GREEN BAY – Eddie Lacy says he’s back to his old self, and he sounds like a running back out to prove it Sunday night.
Battling an ankle injury much of the season, Lacy’s slow start to 2015 hit a low point with a career-worst stat line in Week 6 vs. San Diego – four carries for three yards.
The prevailing thought was a week of rest over the bye would get him healthy, and that appears to be true. The additional factor is that through film study, Lacy believes he’s been running with his pads too high, and he’s consciously working to correct that as well.
“I feel good,” Lacy said on Thursday. “I’m moving better. I’m hitting the holes better. I’m getting my pads lower. I felt like I was running high in the beginning part of this season. Just all in all, I feel like I’m getting back to where I was.”
Lacy doesn’t know whether the ankle injury and high pad level were related, but he’s paying closer attention to his fundamentals now. He didn’t recognize it until this past week, thinking everything was the same even though he was held under 50 yards rushing four times in the first six games this season.
“Watching film, I’ll notice that I’ll take a hit and I’ll break the tackle, but I’ll break it sideways, which will allow other people to come tackle me,” he said. “Versus in years past, my pads would be low so when I take the hit I’m still moving forward. So it’s just getting my pads down and getting back to basics.”
Lacy’s 260 rushing yards this season rank second on the team to James Starks’ 286. Both have one rushing touchdown.
Lacy may need to do the bulk of the work in Denver with Starks coming back from a hip injury. Starks, who topped 100 yards against the Chargers, sat out practice Wednesday but did return on Thursday as a limited participant.
As for the questions surrounding his weight, Lacy gave his usual response to just about everything: “I’m cool.”
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that Lacy is bigger than he was as a rookie, when he was listed at 230 pounds. Lacy has faced questions about his conditioning since his rookie season, but he said he hasn’t been fined on any weigh-in days, and he doesn’t believe it’s an issue in his performance.
“It depends on the person,” Lacy said. “Some people can carry a lot of weight, some people can’t. I’m not the smallest person, Brandon Jacobs wasn’t the smallest person, Jerome Bettis wasn’t the smallest person. Some people can just play like that. Not that I’m Jerome Bettis’ weight, but not everybody is meant to look like Adrian Peterson.”
Last year Lacy’s numbers were down early and his production picked up as the season went along. He had 547 rushing yards through 10 games and then racked up 766 over the final eight contests (six regular season, two playoffs).
Whether he’s headed for a similar resurgence in 2015 remains to be seen, but he’s pretty sure stat lines like his last one – four carries, three yards – won’t happen again.
“I’m cool, I’m confident, I’m ready,” he said.
Click here for all Packers-Broncos preview coverage