Three days after their season ended in heartbreaking fashion, the Green Bay Packers are making changes to the coaching staff for 2016, hoping to ignite a spark in their stagnant rushing attack.
According to a Tuesday press release from the Packers' official website, the team has parted ways with running backs coach Sam Gash.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy thanked Gash for his contributions to the coaching staff since he was hired in February 2014.
“I would like to thank Sam for his contributions to the team over the past two seasons,” said McCarthy. “We hope for the best for Sam, Alicia and their family in the future.”
Gash wasn't the only change McCarthy made to the staff, as tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot will also no longer be with the team, but Gash is going to get more attention because of all the problems associated with Green Bay's running game in 2015.
The Packers weren't much different statistically running the ball this season (115.6 yards per game) compared to last season (119.8), but Eddie Lacy's production dropped precipitously with a career-low 758 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games this season.
Certainly, Lacy deserves some of the blame, as McCarthy noted in his wrap-up press conference that the 25-year-old needs to get in better shape next season, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Eddie Lacy, he's got a lot of work to do," McCarthy said. "I think I'm stating the obvious. His offseason last year was not good enough, and he never recovered from it. I had a chance to talk to Eddie today and that was pretty much the majority of our whole conversation."
Changing a voice in the locker room who works directly with Lacy may help provide the motivation he needs to hit training camp next summer in the best shape of his life.
The Packers ended this season on a down note, starting with their 4-6 stretch over the final 10 games, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to need a more consistent running game to get back to his usual MVP-level of play.
Lacy's performance was critical for the Packers in their run to the NFC Championship Game last year, so it's necessary for McCarthy to do anything he can to reignite the fire in his star running back.