Packers' Lacy looks to get rolling
GREEN BAY -- At some point over the past week or so, Eddie Lacy noticed something different on film about how he was running with the ball.
He was hitting the hole more upright, making it easier for a defender to take him down. Maybe this is why the Packers' bullish running back is off to another sluggish start.
A sprained right ankle in Week 2 didn't help, either. A bye week gave Lacy rest, and the third-year back noticed his glitch on film.
"I'm moving better, I'm hitting the holes better, I'm getting my pads lower," Lacy said Thursday. "I felt like I was running high in the beginning part of this season. I don't know, I feel like I'm getting back to where I was."
Green Bay could use a vintage Lacy on Sunday night in Denver against the Broncos' tough defense in a matchup of 6-0 teams.
"I just go based off what he's done the last couple days and he looks like he's starting to get back to himself," coach Mike McCarthy said.
At his best, the 5-foot-11, 234-pound Lacy is a punishing counter-punch for an offense that relies on the precision passing of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Lacy is also a slow starter, with 260 yards on the season on 67 carries, averaging 3.9 yards a carry. In the Packers' last game against San Diego, backup James Starks started and ran for 112 yards on 10 carries. Lacy finished with 4 yards on three carries. He said he wasn't limited by his ankle injury, and understood why McCarthy stuck with Starks given the backup's production.
Last year through six games, Lacy had 306 yards on 80 carries, averaging 3.8 yards an attempt. He finished with 1,139 yards for that season on 246 carries, averaging 4.6 yards.
So what has happened so far this season?
"I noticed I would take a hit and I would break the tackle, but I would break it sideways, which allows other people to come tackle me, versus in years past my pads would be low," Lacy explained, "so when I take the hit, I'm still moving forward. It's just getting my pads down and getting back to basics."
The lack of production doesn't fall just on Lacy's broad shoulders.
Defenses don't have to keep two safeties deep as much anymore with deep-threat receiver Jordy Nelson sidelined with a torn right ACL. Most of the other main receivers have dealt with lingering injuries.
"There (are) things that we can clean up. We can be better, I know that for sure," right tackle Bryan Bulaga said about run blocking. "We have to take full advantage of it and move people off the ball and give James and Eddie ... room to operate."
On Thursday, McCarthy was also asked whether Lacy's weight was affecting the ability to do his job. It's a topic of interest among some Packers fans on radio shows and Internet message boards.
"I would say not. There's more into it than just what you weigh on a scale. This is for every player," McCarthy said.
That process, McCarthy said, includes coordinating with the strength coach and nutritionist, along with trainers and other coaches, about body composition and related issues.
The easygoing Lacy answered questions in stride.
"Some people can carry a lot of weight. Some people can't. I'm not the smallest person ... Jerome Bettis wasn't the smallest person," said Lacy, referring to the Hall of Fame running back listed at 255 pounds during his playing days.
"Some people can just play like that, not that I'm Jerome Bettis' weight or nothing like that. I'm just saying, not everybody's meant to look like Adrian Peterson or somebody like that," Lacy added.
Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings star, is listed at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds.
If this was truly a weight problem, the running back would hear from general manager Ted Thompson "and I'm pretty sure that's not a conversation I'm trying to get into," Lacy said.
NOTES: Starks (hip) was limited for Thursday's extended practice after missing Wednesday. ... Cornerback Damarious Randall (ankle) was added to the injury report. The rookie said he would be ready to play Sunday. ... Receiver Davante Adams (ankle), safety Morgan Burnett (calf) and defensive tackle B.J. Raji (groin) were limited in practice for a second straight day.