Cory’s Corner: Eddie Lacy is no Ahman Green, but is still special

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.

Ahman Green played eight seasons for the Packers and finished as the team's all-time rusher with 8.322 yards.
Ahman Green played eight seasons for the Packers and finished as the team’s all-time rusher with 8,322 yards. He is also eighth on the Packers’ all-time receiving list with 350 receptions.

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- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


10 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Eddie Lacy is no Ahman Green, but is still special

  1. Not very similar runners at all, in my opinion.

    I might take a little bit of issue with the idea that Green was a shifty, make-you-miss sort of runner. He certainly had more “juke” in his game than Lacy does, but I still saw Green as more of a one-cut, “stick your foot in the ground and go” sort of guy. He certainly wasn’t close to a Barry Sanders type who could fake you out of your jock even when you had him dead-to-rights. (I know that’s setting the bar pretty high, of course.)

    Also, Green was waaaaaaaaaaay faster than Lacy. In fact, Green was not only one of the fastest players in his day, he was one of the fastest players EVER. It was rumored that he had run a 4.2 forty at the combine, but I think that may have been an exaggeration. (This was back in the day when we didn’t have wall-to-wall combine coverage). But still, Green was blazing fast. Lacy, on the other hand, would be one of the slower starting RBs today.

    Lacy has way more power than Green did. Yeah, Green could run over a few guys too, but he wasn’t the runaway bolling ball that Lacy is.

    The biggest thing with Lacy right now is that he needs to be more DECISIVE. Don’t think about it, don’t try to bounce it outside, just see your crease and hit it. That’s his game.

    This may be a bit controversial, but I put a little bit of the fault on Lacy for that safety against Detroit. Yes, the blocking up front was abysmal, but it seemed to me that Lacy was to follow Lang, and Rodgers was to “escort” the DE to the outside, and Lacy should have hit it up inside of Rodgers and the DE. But it looked like he tried to bounce it outside when he saw that Lang totally missed his block. OK, it’s a tough situation for a RB, but I think that if Lacy had just tried to take on the linebacker instead of bouncing outside he might have made it out of the end zone. Just my thoughts…

    1. I agree in part and disagree in part with your post. Ahman Green was really good and I agree with your comparison with Lacy. I disagree that the safety was in any way Lacy’s fault. I disagree that Lacy is dancing too much or is not just putting his shoulder down and using his power. Last year a lot of articles lauded Lacy’s patience in waiting for his blocking to come to fruition and then hitting the hole or the crease. Last year’s patience is this year’s “dancing” or running east to west. We can debate whether Lacy is simply not seeing the crease of the hole, or whether said crease or hole is simply not materializing this year. Vision is very subjective. Without All-22 or at least being able to watch the game a few times, it is very difficult to tell whether a RB has the “vision” thing. PFF notes that over the 1st 3 games Lacy on average is experiencing contact a measly 0.7 yards past the line of scrimmage. Lacy is gaining 2.51 yards after contact, which is better than his 2.28 YAC average last year (which was good for 4th in the NFL). As for the safety, here is a link to an article with video of the play:

      X’s & Os is not my forte. I had hoped to see an article by Jay on this play. Detroit is playing a 4-3: I don’t see a safety within 10 yards of the LOS. On the play, Quarless and Bakhtiari seal off the RDE and ROLB w/o incident. Linsley seals off the RDT. Bulaga blocks down on the LDT, but is a little slow and the LDT gets some penetration (LDT is actually in the end zone) but is sealed off just enough from the play. Sitton pulled and blocked the MLB at the 2nd level. It is not clear to me whether his target was Levy (who is the LOLB), or the MLB. Sitton had no chance at Levy after Bulaga was slow blocking down on the LDT, who got penetration. Sitton has to pick his way around Linsley, who did a decent job sealing off the RDT, and has to go over (i.e. down field) and around Bulaga and the LDT to get to the LB level. Rodgers just gets badly blown off the LOS by the LDE, about 2+ yards deep into the end zone. I am not sure whether Lang is supposed to double Jones, the LDE, and then pick off a LB at the 2nd level. I note the LDE
      lined up outside of Rodgers’ right shoulder, in what I would call 9 wide technique in an over front, meaning Jones (the LDE) is a long
      way from Lang. What is clear is that Lang moves immediately to his
      right at the snap, rather than firing out towards the 2nd level, even
      though there is no one across from him. When Lacy actually gets the handoff about 3 yards deep in the end zone, Jones is in the end zone and Levy is at the goal with a full head of steam. Plus, the LDT is also a yard deep in the end zone and is facing Lacy with no blocker impeding him (Bulaga got just enough but is on the ground at this point). Richard Rodgers is 2 to 3 yards into the end zone and is literally almost directly to Lacy’s right and is falling backward when Lacy gets the handoff.

