Monday, July 13, 2015, 2:23pm
For the third straight year, the Packers enter the season knowing who their top two running backs are. Training camp and the preseason will be used to figure out a new third option.
Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 1,472 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014. That’s a slight drop from their collective production the prior year (1,671 yards and 14 TDs) when they were relied on more during quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ injury absence.
The story pointed out Neal was making a bid for a roster spot last summer, only to be sidelined the rest of camp with a knee injury. He was placed on injured reserve at the first roster reduction and was eventually brought back to the practice squad right after last season’s bye week. Spending the rest of his rookie season in Green Bay appeared to pay dividends for Neal this past spring, as he got a lot of work during OTAs and showed trustworthy hands catching passes out of the backfield, the story added.
The only thing that can put Eddie Lacy on pause is the sub-freezing temperature of the Wisconsin outdoors that inflames his lungs.
But while an asthma attack sidelined him for a portion of the second quarter, the Green Bay Packers running back roared back and ended up with 101 yards on 19 carries against the respected Dallas run defense ranked No. 8 in the NFL this season.
"I had a real good first drive. And then...."
And then he had to tell running backs coach Sam Gash that he couldn't breathe. Backup running back James Starks was sent in, and Green Bay fell behind, 14-7, trailing at home for the first time since Week 2 against the New York Jets. All Lacy could do was warm up with a jacket and wait for his inhaler to help him out.
"You know your body is good enough to go out and play," said Lacy. "But ... you just can't breathe. And it's a breathing thing. It's not something you want to go out and risk...risk something bad happening. There's nothing I can do about it. It's a medical condition. I take my inhaler, I do everything I'm supposed to do. When it happens, it happens."
Lacy's absence early in the game was puzzling given the stage and his performance early on. He returned to the game and was a key to the Packers' ability to pull out the win. The team will need him next week to slow down Seattle's pass rush.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
Packers RB Eddie Lacy (hip, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 15. Lacy is now considered likely to play against the Bills. It’s a homecoming game for James Starks (born in Niagra Falls, NY), and we’re expecting Starks to see more than the usual five or so carries this week due to Lacy’s injury.
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 6:32pm
Packers RB Eddie Lacy (hip) took limited practice reps again Thursday. He reportedly didn’t do much of anything at practice. Lacy’s chances of playing have seemingly taken a turn for the worse. On Thursday, Lacy said he had “some things” that he needed to “figure out,” adding that he didn’t want to put the team at a disadvantage if he can’t play effectively. This sounds ominous. Owners should pick up James Starks (if available) as insurance in case Lacy can’t play against the Bills.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 6:25pm
Packers RB Eddie Lacy (hip) took limited practice reps Wednesday. We’ll be watching Lacy’s practice participation on a short week, but the team doesn’t seem too concerned about the injury. Owners should pick up James Starks (if available) as insurance in case Lacy’s injury is more serious than advertised.
It turned out Lacy sustained a hip bruise late in the game that prevented him from finishing. Lacy said he thought he would be OK despite the short turnaround to Sunday's game at Buffalo, but he couldn't go at the end against the Falcons.
"I mean I tried, but no," Lacy said.
Lacy and Starks combined for 148 yards rushing (Starks had 10 carries for 75 yards, while Lacy had 13 carries for 73 yards) and each scored a rushing touchdown. Lacy also caught a touchdown pass, but it was Starks who was there at the end.
"He had a great game out there tonight," Lacy said of his backfield mate. "And we have to go out and continue to do this for the rest of the season."
If you're a Lacy owner and Starks is on your wire, you may want to grab him. There could be some cause for concern that Lacy couldn't make his way back in in a close game, but beat writer Ty Dunne tweeted later on Tuesday that the team doesn't seem overly concerned about the injury. The Packers play at Buffalo in Week 15, and after playing on Monday night it is a short week. We'll continue to monitor him this week.
Saturday, November 8, 2014, 2:17pm
"James Starks is under contract through 2015, and Eddie Lacy is signed through 2016. Right now, they look like a good combination. But how many running backs do three contracts with the same team? That would be Starks if he did another deal after this one. By the time he's a free agent again, he will have just turned 30. The Packers appear to be preserving Lacy by limiting his carries this season. That suggests they want to keep him around for more than just one contract, but the shelf life for running backs is so short that at this point nothing's guaranteed. Lacy runs so hard and takes on so much contact that you wonder what he'll be like after four seasons."
