Rumors regarding the Green Bay Packers roster are swirling after their overtime playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and running back Eddie Lacy’s future with the team is apparently in jeopardy. After breaking out in his first two seasons in the NFL, Lacy looked like a top three running back. While he was always one of the larger backs in the league, he came into the 2015 season overweight and much slower than before.
According to ProFootballTalk, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was extremely upset with Lacy’s weight and how he worked in the offseason. For a running back that had the potential to lead the league in rushing, Lacy clearly did not put in the necessary effort to get himself in the required shape. McCarthy spoke to reporters today about Lacy.
“Eddie’s got a lot of work to do. I’m stating the obvious. His offseason last year was not what it should be and he never recovered from it. He cannot play at the weight he did this year.”
While this may sound like an empty threat, McCarthy has already proven that he will sit Lacy if needed. In his rookie year in 2013, Lacy had 284 carries for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2014, he had 246 carries for 1,139 yards and nine touchdowns. One of the reasons for the fewer number of carries in 2014 was because the Packers were constantly pulling their starters early in games because of big leads. From 2013 to 2014, Lacy actually increased his average yards per carry from 4.1 to 4.6.
— FanSided (@FanSided) January 19, 2016
In 2015, Lacy had 187 carries for 758 yards and only three touchdowns. While he did battle a few minor injuries, he still appeared in 15 games, so it was not like he missed a ton of time. He just was not an effective player. Backup Green Bay Packers running back James Starks ended up with 148 carries, which was 63 more than the 85 he received in 2014. While they both only averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2015, it was close to a 50/50 committee between Lacy and Starks.
While Lacy’s regular season was a disappointment, he actually improved his output in the playoffs. In the first game against the Washington Redskins, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry on 12 carries. In the second game against the Arizona Cardinals, he averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 12 carries. Maybe McCarthy just needs to give him the ball more?
According to CBS Sports, Lacy has had to previously defend himself regarding his weight. In speaking to reporters, he claimed that not all running backs are built the same.
“I’m not the smallest person. Brandon Jacobs wasn’t the smallest person. Jerome Bettis wasn’t the smallest person. 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.”
This came in response to McCarthy responding to reporters about Lacy’s weight in October of 2015, according to ESPN.
“I’m not going to get into guy’s weights. I mean, I’ve never been asked a question about a guy’s weight. But I think players do get bigger in their career. But he’s bigger than he was as a rookie.”
While weight is a sensitive subject for many people, McCarthy has every right to be unhappy about his running back’s size. While Lacy is right when he claimed that many bigger running backs have been successful, Lacy is still an employee of the Green Bay Packers, and his team may feel as though he will not be as effective playing at a heavier weight.
Mike McCarthy tells Eddie Lacy to shape up or ship out https://t.co/ijc8itezNj
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 18, 2016
While the loss of Green Bay Packers star wide receiver Jordy Nelson may have allowed defenses to focus more on stopping the running game, a slimmer Lacy would still have been more effective in their offense, according to McCarthy.
While the rumors will continue to swirl regarding Lacy’s future with the Green Bay Packers, it appears as though McCarthy is not bluffing. If Lacy does not come into camp in better shape, he will either receive less playing time than he did in 2015, or he will be traded or released by the Packers.
[Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]