Now that the food stands have been cleared and cleaned, the lines are no longer on the field, and the Green Bay Packers team’s players – including Eddie Lacy - are scattered across the country taking up other interests with family and friends, it’s time to reflect.
We will try to keep things upbeat, but looking back on the 2013 season does not hold all good news. There were injuries to curb some real good player’s success, and a few games that were just heartbreakers, losing a valiant effort in the final minutes. An 8-7-1 record might work well for other teams, but not for this Green Bay Packers regime that has talent trickling down from the top of the team’s structure to the Gatorade boy.
That 8-7-1 record is one of the least successful seasons during the Packers’ past two decades of football.
Let’s start out in looking at how our rookies began their green & gold careers this past year. A couple of the best need mentioning no matter how they themselves think things worked out. Oftentimes a player’s college career seems so successful; as if they can’t be held down, with statistics piled high, and a new-found notoriety, giving these young stars a sense of “Superman syndrome.”
This new accomplishment helps build their egos until the reality of the NFL gives them a new dose of reality. The reality that in the NFL they run faster, hit harder, throw farther, and play each down as if the title on the line. Yet there are the seldom-found few who will immediately prosper, and do it gracefully as rookies.
Drafted players pose some risk and are not “automatic keepers” for any NFL team. A player fortunate enough to keep a spot, still must face the prospective obstacle of beating out the starter. Some do well, while others do not play at the pro level as they do in college. Most of the past year’s rookie crew deserves a sort of honorable mention, such as Chris Banjo, Micah Hyde, Datone Jones, Josh Boyd and even Michael Hill. They all should be back this coming August for the season.
Of these five 2013 rookies, Hill took a job with Tampa Bay, then came back to Green Bay, but hasn’t played in games enough (none as a Packer) holding a 2.6-yard average in 9 carries with the Buccaneers. TT is looking for improvements from Chris Banjo this season, shaking off the typical coverage mistakes, and we’ll see him develop into a solid asset. He shows promise.
Josh Boyd will be pushing for a backup role this year with the free agent signings, but most likely will not need to worry about another draft choice to compete for a roster spot. Having played due to injuries last season, some looked down on him, not knowing he was still a bit “green” when filling in. In any event, he shows enough promise to continue development. All three of these are winners of this year’s “Keeper Awards.”
This leaves us with the “Honorable Mentions.”
Last year the draft picks for the Packers were mainly defensive. Some are placed in position to take the status of the dual-position player, even when not fully enamored into professional football, creating more worth for the team as well as more to learn for the player.
This seems to create a breeding ground for immediate mistakes in the land of no-mistakes-tolerated, but also creates experience and more worth to the team for any player put under such terms. Nevertheless, there also are a few almost on the brink of creating a solid future for themselves.
This “dual position player” workings seems to almost be a trademark of the Thompson-McCarthy tenure, Micah Hyde and Datone Jones were two such players that played in all 16 games last season. Datone Jones, viewed as somewhat of a sure thing, did not meet all the expectations Thompson had for him, gets our “runner-up” – there was really no competition in selecting the top rookie this year. He came on like “gang-busters” from his first snap, right down to the last snap of the post-season.
The team needed a spark and in hindsight, as well as back then, at the time during the 2013 season, so many times the team needed that psychological kick-start, when playing like the slumping little old lady on the Geritol TV commercial years ago. In this commercial, she was so slow, feeling down in the dumps, needing some sort of boost to get some life back into herself.
So went the Green Bay Packers in the early part of the season. We found them occasionally needing a big play, as Eddie Lacy had done many times to”pick up” the team, and giving them that bounce in their steps, fortitude, and momentum. We saw a transformation of sorts, like after the sluggish little old lady took her Geritol (regularly) and was smiling moving along getting things done again, with spirit.
Eddie Lacy could be dubbed the Geritol Man for the Packers. He lifted the team, especially others within his squad. DuJuan Harris, on the few plays he ran, was doing a great job of imitating Eddie Lacy, who looked as if he was running with total abandon. He seems to make every one-one-thousandth of an inch count. I have news for you: it does in the NFL.
No two ways about it, no other came even close to Eddie Lacy in earning the Rookie of the Year for 2013. It was his style, his results on the field, his attitude after the carry to go along with his humble personality that helped him win. Eddie seems to be a spiritual being, beyond human almost. We cannot place Eddies stature on the team high enough with words. He’s a player every man on the team, as well as in the team offices not only is “awed” by, but can be imitated in their job performance.
Remember the “backyard” or “field accross the street” games played with neighbors when you were a child? When you went out for a pass you were Boyd Dowler or Max McGee, when throwing it you were Bart Starr, naturally running the ball Horning & Taylor – take your pick. While on defense Ray Nitschke on a sack, or Herb Adderley & Willie Wood Pick’s off a pass … etc. They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery there is. Everyone can see Lacy goes beyond others, taking the extra step, being the kind of worker they would imitate, running the football or saving an account at their jobs.
There is only one Eddie Lacy, with a Superman in Green & Gold we’ve seen Mike McCarthy, the play calling genius behind the Packers success not only calling on the running game more, but changing his offensive style. If I’d ever pulled the reins, it’s not to have the ball in Lacy’s hands any less than all of last season, it’s that in running a balanced run/pass attack, you are changing Rodgers timing and style, which we saw during the ending of the season, after returning from injury.
As it’s been noted so many times before, “We try and get the football in the hands of (player so and so) because he’s the best talent we have with the ball. This seems to be the trademark of winning teams that Packers have fielded for decades.
Eddie Lacy, our Player of the Year to go with Rookie of the Year, has it all.
Lacy’s style of running the ball speaks to you, saying, “Zero to 145 mph in one second,” “Turn it On,” “Run them over,” “turn it on, “spin around them”, “Jump over them,” “Keep your legs popping,” and “make them pay for the tackle” hitting defenders harder than they hit him.
There is no stopping Eddie. Defenders around the league know this, they voted for him. Eddie gets my vote, too, and I’d bet he’d come in 99 percent by the fans around Green Bay.
So just how will history see Lacy in the record books?
Here it is: During the 2013 season, Lacy played in 15 games, rushing 284 times for 1,178 rushing yards – a whopping 4.1-yard average per carry.
Congratulations, Eddie Lacy – NFL and Green Bay Packers Rookie of the Year.
There is no stoppin’ Eddie Lacy.