Eddie Lacy’s preseason got off to a terrific start.
Then again, he got off to a terrific start last year, as well.
In last year’s preseason opener against New England, Lacy carried five times for 36 yards, including a 15-yard burst. In Friday night’s preseason-opening victory over Cleveland, Lacy played one series and carried the ball on each of the first four snaps, gaining 24 yards with an 11-yard dash.
“We wanted to run the ball,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Eddie and James (Starks) is our one-two punch. That's been an excellent combination now going into our third year with those two guys. It's important to establish that and make sure those guys touch the football.”
What Lacy’s strong start means going forward is the question that could define the success or failure of this year’s team. Last year, as he lost his own version of the Battle of the Bulge, Lacy finished with 620 fewer yards from scrimmage and eight fewer touchdowns compared to 2014.
If there’s one number that bodes well for Lacy from Friday night, it’s this one: According to our unofficial data, Lacy picked up 16 of his 24 yards after contact.
While Lacy’s body composition clearly has changed, the players and coaches haven’t been effusive with their praise of the fourth-year back. Either they’re weary of the weight questions. Or they’re in wait-and-see mode before saying their star running back is back. After the game, second-year back John Crockett, who is leading the charge to win the No. 3 job, offered the most resounding praise anyone has offered of Lacy to date.
“He looks like he’s a little faster, he’s quicker, he’s more agile,” Crockett said. “I feel like he really took everything seriously and he came back ready to go.”
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.