      Any person who knows Xs & Os better than I do (which is a lot of people) is free to disagree with what I have written. I would love to learn. One person suggested that R Rodgers was supposed to loop around and block Levy with Lang being responsible for blocking the DE. IDK about that.

      1. I can respect your views on this, but regarding the safety, I guess I’ll stick with my opinion. Even the article you linked said, “This play was ONLY PARTIALLY Lacy’s fault.” In other words, it WAS partly Lacy’s fault.

        As I said before, the blocking was abysmal, and we can hardly put all the blame on Lacy. But go and watch the video again. Lacy clearly breaks his momentum, jump-steps to the right, and slams directly into R. Rodgers. My argument would be that he should not have done that. Given that he is in his own end zone, he should have lowered his shoulder and barreled forward directly toward the goal line. Yes, the linebacker was coming in hot, and he might still have been stopped short. But hopping to the right, losing his head of steam and slamming into Rodgers eliminated any chance of avoiding the safety.

        Again, I’m being pretty picky about Lacy here. The REAL problem was the horrible blocking.

        1. Lacy did jump-step to the right but R. Rodgers is in his way. Levy isn’t a big LB; he is only 235 pounds. So, upon reconsideration, and after watching it again as you suggested, Lacy’s best course probably was to lower his shoulder and try to power through or beat Levy. Fault seems a little harsh since there was no where to run, really, but I agree now that you point it out that Lacy’s best option was to power ahead to try to push Levy back 2+ yards or break the tackle.

          I only linked to that article because it showed the play, not because I agreed with the author. I didn’t agree with that author, who wrote that both guards looked lost on the play. Sitton picked off the MLB, after all, which appears to have been his assignment. I guess that I have been defending Lacy quite a bit, despite MM calling him out publicly. I think the running problems start with the poor blocking of Sherrod and Rodgers, and some on Bakhtiari, who seems to be getting better as the season progresses.

  2. One season does not make a RB “special”. At this stage of their careers, Lacy is not even close to what Green was. He certainly can be and I expect that he will be at some point. Green himself, early in his career, was not even close to the RB he became later in GB. His days in Seattle were not good. Patience was the key. Same thing with Lacy. He will continue to become a better pro as he plays. Chicago is always a good place to start! GoPack!

  3. Lacy is a smash mouth straight ahead runner, and a good one at that. He needs to stop trying to audition for “Dancing With The Stars” and get back to running straight ahead…

  4. The article and posts make good points, and its nice to reminisce about Ahman Green. The guy was great, and really, really underated. At this time Lacy is no Green. At this point in their careers Lacy is way ahead of where Green was in his career. Talent, speed, styles… they are very different. They played for different coaches with different philosphies who used them differently.. This discussion is years ahead of when we should really be having it. Will we ever be able to say Lacy was no green or Green was no lacy? Let me put it this way was Green as good as Jim Taylor. Was Jim Taylor as good as Green. God willing, Lacy has a long productive career and then we can resume this discussion with better basis.

  5. Exactly, be Eddie and you’ll be superb. If you try to be somebody else, you’ll be just pale copy!

  6. If Lacy once again appears to run east-west when the north-south opening(size is moot) is there,because he’s suppose too…perhaps having suffered two concussions this quickly has him …thinking………..just saying. 🙂

  7. No need to panic about Lacy. The problem is two-fold: they’ve faced some of the elite run defenses in the first 3 weeks and the offensive line simply isn’t opening up the holes that it did last year. Lacy will bounce back against the Bears this weekend.

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