Packers' Eddie Lacy: 'Things need to happen in order to wake you up'

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Eddie Lacy said he didn’t want to use the word "complacent" to describe what happened to him at the start of the season.

And then the Green Bay Packers running back more or less went on to use the very definition of the word to describe why his production plummeted earlier this year.

“I think sometimes when things come easy to you, you kind of ease off a little bit and you get lax,” Lacy said Thursday. “And things need to happen in order to wake you up and show you that it can be taken away, it can get difficult, but that’s how I would say it.”

By now, everyone knows what happened.

Lacy was demoted twice this season -- first when James Starks replaced him as the starter in mid-November and then after he missed curfew on the eve of the Dec. 3 game at Detroit.

If Lacy didn’t get the message the first time around, he insisted it came through loud and clear after his meeting with coach Mike McCarthy at the team hotel in Detroit before the game against the Lions.

“After the coach and I had that talk, we left everything in that room and it was pretty much like a fresh start,” Lacy said.

Sure enough, McCarthy recommitted to Lacy last Sunday against Dallas. With McCarthy calling the plays again, the Packers ran the ball 44 times for 230 yards -- including 24 carries and 124 yards for Lacy -- in their 28-7 victory over the Cowboys. Even Lacy said he had no idea he would end up with his largest workload of the season.

“We put in run packages and stuff like that, but I didn’t know it would be to that extent,” Lacy said. “The fact that we were able to take those plays and make them work in that fashion, I think is something that in the future we can look forward to seeing again.”

It was Lacy’s third 100-yard game of the season, all of them coming in the last four games (the game at Detroit, where Lacy carried just five times for 4 yards, was the lone non-100-yard game). In that span, Lacy is averaging a full yard more after contact per run than he did in the first nine weeks of the season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Lacy has averaged 2.8 yards after contact per carry in his last four games. Before that, his season average was 1.6 yards.

Lacy still has an outside shot at his third straight 1,000-yard season, but he would have to improve his production from his last three 100-yard games. In those games, he has averaged 109.7 yards rushing per game. He would need to average 120 per game during the last three games to get there.

However, with McCarthy still committed to Starks as part of the one-two running back combination, Lacy probably won’t get enough work to reach that mark again. But the Lacy-Starks partnership has proved to be beneficial off the field, too, especially this season.

“We talk all the time, whether we’re here or I’m at his house and we’re playing a game or he’s at my house,” Lacy said. “We have a lot of different conversations. Whenever I feel like I need to get something off my chest or talk about whatever it is, he’s always there and willing to listen if I have to talk to him. He was sharing [with] me his thoughts from his perspective being as though he’s been here for so long.”