Packers look to limit Eddie Lacy's touches, James Starks to benefit

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

We might not see quite as much of Eddie Lacy the rest of the year. (USATSI)
We might not see quite as much of Eddie Lacy the rest of the year. (USATSI)

Though Packers rookie Eddie Lacy is on pace this season to become the organization's most-effective running back since Ryan Grant in 2009, the team is looking to make him a little less impactful. Mostly in the name of health preservation.

As the Green Bay Press Gazette points out, Lacy has had at least 24 touches (rushes and receptions) in the past four games, and Packers coaches want to keep Lacy around 20 touches per game to keep him a little more fresh for the rest of the season.

"We're definitely monitoring the carries for him," Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said, via the paper.

Instead, most of those carries should go to James Starks, who's averaging 6.0 yards per carry on 41 attempts this season -- Lacy, meanwhile, has recorded 446 yards on 112 carries (a 4.0 yards per carry average). And now that Starks has returned after missing three games with an MCL injury, the team wants to see what he can produce.

“Loved him, God I loved him,” Van Pelt said, referring to Starks' seven-carry, 57-yard performance last week. “He ran hard, fast. Brought a different element to the run game with his speed through the hole. Broke tackles, it was a different style of runner. Both [he and Lacy are] big guys, both can run through arm tackles, but James was hitting the hole so hard and fast. The touchdown run there were two guys in the hole and they were kind of clean, and he split them with just his speed. Looked good.”

Fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin hasn't seen the field much since he gained 103 yards vs. Cincinnati in Week 3, and he's been bogged down by fumbles. Still, it sounds like he might get a few more opportunities as well as the team moves into the second half of the season.

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