It’s too early to give up on Packers RB Eddie Lacy

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has struggled to start the season and may still be hampered by an ankle injury; luckily the BYE week comes at the right time.
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

The Packers are 6-0, but that doesn’t mean that owners of foam cheese headwear have nothing to worry about.

Running back Eddie Lacy appeared to hit rock bottom in Sunday’s 27-20 win over the Chargers, running the ball four times for a career-low three yards while James Starks toted the ball 10 times for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Lacy still seems to be hampered by an ankle injury he suffered early in the season. After running for a season-high 90 yards in a Week 4 win at San Francisco, Lacy dipped to 27 yards in a 24-10 win over the Rams before his three-yard performance Sunday.

The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the Packers. If Lacy’s ankle is still bothering him, he has a chance to heal up before a showdown of unbeatens at Denver on Nov. 1. The Broncos (6-0), also will be coming off their bye week.

Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett hasn’t lost faith. "On Eddie Lacy: Just getting healthy. That’s really the No. 1 thing. Once he comes back from the break he’ll feel a whole lot better."

Denver is fifth in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 89.2 yards per game. So even if Lacy turns in another clunker in the Mile High City, it doesn’t mean he’s washed up at 25.

Look at what happened last season. Lacy ran for a total of 161 yards, averaging three yards per carry, in the first four games. Only in two games against the Vikings did Lacy run for more than 69 yards in the first 11 games. But beginning in Week 10, Lacy averaged at least 4.67 yards per carry in six straight games. He averaged 3.85 yards in the regular-season finale, but still ran for 100 yards.

Then in the playoffs, Lacy carried the ball 19 times for 101 yards in a 26-21 divisional win over the Cowboys.

Lacy’s 2014 season was full of peaks and valleys, but he still finished with 1,139 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s comparable to the 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns that earned him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. Don’t be surprised to see Lacy gravitate to that standard in 2015.

Starks has held the fort during Lacy’s slump. But he hasn’t carried the ball more than 133 times in a season, and that was in 2011.

Lacy is an all-weather back who can churn out the tough yards in wintry conditions later in the season. Eight of his 20 career rushing touchdowns have come in December. He’ll again be the workhorse when the thermometer drops as the Packers gear up for another deep playoff run.

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