Twelve months ago, Eddie Lacy was getting into the best shape of his life. It seemed to work because he averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2016 -- a full half-yard per carry higher than his previous career high -- but the success was short-lived. Lacy landed on injured reserve in October, after just five games, and the Packers chose not to re-sign him.
On Tuesday, Lacy signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks, a team that has struggled to run the ball in the post-Marshawn Lynch era. Whether Lacy can be that guy is the $5.5 million question ($3 million guaranteed), and the report that he packed on the pounds in recent weeks doesn’t help.
RB Eddie Lacy visited Sea (his new team), Minn and GB in the last wk. For one of the three teams Lacy weighed 267. Listed last year at 234.— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) March 14, 2017
Lacy knows he has doubters and that, he says, motivates him.
“I’m very motivated to prove myself,” he said, via the team’s website. “I know what I’m able to do, but I just want to go out and show everybody that I can do it and will do it. I just can’t wait to get my chance.”
Lacy added: “[I] just want to come out and showcase what I can do, prove that I’m not a fluke, that I can do what I do and do it really well.”
The Seahawks, who sported one of the league’s best rushing attacks when Lynch was in the backfield, had a nonexistent running game last season. According to Football Outsiders’ metrics, Seattle ranked 23rd in rushing. From 2012-15 -- coinciding with Russell Wilson’s arrival and years after Lynch became a cornerstone of the offense -- the running game never ranked worse than seventh (and twice finished first).
“I’ve always favored Marshawn Lynch’s running style, and that’s something Pete Carroll definitely likes,” Lacy said. “I’m going to come in and do my best impression of him and just bring my hard work and my hard running style to the table.”
And nothing would make coach Pete Carroll happier.
“I like that we’re bringing in a big, tough guy who’s going to send a message with the way he plays the game,” he told 710 ESPN Seattle recently. “… We went all those years with Marshawn (Lynch), and everybody knew what we stood for and the style of play, so I’m hoping to just continue to add with Eddie and the way Thomas (Rawls) brings it, that’s a great one-two punch sending a message about playing tough and physical. That’s who we are and that’s who we want to continue to be, so that’s why we made this move.”
Whether Lacy can come close to duplicating that success is another matter. In addition to upgrading the backfield, the Seahawks also need to shore up an offensive line that struggled in both the passing and running game a year ago. This explains why five of the six CBSSports.com mock drafts have Seattle drafting an offensive linemen in the first round.