In his end-of-season press conference, Mike McCarthy gave Eddie Lacy an ultimatum of sorts after the third-year running back endured his worst season.
“Eddie Lacy, he’s got a lot of work to do. His offseason last year was not good enough, and he never recovered from it,” McCarthy told media, including ESPN.com’s Jason Wilde. “He cannot play at the weight he was at this year.”
Lacy’s yardage total decreased considerably from two upper-echelon campaigns in 2013-14, with the former second-round pick rushing for 758 yards (4.1 per carry) on 187 totes — 59 fewer than last season and 97 fewer than his offensive rookie of the year slate.
2015 also brought three games where Lacy came off the bench, once as a result of missing curfew in Detroit and being outright demoted in favor of James Starks earlier.
Here are some more takeaways from the Packers coach’s presser.
- Green Bay will look to move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker after spending more than a season inside, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports. Matthews spent the entire season on the inside of the Packers’ 3-4 look after moving there due to thinning talent at the position in 2014. “My goal with Clay is to play outside linebacker,” McCarthy said. “The matchup part of it was really always my goal. There’s things he does at that position that he’ll continue to do. He’s an outside linebacker and we need to get back to him playing there and just playing inside when needed.” Matthews’ sack total plummeted to 6.5 after the former All-Pro accrued 10+ sacks in four separate seasons as an outside backer. Playing 16 games, Matthews graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 39th-best inside linebacker, which was still a Packers-best but well below his usual strata. Outside backers Mike Neal and Nick Perry are free agents.
- McCarthy also won’t be delegating play-calling responsibilities like he did for most of this season, the 10th-year coach announced, via Wilde. He also plans to retain assistant head coach Tom Clements, who was given play-calling autonomy this year before McCarthy reclaimed it. “That was a big change. Different kind of change. The structure was different offensively,” McCarthy said. “What I was trying to accomplish, being balanced, that part was accomplished with special teams and defense. Offensively, the structure was part of the failure on offense.”
- Jeff Janis did not see the field for most of the season due to early-season struggles, necessitating a meeting with McCarthy, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The former Division II wide receiver caught seven passes for 145 yards against the Cardinals after hauling in just two all season. “Look for them to take a big jump second year. Jeff and Jared Abbrederis need to earn their opportunities to get on the field,” McCarthy said.