New RB coach tasked with getting Lacy going

February 19, 2016

GREEN BAYŚ Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has a new position coach, Ben Sirmans.

The effort to get Lacy's career back on track won't fall entirely on Sirmans, though.

After back-to-back seasons of 1,100-plus rushing yards, Lacy rushed for 758 last season. A few days after the playoff loss at Arizona, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Lacy was overweight and needed to report to camp in better physical condition.

Sirmans, who replaced Sam Gash, will have a role in that.

"Your strength, conditioning, training, nutrition, all those things" also will have a role, McCarthy said on Thursday. "And everybody's accountable to their area, and the position coach is ultimately accountable for the performance and the training of their players. But Eddie Lacy, conditioning and so forth, is something I have great confidence will improve or is improving as we speak, and he'll learn from his performance last season."

Sirmans spent the past four seasons as Rams running backs coach. Last year, first-round pick Todd Gurley rushed for 1,106 yards in 13 games to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. In Sirmans' first year with the Rams, he coached veteran Steven Jackson, a big back in the mold of Lacy, to a 1,000-yard season.

Sirmans has spoken to Lacy, but those discussions haven't gone past a personal level, he said.

"He seems like a great person," Sirmans said. "You can tell and get the sense that he's very hungry this year to really get ready to get after it. I spent a lot of time talking about myself because he has to feel comfortable with me as his head coach, and from that giving himself a chance to talk and tell me a little bit about his background. It was a pretty good conversation."

Along with the addition of Sirmans, the Packers hired Brian Angelichio as tight ends coach and promoted Luke Getsy to wide receivers coach. Last season, McCarthy made the unorthodox decision to have one man, Alex Van Pelt, coach the quarterbacks and receivers. Now, those duties have been split, with Van Pelt handling the quarterbacks.

"I think we had a plan last year. It wasn't executed obviously to the level we look to achieve," McCarthy said. "I think more has been made of it, frankly, as an excuse. With that, the excuses are over."

Angelichio spent the last two seasons as the tight ends coach in Cleveland, where Gary Barnidge blossomed into a Pro Bowler last year. His 79 receptions for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns dwarfed his production from his previous six seasons.

In Green Bay, he'll be asked to get more out of Richard Rodgers, a third-round pick in 2014 who caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

"Rich has some skill-set that you like," Angelichio said. "I'm continuing to evaluate and go through that as we do the cut-ups. Obviously, he was a productive player last year, showed good hands."

As is the case with Angelichio and the tight ends, Sirmans hasn't done an in-depth film study of Lacy, though he did recall having Lacy ranked No. 1 among running backs before the 2013 draft.

"I know that he's a very explosive player, got a ton of talent, strong, got great feet," Sirmans said. "Just to have a chance to be able to coach a guy with those type of attributes I'm really excited about."

His task will be getting Lacy back among the top running backs in the game. In 2014, Lacy averaged 4.6 yards per rush and caught 42 passes. In 2015, Lacy averaged 4.1 yards per rush and caught 20 passes. In the playoff game against the Cardinals, Lacy broke into the clear for a 61-yard run. At one point, he was 5 yards ahead of every Cardinals defender. By the time he was tackled, five defenders had caught up to him. The hope is a slimmer Lacy will be more explosive and have more stamina.

"Obviously, he'd be a little bit quicker and, in this league, quickness and those things, they do matter," Sirmans said. "I haven't really had a chance to really focus and see the difference between Eddie when he was lighter and to where he's at right now and to study those things. Those are some of the things that I want to do so that when he comes back and we sit down and start talking and develop a plan to help him to continue to get better, I have a great idea of what he needs to do from that standpoint."

Also, McCarthy promoted David Raih from coaching administrator to assistant offensive line coach and hired Ejiro Evero as defensive quality control coach.

 
























 

Associated Press