On the day McCarthy introduced the new members of his coaching staff and spoke for the first time since he fired Lacy’s position coach, Sam Gash, last month, McCarthy said he’s confident Lacy’s conditioning won’t be the issue in 2016 that it was last season.
“Everybody’s accountable to their area, and the position coach is ultimately accountable for the performance and the training of their players,” McCarthy said Thursday. “But Eddie Lacy’s conditioning and so forth is something I have great confidence will improve or is improving as we speak, and he’ll learn from his performance last season.”
Although it’s not known exactly what Lacy is doing this offseason to lose weight, McCarthy indicated that Lacy went to work on it right away. In his season wrap-up news conference two days after the Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC divisional playoff round, McCarthy said Lacy “cannot play at the weight he was at this year.”
The Packers listed the 5-foot-11 Lacy at 234 pounds last season, but it was apparent as early as training camp that he was well above that mark.
After consecutive 1,100-yard seasons in his first two years, Lacy rushed for 758 yards while battling injuries last season. McCarthy demoted him twice -- once because of a lack of production and again after he missed curfew on the eve of the Dec. 3 game at Detroit.
Still, Lacy finished the season strong. All three of his 100-yard games came after Week 10, and he rushed for 152 yards on 24 carries in the two playoff games combined. He broke a 61-yard run against Arizona but appeared to pull up at the end.
New running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who coached Todd Gurley to a 1,000-yard season as a rookie with the St. Louis Rams last season, said he’s already talked on the phone to Lacy and got the sense that Lacy is “very hungry this year to really get ready to get after it.”
“Hungry” might have been a poor word choice on Sirmans’ part, but he believes Lacy will play lighter next season.
“In that situation, obviously he’d be a little bit quicker, and in this league, quickness and those things, they do matter,” Sirmans said. “I haven’t really had a chance to really focus and see the difference between Eddie when he was lighter and to where he’s at right now and to study those things. Those are some of the things that I want to do, so that when he comes back and we sit down and start talking and develop a plan to help him to continue to get better, I have a great idea of what he needs to do from that standpoint.”