Eddie Lacy Holds Key to Green Bay Packers Offense After Bryan Bulaga Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2013

May 10, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA;  Eddie Lacy works out during the Green Bay Packers rookie orientation weekend. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Lacy is going to carry a large load of the Green Bay Packers offense, which, given his weight coming into training camp, shouldn't be a major problem.

Back in July, The Score's David Woods sent out this tweet:

That led some fans to wonder if Lacy had come back overweight and whether this was going to be an issue for the player. However, after the Packers' scrimmage on August 3, all of those worries were put to bed; Lacy looked great and every bit the player he was when he stampeded over Notre Dame in the national title game.

It led the Wisconsin State Journal's Tom Oates to point out the comedy of the situation.

The Packers' Twitter account had a quote from general manager Ted Thompson, who is impressed with what he's seen from Lacy so far and seems nonplussed by any weight issue.

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It's not all good news for the rookie running back, as NFL.com's Dan Hanzus reported Lacy has picked up a bit of a hamstring issue. It seems the Packers are keeping the player out more for precautionary reasons rather than his hamstring pull being a more serious injury.

Should the injury only be minor, Lacy's emergence couldn't come at a better time for Green Bay.

Bryan Bulaga appears to be out for the season with a torn ACL, per USA Today's Pete Dougherty.

When it came to protecting the passer, the Packers finished 31st last season, according to Football Outsiders, and they surrendered 51 sacks. Losing the starting left tackle to an offensive line that hasn't made major improvements doesn't bode well for the regular season.

That's why having a solid running game is so vital for the Packers. With a steady presence on the ground, Green Bay will be able to keep opposing defenses honest. They're not going have the luxury of sending the front seven at Rodgers on every play and just dropping the secondary back into pass coverage.

The Packers have lacked a feature back since Ryan Grant went down for the season back in 2010. As a result, they finished the season ranked No. 24 in rushing. It's been much the same thing since then, as Green Bay finished No. 27 in 2011 and No. 20 in 2012.

Starting Brandon Jackson was enough to win the Super Bowl back in 2010, but that was a much different Packers offense. Their offensive line ranked No. 21 in pass protection, while Donald Driver and Greg Jennings made for a better one-two receiver combo than Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

In order for Aaron Rodgers to lead the Packers back to the promised land, Lacy needs to be a steady producer in the ground game. He must deflect the opposing defense's attention away from Rodgers and the passing game.

At his best, Lacy can be a workhorse in the backfield. He's not going to blind you with his speed and break away for long runs. Instead, he's more of a bulldozer who can break down a defense over the course of a game. Slowly but surely, Lacy can eat up yards. He'll carry the ball 20 or so times and before you know it, he's reaching the century mark.

Granted, it's a lot of pressure to put on a rookie's shoulders. But being a rookie didn't stop Alfred Morris from finishing second in rushing yards last year, and it shouldn't stop Lacy from being an effective player.

Nobody will be asking Lacy to be the next Adrian Peterson. If he can even get half of Peterson's 2,097 rushing yards from 2012, he'll have more than done his job.