Lacy hasn't put up the fantasy numbers owners hoped when they took him in the first round. But it appears the team is trying to keep his snaps under control, perhaps for the second half of the season and into a playoff run. The Pack's schedule is pretty favorable the next five weeks, at least in terms of going against defenses that allow fantasy points to RBs. It's possible we start to notice Lacy a little more.
Friday, October 24, 2014, 6:26pm
Packers RB James Starks (ankle, probable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 8. Starks will play, but teams generally have a tough time running the ball in New Orleans.
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm
Packers RB James Starks (ankle) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. It looks like Starks is on track to play.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 6:13pm
Packers RB James Starks (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. We’ll monitor his progress this week. If Starks can’t play, Eddie Lacy would be a safer start, while DuJuan Harris would serve as his primary backup.
The best rushing game of the season for the Green Bay Packers featured Eddie Lacy and James Starks each playing 50% of the offensive snaps. In drilling the Minnesota Vikings for 151 combined yards, the two played 27 offensive snaps apiece.
Don't expect this formula to change much Sunday at Miami. It appears the Packers plan to maintain a split.
Position coach Sam Gash views both as "complete" backs. And the 2013 rookie of the year benefited from the shared workload — Lacy was fresh for those second-half haymakers.
"To keep them fresh, I think is very important," Gash said. "To keep them fresh throughout the course of a game because we want to obviously get into a rhythm and get going."
This is fine in theory, but Lacy is the better back. As long as he's running well, the team will continue to lean on him. He may not dominate touches like he did against the Bears, but he should see 60-70 percent of the carries the rest of the way.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 8:26pm
It was the second time in four games this season that Starks failed to carry the ball.
"James Starks should touch the football every single game," McCarthy said Tuesday. "That will not happen again."
Expect Starks to have some kind of role in Thursday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Considering he has averaged 5.0 yards per carry on his limited (15) attempts this season, perhaps that could jump-start a running game that has sputtered through the first four games. Lacy did score a TD last week but carried 17 times for only 48 yards. His schedule starts to ease a little so now looks to be the time for Lacy to step up.
A sophomore slump is in effect. Through three games, running back Eddie Lacy is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry. He has been overwhelmed thus far, not overpowering.
So Monday, with that 19-7 loss to Detroit still stinging, coach Mike McCarthy challenged the 2013 offensive rookie of the year.
"Eddie needs to play better," McCarthy said. "I don't correct individuals in the media. We've seen the film, corrections have been made, our running game wasn't nearly what it needed to be. Not even close."
Lacy had multiple opportunities to reach the second level in the Packers' 19-7 loss at Detroit, yet finished with only 36 yards on 11 uneventful carries. Five of his 11 attempts netted zero or negative yardage. One key second and 1 on the Packers' last offensive gasp, Lacy bounced a run wide with a lane wide open on the left side and was taken down for a loss of four yards.
This season Lacy has arguably been the team's biggest disappointment, the story points out. There was so much hype leading into the season and Lacy was taken in many fantasy drafts as a mid-to-late first rounder. McCarthy added the run game is nowhere near what their plan was for it at the beginning of the season. OC Tom Clements addressed some missed blocks, however, the story also pointed out that RB2 James Starks was effective, burning the Lions for 4.8 yards per carry on his eight attempts. Asked if he considered sticking with Starks after his success, McCarthy he'd "go with the flow of the game." It very well be a motivational tool to get Lacy going, but if owners can grab Starks it may not be a bad idea.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 7:02pm
Packers RB Eddie Lacy (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Lacy is working his way through the league’s concussion protocol and should suit up in Week 2. It’s not a good matchup against the Jets, who are historically stingy against the run. James Starks would get the start if Lacy can't go, but he's expected to be active.
Earlier on Friday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said running back Eddie Lacy has cleared the first step of the NFL’s concussion protocol. Per a league source, Lacy is optimistic that, in the next nine days, he’ll clear them all.
Lacy, who suffered a concussion last September and missed the next game because of it, has some extra time to get ready given that the Packers played on the opening Thursday of the season. On September 14, the Packers face the Jets.
It was a crushing blow to owners to grabbed Lacy in drafts. Lacy has now sustained two concussions in 16 career regular-season games. The Packers have high aspirations for Lacy in 2014; if he develops a concussion problem, it will be difficult for him to meet those goals. James Starks could see a lot of work if Lacy is out, but the team also likes DuJuan Harris and both should get work in the Packers high-paced offense. We'll continue to keep you updated on his status but owners should prepare with a backup plan.
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