Ben Sirmans spent last season as the St. Louis Rams’ running backs coach, so he didn’t have first-hand experience with Eddie Lacy’s battle of the bulge.
Sirmans, however, is thrilled with what he’s seen out of his slimmed-down star pupil.
“Even just looking at yesterday with us being in pads, he had a couple runs that we would see him press the hole, get right on top of the offensive linemen, utilize some quick feet and just take off in bursts,” Sirmans said on Friday. “He had a screen the other day where he kind of did the same thing. Right after the catch, you saw his acceleration downfield, really doing a good job of finishing his runs. Everything I remember back when I looked at him when he was coming out (of Alabama) in terms of him having really good feet for a guy his size, I was able to see those things.”
Because of Lacy’s weight and, perhaps just as importantly, because defenses focused on taking him away due to the passing-game limitations, he finished with 620 fewer total yards and eight fewer touchdowns last season.
“He’s a good player,” associate head coach Tom Clements said. “He’s worked hard in the offseason to become a better player and become physically stronger and more stamina. He’s the same Eddie, but hopefully a little better.”
It’s not just Lacy’s remarkable combination of size and agility that has impressed Sirmans, who coached Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley last season. The happy-go-lucky Lacy is a good student, too.
“I think the biggest thing with him that I’ve noticed is, in the classroom, he answers all the questions that I throw at him,” Sirmans said. “He takes tremendous pride when we’re doing pass protection and making sure that he’s 100 percent in his answers and doing the right thing. When a guy has a lot of pride in his craft, usually he’s going to give you everything that he has. That’s what I’ve seen so far, so I’ve been pretty pleased with him. I think he’s a lot smarter than people think in terms of his football IQ. It’s pretty high.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.