The Green Bay Packers have endured two long years of, let’s say a less than impressive ground game. The Packers had gone 44 straight regular season games without a 100 yard rusher, but this all changed when the team decided to focus their energy on making the running game more of a threat in the offseason. This started when the Packers went into the 2013 NFL draft and were fortunate enough to have University of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy fall to the Packers in the second round. Lacy was known in college as being a powerful and punishing style of runner, and this was evident when the Crimson Tide took on Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2013 National Championship game. Lacy powered through the Fighting Irish defense for 140 yards on the ground and two scores.
The Packers hoped that Lacy’s style of running would translate to the NFL, and after the first half of the 2013 season, the signs are looking good that it will. Lacy started off slow in the first two games of the year and was injured in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, sustaining a concussion. Since Lacy has returned to the lineup, he has shown the promise that the Packers believed they would receive when they drafted him. Over the past four games of the season, he has rushed for 395 yards and scored two touchdowns.
This past week, Lacy gained 94 yards on the ground and one score against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings had to respect the Packers’ run game, something their NFC North rival has not had to do in quite a few years, but this season, the Packers have found their missing ingredient. Lacy, a big, 230 pound back, punished any would-be-tacklers who got in his way, bouncing off tacklers as if he was a bowling ball. The threat of the run that Lacy brings to the team forced the Vikings to respect the play action; the Packers can send a message to the rest of the league. If you don’t respect our run game, Lacy will make you pay; if you focus too much on the run game, 2011 MVP Aaron Rodgers will have his way all day long.
The addition of Lacy to this Packers team has helped the team overcome an onslaught of injuries to both sides of the ball and many key players such as Clay Matthews (Thumb), Randall Cobb (Broken Leg), and James Jones (Knee) — the list can go on and on. Lacy has brought balance back to this offense and helped build a resiliency that this team will need until their stars return later in the season. Lacy has been more than the Packers could have imagined as a second round pick, and the sky is the limit for Green Bay and Eddie Lacy.