. Lacy also was benched for a game for a curfew violation, was inactive for another game and saw his playing time curtailed because of an ankle injury and some fumbling issues.
But his weight certainly became the focus after McCarthy’s public criticism, and Lacy responded by working with P90X fitness guru Tony Horton, mixing in basketball and boxing workouts. Lacy also said he altered his eating habits.
"Some things were harder than others. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the result," Lacy said. "Whether it’s fun or not, you’ve just got to get it done."
Asked if he was bothered by McCarthy’s comments after the team’s season-ending playoff loss to Arizona in January, Lacy replied, "We’re all grown men. Whether he calls me out, I just have to take care of that responsibility. You don’t get mad or lash out or anything like that. You just take it as it is what it is and make it go away."
Judging from McCarthy’s comments Tuesday, the coach wants to see more progress from his running back.
"Eddie’s like a lot of our team right now. We’ve got a lot of work to do," McCarthy said. Later, when asked if he was happy with where Lacy is, McCarthy replied, "Yeah, so far so good. . Eddie will be fine. I believe he’ll hit the target that we’re all looking for when the lights come on."
The Packers also believe that wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered in an Aug. 23 preseason game, is on target to be ready for training camp and the team’s Sept. 11 season opener at Jacksonville.
During Tuesday’s practice, Nelson took part in the team stretching period but then departed practice for a time and went inside. Nelson emerged later in practice and ran routes and made cuts on his own while catching passes from an assistant coach.
McCarthy indicated that the next step will be to have Nelson work against a defender, then eventually return to 11-on-11 drills.
"I know what I need to do and want to do to be ready to go come training camp, and that’s where we just need to get to," Nelson said. "So, when I leave here at the end of the minicamp, I’m ready to go, I don’t have anything to worry about come August. That’s just where I want to get to, and we’ll be there."
The Packers have two more weeks of OTA practices before their mandatory full-squad minicamp June 14-16.