Bears defensive end Willie Young (97) and strong safety Ryan
Mundy (21) tackle Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27)
during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 9,
2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY — Eddie
Lacy's stocky build is tailor-made to truck over defenders in the open
So it doesn't matter
much whether the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Lacy gets his touches by catch
or carry — once the Green Bay Packers running back gets going, he's
a load to bring down.
"It's all the
same to me. Get the football and get to run around a little bit,"
Lacy said. "It doesn't matter how I get it, whether it's run or
pass, it's just every opportunity make the most of it."
Lately, he's been
doing his damage through the air.
Last week, Lacy
turned a screen pass into a 56-yard touchdown, one of six scores for
the Packers in the first half in a 55-14 rout of the Chicago Bears.
In Green Bay's
previous game against New Orleans, Lacy had eight catches for 123
yards, including a 67-yard gain.
The Packers coaches
have said they are using the screen of late just as much as they did
earlier this season. Lacy has been targeted 15 times in the last two
games, half his targets for the entire year.
Whatever the reason,
it's working. The screen could be another useful weapon on Sunday
against the Philadelphia Eagles, who boast an aggressive defense.
Maybe a pass rusher
will think twice about going hard after Aaron Rodgers if all the
quarterback has to do is send a short toss to an open Lacy escorted by
"I think it's
going to help the guys out up front. For the main part, someone on the
pass rush gives us another way to make a big play," receiver
Jordy Nelson said. "The more you can do on offense, the more
effective you'll be, and the more effective the defense has to be on
Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) carries over a fallen
New Orleans Saints free safety Rafael Bush (25) in the second
half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26,
With 24 catches for
277 yards through nine games, Lacy has already surpassed the 257 yards
he gained on 35 receptions in 15 games in 2013.
In training camp,
Lacy could often be found spending extra time catching balls. Coach
Mike McCarthy said in the preseason that he was hoping to use all of
his backs, including Lacy, for entire series instead of alternating by
down or distance.
Lacy didn't spend
much time catching passes at Alabama, where coach Nick Saban
essentially just asked the running back to take the handoff and
bulldoze over the defense.
"I don't know
how good I was in the past. I'm just catching the ball," Lacy
wasn't the reason that Lacy was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year
The second-round pick
bulled his way for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns on 284 carries. He
helped hold the Packers offense together while Rodgers was sidelined
for much of the second half of the season with a left collarbone
This season, Lacy has
478 yards on 119 carries with four scores. His season-high on the
ground was Oct. 2 against Minnesota, when he ran for 105 yards on 13
McCarthy has said the
lower production is in part due to fewer opportunities in the Packers'
quick-strike offense. Rodgers has been playing pitch-and-catch lately
with top receivers Nelson and Randall Cobb.
But going to Lacy on
short passes can be just as effective as a handoff. Add in his carries
and catches, and Lacy has averaged 19 touches the last two weeks.
Lacy likes his
chances especially after catching a screen.
"You know you
might get pushed out of bounds if you go toward the sideline route,
but it's in our favor whenever you catch the ball and there (are) two
linemen" against two defensive backs, Lacy said. "It's
definitely in our favor."