Lacy Could Provide Devastating Counterpunch

Rookie running back Eddie Lacy's impact on Saturday night went beyond his eight carries for 40 yards. We go inside his big night by breaking down one of Aaron Rodgers' long pass completions.

Eddie Lacy could return the Green Bay Packers' offense to an elite level.

Lacy's impact went beyond his eight carries for 40 yards in Saturday's night's 19-7 victory at St. Louis.

That was evident at the start of the second quarter, after consecutive Lacy runs of 11 and 2 yards moved the ball to Green Bay's 30. The Packers lined up in a pistol-like formation, with Aaron Rodgers in the shotgun, Lacy a couple yards behind Rodgers and tight end Jermichael Finley on the right side of the formation. The Rams were in their nickel package, with their strong-side linebacker at the 35 and the weak-side linebacker at the 34.

At the snap, Rodgers put the ball in Lacy's belly, bringing the strong-side linebacker charging toward the line of scrimmage. When Rodgers pulled the ball out Lacy's belly, the strong-side linebacker was at the 32. Rodgers fired quickly to Finley, who caught the ball at the 36 — about 1 yards from where the strong-side linebacker had been before the snap. The play fake left Finley wide open, and he sprinted for a 33-yard gain.

If Lacy can provide an impact running game when the games truly count, it will add a new dimension to an offense in which the play-action passing game practically disappeared last year. Due to an impotent running game, Rodgers was just 18th in the league in play-action completions and 15th in play-action yards, according to Rodgers completed 68.5 percent on regular passes and 61.1 percent on play action. Only three quarterbacks had a bigger differential than Rodgers' 7.4 percent.

Lacy, who missed the preseason opener with a sore hamstring, was brilliant. Because Alabama's offensive line was so good and because he was running against lesser competition, some scouts wondered if he'd be as effective in the NFL.

His first carry, however, showed that Lacy is capable of turning nothing into something big. Lacy spun away from a would-be tackler about 2 yards in the backfield and broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage. It took five defenders to bring Lacy down after a gain of 7.

"I still don't know how to explain it. I just do it," a laughing Lacy said about his spin move. "I don't know how to explain it."

On the next play, Rodgers used a play-action fake to Lacy and hit Finley for 25 to the Rams' 37. The next play went to Lacy. Again, he was confronted by a tackler in the backfield but Lacy got around the corner, which was sealed by right tackle Don Barclay. Lacy broke a tackle at the 32 and ran through more defenders at the 28. When he finally went down at the 22, at least seven defenders had gotten their hands on Lacy.

He added an 11-yard reception on the first snap of the second quarter. With the ball at the 17, Rodgers, with pressure coming, dumped the ball in the right flat to Lacy, who used his spin move at the 21 and finally was dragged down at the 28.

"For my first time being out there, I had a few opportunities just to show what I can do, and I was able to have positive runs and the positive catch as well," Lacy said. "I just want to take this moment and continue to get better."

Coach Mike McCarthy came away impressed with Lacy's ability to break tackles and accelerate through openings, as he did on his final carry of the night, an 11-yard run behind blocks from Finley, David Bakhtiari and Josh Sitton.

DuJuan Harris, who was held out of Saturday's game, remains No. 1 on the depth chart but needs to get on the field soon after missing most of camp with a knee injury. James Starks has had a strong camp but wound up on the bench after fumbling. Alex Green has been inconsistent because of questionable running instincts. Rookie Johnathan Franklin looks like nothing more than a role player.

"Eddie Lacy, you go back to his college film, he doesn't waste any steps and that's something that I always look at in a running back, particularly the ability to get north and south with his body type," McCarthy said. "We wanted to give him some opportunities. I had a chance to briefly visit with him before the game. I just want to make sure he was all the way back from his injury, and I think that was evident tonight. He clearly took advantage of his opportunities."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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