After the 2014 NFL Draft and the subsequent signing of undrafted free agents, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers must be salivating at the new toys given to them.
Like wide eyed children at Christmas, they most likely cannot wait to play with the shiny new Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis and Colt Lyerla.
On paper at least, the Green Bay passing attack looks as strong and as potent as ever. With all these new pass catchers at his disposal, McCarthy couldn’t forget last year’s “hot toy” running back Eddie Lacy could he?
Last season, even before the Packers drafted Lacy, McCarthy said the running game would be better and that the present media could write that in “big letters.” McCarthy delivered on that promise, thanks to the outstanding play of Lacy, the 2013 offensive rookie of the year.
Since the team didn’t have Rodgers for basically half the season, the Packers really had no choice but to ride the legs of Lacy. Lacy ran for over 1,100 yards and was key in keeping the team in the NFC North race until Rodgers returned.
All offseason fans have been drooling at the prospect of a fully healthy Rodgers and Lacy in the backfield. But will McCarthy remember that? Under McCarthy, albeit with less talented running backs than Lacy, the Packers have not been afraid to abandon the run at the first sign of trouble. With a porous defense, Green Bay has often had to keep throwing due to a close game or when they have been behind.
The defense appears much improved (on paper anyway), but the fact remains the Packers remain a pass first team even with Lacy in the backfield. While McCarthy has always preached balance on offense until last season, thanks to the absence of Rodgers, the team never really made a concrete commitment to the rushing game.
Green Bay still lives and dies on Rodgers’ right arm but they showed last year they can stay afloat with Lacy carrying the team, a remarkable feat for a rookie.
This offense will shatter records with both of them healthy and on the field at the same time. Stack the box against Lacy? Rodgers kills you with playaction. Planning on dime to stop the receivers? Watch Lacy take the ball into the secondary.
The Packers finally have a running back that is a good counterweight to Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte and Reggie Bush.
Let’s just hope with all these shiny new toys in the passing game McCarthy brings Lacy out of the toy box too.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke