The Seattle Seahawks made it clear in the offseason that they wanted to beef up their running game. Injuries and a poor offensive line made for an ineffective ground game last season, so Seattle signed Eddie Lacy, hoping the free agent would be part of the solution. Through two preseason games, however, Lacy is starting to look like the odd man out.
Lacy was already running behind Thomas Rawls, who’s been practicing exclusively with the first team for most of training camp. In the Seahawks’ first preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Lacy played with the second team and had a middling stat line of four carries for 10 yards, getting stuffed at the goal line at one point.
The second preseason game, against the Minnesota Vikings, raised even more questions about Lacy’s spot on the team. Rawls sat out with a sore ankle and C.J. Prosise also missed the game, so Lacy got the start and an opportunity to pull ahead of seventh-round rookie Chris Carson. Instead, the opposite happened.
Lacy once again wasn’t too inspiring, rushing six times for 20 yards and looking like just a guy out there. Meanwhile, Carson got snaps with the first team and made the most of his chances, running with a purpose and aggression that Lacy simply hasn’t shown. Carson finished with 44 total yards on seven touches, showing that he’s not going away any time soon.
Now the Seahawks have some tough decisions to make about their backfield. Rawls appears set as the starter, while Prosise has a prominent role as the pass-catching specialist. Behind Lacy and Carson are Alex Collins and Mike Davis, with the latter two possibly fighting for one roster spot.
Seattle signed Lacy to a one-year deal loaded with incentives, including benchmarks for reaching weight goals. Lacy’s been hitting those marks and looks in reasonable shape, so it doesn’t seem like his old weight problems have popped up again. Given his previous track record of success, it was a smart low-risk investment. The Seahawks probably won’t cut him, but doing so would only cost $2.865 million against the cap. It’s an option should Seattle face a roster crunch.
Lacy could still make the final roster, but what purpose does he even serve right now? Carson basically looks like the good version of Lacy, and who knows if the real Lacy will look like that again. It’s been a long time since 2014, the last time Lacy cleared 1,000 rushing yards. Now 27 years old, it’s entirely possible we’ve already seen his peak years.
Earlier in August, I wrote about Lacy’s potential fit in Seattle, mostly under the belief that his top-tier talent was still there if he could avoid injuries and stay in shape. Obviously we shouldn’t read too much into preseason performances, but the Lacy we’re seeing right now just isn’t good enough, and a far cry from the player I thought would show up.
Next week is the third preseason game, the unofficial “dress rehearsal” for most teams. It’s going to be a real make-or-break moment for Lacy, because the Seahawks have too many moving parts and roles to figure out in their backfield. They can’t be wasting time on Lacy if he doesn’t have much to offer anymore.