Coming to the NFL can be daunting for many rookies as they struggle to raise their game to the level neeed to compete with the bigger, faster and smarter players they encounter at the professional level.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy didn’t have too hard a time with the transition. He ran for 51 yards in his first two games and then missed a week with a concussion before coming back to run for 1,127 yards and 10 touchdowns over the final 13 games as the Packers won the NFC North. With a year of experience under his belt, there’s reason to believe that Lacy can be even more effective in 2014 but Lacy cautions that last year’s introduction to the league can be a two-way street.
“I think it will be tougher, because it’s not like you’re surprising everyone,” Lacy said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When you first come in, people doubt you. They know what you did in college, but they don’t know if it will translate to the next level. But once you get that year in and people see what you’ve done and it’s no longer surprising, they’re going to prepare for you the way they prepare for whoever else is good at that position.”
The nice thing for Lacy and the Packers is that defenses being ready for Lacy won’t necessarily make it much easier to stop them. The Packers still have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, limiting how much they can stack the box with defenders to counter Lacy’s ground game because they’d be at risk of getting beaten through the air. The Packers didn’t get to fully enjoy the dilemmas they can create because of Rodgers’ collarbone injury last year, but Lacy won’t be the only one in for a tougher task this year if everyone feels healthy.