Eddie Lacy: Deserves Offensive Rookie of the Year Award


Eddie Lacy has been flying high all season long.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Eddie Lacy, the Green Bay Packers‘ gutsy, pounding, rock-solid running back has been everything as advertised and more.

And did I say the guy is a rookie? And did I say that if he isn’t selected as Rookie of the Year, it will be a travesty?

Yes, I’m a homer. I admit it. There are other guys out there … Keenan Allen for the San Diego Chargers; Le’Veon Bell for the Pittsburgh Steelers; DeAndre Hopkins for the Houston Texans, among others.

But when you look at the body of work over the course of his first season and his value to the team, Lacy has stood head and shoulders above the rest of the class. Despite playing only half of the first game of the season at San Francisco (because he fumbled in the first half), and despite missing two games with a concussion, Lacy ripped up the turf at home and on the road, powering and pounding by, through and around defenses. I still haven’t seen the guy hit the rookie wall and though he has played nearly the past month with a bum ankle, he’s played through pain because of his sheer determination and guts.

Many say that Lacy has been utilized a bit too much by the Packers – that he has taken a pounding like no other rookie in the league.

Maybe, maybe not.

Time will tell on that.

But if there’s anything that has endeared Lacy to the Green Bay Packers fanbase, it’s been his toughness, finesse and uncanny ability to find holes (yes, he has great vision and feet).

Eddie Lacy has been effective with and without Aaron Rodgers in the lineup.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

If there’s one run that exemplifies that fact, it was the touchdown run in the second half against the Chicago Bears last week when Lacy was hemmed in on a designed run up the middle. He stepped back, shot to the left and ran untouched into the end zone for his eleventh touchdown of his rookie season. That, in my mind, cemented his place atop the rookie of the year list.

The 22-year-old rookie from Alabama, whose 61st selection in the second round by the Packers surprised many, carried the ball 284 times for 1,178 yards (4.1-yard average), but he also caught 35 passes out of the backfield for 257 yards (7.3-yard average). In all, he had 1,435 yards from scrimmage.

For a rookie running back in the Packers’ pass-first system, those are incredible numbers.

While Lacy’s numbers have been talked about by many, what gets lost in the discussion is his leadership and ability to step up and make a difference.

When all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a fractured clavicle, it was Lacy’s shoulders that literally carried the offense. Yes, Matt Flynn did his part in keeping the Packers afloat during those six weeks of hell through November and December, but it was Lacy’s legs that powered the Packers during the stretch when Rodgers was out of the lineup.

Everyone talked about the one-two punch that Rodgers and Lacy would give to the Packers’ offense, and though we didn’t get an entire season’s body of work to evaluate, we did see enough of the two on the field to understand that if both of those players can stay healthy for an entire campaign, the production and end results could be scary.

As we enter the NFL Playoff season, the Packers are poised to make some noise – thanks largely to what Lacy brings to this team. With Rodgers back on the field and Lacy running hard, it’s going to be difficult not to think that the San Francisco 49ers are working overtime in trying to come up with a defensive scheme to stop the Packers.

How it turns out in the end will be determined by just how well Lacy plays, but one thing is for certain – you can’t take away what the young man has brought to this “Team 93.”

If he isn’t selected as the Offensive Rookie of the Year, it will be a shame. But it won’t diminish what he’s done for the Green Bay Packers and will continue to do in the years to come.