Last year Eddie Lacy was crowned the Rookie of the Year and immediately after that, expectations ballooned.
People began comparing him to the Packers’ all-time leading rusher Ahman Green — which is completely off the mark.
First of all, Green had the ability to make staccato cuts as well as truck over defenders. In order for him to get past the first level and into more daylight, Green could slalom ski through the tightest of windows before lowering his pads and making unsuspecting defensive backs pay the price.
Lacy cannot do that. He does not have the foot speed or quickness to make multiple lane changes. He has to make a decision early in his route and stick with it.
That has been a reason for his early struggles this season — he has been seen running east and west too much.
Secondly, in Green’s second season as an NFL starter he caught 62 passes for nearly 10 yards a catch. He was a deadly weapon out of the backfield and caught 50 or more passes in four straight seasons.
Lacy is a sure target out of the backfield, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to get the ball. Last year he caught just 18 percent of the team’s passes and this year Lacy has only 9 percent. Granted, a big reason for the drop this year is Aaron Rodgers’ reluctance to dump the ball off rather than eat a sack, but 9 percent is a pretty low number.
Something else that should not be forgotten is that Green ran behind a much more capable offensive line. Lacy’s line began as something that had the makings of being impressive but Derek Sherrod is too slow to keep up with quicker defensive linemen.
But despite all that, Lacy still has a lot to showcase. He may not be another Green, but not too many can be.
Last year, the first time he cracked the century mark was in the fourth game against a pretty good Baltimore defense. And Sunday just happens to be the fourth game of the season.
I’m not saying that Lacy is going to explode on Sunday, but I am saying that it’s going to happen soon. He must be more decisive with his route running and not try to ad-lib ala LeSean McCoy, because that is not his game.
The reason that Lacy was the best rookie last year was because he knew that defenders did not want to tackle him in the third and fourth quarter. Late in games, defenders became skittish and he easily took advantage.
He needs to regain that edge. And what better place to hit the reset button than in Solider Field?
Just don’t expect him to resemble Green, because the Packers’ starting tailback needs to just focus on being Eddie Lacy.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn