Sophomore surge: Lacy primed to surpass 2013 numbers

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Sophomore surge: Lacy primed to surpass 2013 numbers

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In the NFL, there are often times when players have outstanding years in their rookie season, but then under perform in their second year. Sometimes this is a result of injury, but sometimes a player may inexplicably struggle. In football, and sports in general, this is referred to as a “sophomore slump.”

Current players on the Packers such as Casey Hayward and James Starks had good rookie seasons but then struggled in subsequent years. For Green Bay, a major concern is that Eddie Lacy will suffer a sophomore slump after having an outstanding rookie season in which he won Offensive Rookie of the Year.

But Lacy’s rookie year could have been even better. In fact, Green Bay’s bruising running back is primed to have a sophomore surge, and possibly perform better than he did in his award-winning rookie season.

In his first year in the league, Lacy amassed 1,178 rushing yards (eighth most in the NFL) and 11 touchdowns (third most). Those numbers allowed him to become the first offensive rookie of the year for Green Bay since John Brockington in 1971. Even though Lacy had a stellar rookie year, a number of factors could allow him to exceed his 2013 totals.

For starters, Lacy will have an entire offseason with a coaching staff that now knows what he is capable of. Under Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy, Green Bay has been a pass-first offense and has only run sparingly. Now that Lacy’s skill has been revealed, the Packers are likely to run the ball more and design more plays to benefit Lacy.

Another factor that can help Lacy in 2014 will be a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Once Rodgers was injured, Lacy became the workhorse that carried Green Bay to the playoffs. While he was given more opportunities, he had to work harder for every yard.

The threat of a passing game was much less with Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn in at quarterback. Therefore, defenses were able to use extra defenders on Lacy and make running much more difficult. When Rodgers is back in 2014, teams will be focused more on the MVP quarterback and more holes will likely open up for Lacy.

Finally, the simple aspect of experience should help Lacy in 2014. He has the confidence and knowledge that he can perform at an elite level. It is a simple trait, but the confidence that Lacy now has may give him an extra edge that improves his play.

It is possible that Eddie Lacy experiences a sophomore slump in his second year the league. However, it is much more likely that he improves in 2014. A sophomore surge from Lacy would continue to further the Green Bay running game and make the Packers’ offense as good as any team in the league.

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