With the Seahawks set to go without Chris Carson for the remainder of the season, it’s time to make Lacy the unquestioned leader in the backfield.
Many believe Lacy is not the runner he used to be, that he doesn’t have much left in the tank. This thinking is misinformed. Lacy has gallons of potential left if given the role he needs to thrive.
The biggest contributor to Lacy’s on-field woes has been the bench. Currently, Seattle is going with a hot-hand approach in its backfield committee. As such, Lacy’s rhythm and overall success has been hindered.
Lacy flourishes when he is given the ball in regular dosages. This season, his per-game carry total is a putrid average of four. He is averaging 3.4 yards per carry (ypc) in his cameo role, a below-average number.
But Lacy has shown that trusting him with the rock is a solid endeavor. When he was the Packers’ bellcow in 2014, he had his best season as a pro. Here’s his game log from that season, a campaign in which he earned 4.6 ypc.
These state lines all share a commonality: Lacy totaled double-digit carries in all of them. In 2015, when Lacy’s production dropped off, he still managed to get a two-pronged number in 11 out of 16 games (4.1 ypc). It became apparent that when Lacy got into a rhythm, he was one of the most dynamic backs in the game.
A dynamic back that could do this:
Now that Carson has been placed on IR, they might find Lacy is the savior for an offense that really must have a running game. Russell Wilson is a great quarterback, but he can’t do everything. He needs a RB that can average 4.0+ ypc and force teams to keep eight in the box consistently. This trend would allow the Seahawks offense to be far more prolific.
Seattle showed confidence in Lacy against the Colts. His 11 carries were second only to Carson’s 12, and he gained 52 yards for 4.7 ypc. He finally looked like the swift-footed bulldozer the team was hoping for when they signed him this offseason.
As Lacy got more entrenched in the game, he got better. Here are the number of yards for each of Lacy’s carries, in chronological order: 2, 0, 5, 3, -1, 11, 3, 7, 19, 2, 1.
So, Lacy was productive when he wasn’t constrained by a small workload Sunday. Even though he had little noticeable success on his first five carries, he managed 43 yards on his final six. That’s 7.1 ypc.
Without consistent usage, Lacy will continue to look average or worse. But if the Seahawks are to continue their offensive wizardry, they can start by allowing Lacy to dominate the lion’s share of touches.