GREEN BAY, Wis. – Eddie Lacy responded to the unflattering photo of him on social media with a picture-perfect performance in practice.
One day after the photo from the team website went viral, the Green Bay Packers rookie running back showed just why the team is excited about the big, bruising style he brings to what coach Mike McCarthy hopes is a revitalized running game.
During an 11-on-11 red-zone drill, Lacy got four handoffs during 17 plays the Packers' offense ran. Each time, Lacy ran through contact and pushed the pile forward. Unofficially, he scored three touchdowns, from the 11-, 5- and 3-yard lines.
While it wasn't a live-tackling period so it's hard to judge just how productive he was, the plays showcased why the Packers took him in the second round (No. 61 overall) out of Alabama.
"Eddie Lacy definitely falls in category of big back, and big backs fall forward," McCarthy said. "You obviously coach all your backs to try to do that, but that's definitely the benefit of big backs."
Now about that photo, which prompted speculation that Lacy is overweight. It hit Twitter on Monday night and was quickly a top topic.
"I definitely made fun of him last night," wide receiver Randall Cobb said. "I pulled the picture up (on my phone). We know he's in shape. We know he's good. It's just a bad angle. It's definitely a bad angle."
Although the Packers' roster lists Lacy at 230 pounds, he wouldn't say how much he weighs now.
"I'm at a weight where I'm comfortable at, and the coaching staff feels as though they're comfortable where I'm at," Lacy said. "So as far as that's concerned, we're all on the same page. I've always been big. I'm a power back. I pretty much get the tough yards and I'm fast enough to get around the outside and make big plays."
Lacy said his conditioning was "exactly" where he wanted it to be, while McCarthy said the team had no concerns after Lacy passed the pre-camp run test.
"Going through the conditioning test, he was fine," McCarthy said. "If we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, they wouldn't be on the field."
Although Lacy will have to compete with fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin of UCLA and holdovers James Starks, DuJuan Harris and Alex Green for carries, his bruising style is one the Packers haven't had in the run game under McCarthy. With the coach promising to run the ball more this season, Lacy's style would seem to complement the Aaron Rodgers-led passing game.
"He's a guy that once he hits the hole, he gets moving north and south and he's always moving forward," guard T.J. Lang said. "I mean, you saw some runs today in that red-zone period where he got hit by a couple guys and he continued to run forward and get those extra yards.
"He's a power guy, but I don't want to call him just a power guy, because I've seen him where he's made some moves and made guys miss. It's been awhile since we had a running back like that — a heavier guy that can still move like that and just run through guys. I think that's going to help a lot in the red zone, getting those extra 2, 3 yards, pushing guys in the end zone."
Packers general manager Ted Thompson had drafted only four running backs in his first eight drafts before taking Lacy and Franklin. He likes what he's seen from the Alabama back.
"He definitely has a natural ability to get north and south off cuts and run behind his pads, that sort of thing," he said. "There's a lot of work to be done yet, but like the rest of our rookie guys, so far so good."
To his credit, Lacy responded to the weight brouhaha with what he called "my best day since I've been out here" and didn't seem to let the unwanted attention get to him.
"That's something I don't too much worry about. That's an external factor," Lacy said. "I learned in college to pretty much distance yourself from that. I mean, people are going to say what they're going to say, but at the end of the day, I have to do what I have to do, and that's what I'm doing."