15 Days ’Til Camp: Lacy's Secret Skill

Eddie Lacy did more than fuel Green Bay's running game last season. You'll never believe these numbers from the league, which are among the best in the NFL and the best by a member of the Packers since the league began tracking this stat.

Eddie Lacy did a lot of great things in helping revive the Green Bay Packers’ dormant running game.

But who would have thought they drafted a more dangerous receiving threat than Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles?

According to the league’s statistical Web site, Lacy averaged 8.86 yards after the catch per catch last season. That ranked seventh in the league last season, and was more than Bush’s 8.70, Fred Jackson’s 8.49, Darren Sproles’ 7.30 and Matt Forte’s 6.96, among backs considered elite threats out of the backfield.

YAC per catch is a statistic that’s slanted toward running backs, as 15 of the top 16 in that category were backs. Lacy’s average catch was fielded 1.51 yards behind the line of scrimmage. With 8.86 of YAC, Lacy wound up averaging 7.34 yards per reception.

Based on average yards per catch, Lacy was well behind the aforementioned group of Bush (9.37 per catch), Jackson (8.23), Sproles (8.51) and Forte (8.03). Still, as a sure-handed back with the ability to turn nothing into something, the 230-pound Lacy’s stats are impressive.

Lacy caught 35 passes during three seasons at Alabama. During his rookie season for Green Bay, he matched that number. Impressively, he caught 79.5 percent of passes thrown his way. That ranked 12th in the league among all players. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Lacy dropped two passes. Among backs with at least 30 catches, only four had fewer drops than Lacy.

Lacy’s pass-catching skill, along with his strong performance in pass protection, are what made him a coveted three-down back. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Lacy allowed no sacks, one quarterback hit and two hurries or a total of three pressures. With 110 snaps in pass protection, that gave him a mark of 98.0 in PFF’s “Pass Blocking Efficiency” metric.

“He came in last year and, obviously, his rookie year, things are moving pretty fast,” new running backs coach Sam Gash said. “But at the end of the year, as you can see, things slowed down for him a little bit and he was very productive in all phases. Coming into this year, last year (former position) coach (Alex) Van Pelt did a great job of teaching these guys, giving them key words to help them remember things and stuff like that. I’m just basically coming in and trying to maintain that and make sure these guys don’t make mistakes.”

Lacy’s YAC-per-catch is the team’s best — regardless of position — since the league began tracking that figure in 2006. By season, the Packers’ leader in YAC per catch were Randall Cobb (5.69) in 2012, James Jones (7.11) in 2011, Brandon Jackson (8.44) in 2010, Greg Jennings (6.76) in 2009, Donald Driver (4.72) in 2008, Jennings (7.25) in 2007 and Ahman Green (8.70) in 2006.

Pass-Catching Backs

PlayerTeamAvg/YACAvg/CatchCatch Pct
LeSean McCoyPHI11.3110.3781.3
Joique BellDET10.3010.3276.8
Le’Veon BellPIT9.538.8768.2
Giovani BernardCIN9.439.1880.0
Chris JohnsonTEN9.438.2180.8
Jamaal CharlesKC9.399.9067.3
Eddie LacyGB8.867.3479.5
Rashad JenningsOAK8.748.1176.6
Reggie BushDET8.709.3767.5
Bilal PowellOAK8.697.5663.2
Fred JacksonBUF8.498.2371.2
Pierre ThomasNO8.346.6691.7
Marshawn LynchSEA7.898.7881.8
Knowshon MorenoDEN7.889.1381.1
Maurice Jones-DrewJAX7.677.3071.7

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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