Starter Pack: Eddie Lacy approaches rare 1,000-yard rushing, 40-catch year

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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Eddie Lacy needs just 60 more rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the second time in as many NFL seasons.

He needs only two catches to reach 40 in a season for the first time in his two-year career.

If he gets to both, he'll join some elite company in Packers' history.

Dating to 1949, when Tony Canadeo became the first Packers' player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, only three running backs in team history have rushed for at least 1,000 yards and caught 40 passes in the same season.

Edgar Bennett was the first to do so with 1,067 rushing yards and 61 catches in 1995. Dorsey Levens then did it twice, in 1997 (1,435 yards rushing 53 catches) and 1999 (1,034 yards rushing and 71 catches). Ahman Green did it six times (2000-04 and 2006). No Packers' running back has done it since Green's last time.

Before that trio, the closest anyone came was Jim Taylor, who rushed for 1,169 yards and caught 38 passes in 1964.

With two games remaining, Lacy has 940 yards rushing and 38 receptions. As a rookie last season, Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards and caught 35 passes.

It's no surprise Lacy has become a bigger part of the passing game after coach Mike McCarthy said he wanted Lacy and fellow running back James Starks to become three-down backs this season. Lacy rarely played on third downs as a rookie.

"I think that's really helped us on a number of different fronts," McCarthy said. “Number one, it’s given Eddie’s more opportunity because he's playing on third downs. Same with James. The rotation of personnel has been cut, you know, 60-70 percent as far as substitution patterns and things like that. And you know it also increases the flow of getting in and out of run and passes, going from run and pass and so forth. I think that's been a huge help for us this year."

Lacy has four receiving touchdowns. Last year, he had none. He began preparing for the role in the offseason. In training camp, Lacy could be seen playing catch with running backs coach Sam Gash during breaks in practice.

"I've always been a good catcher," Lacy said. "Whenever there was a special teams drill and I didnt have to be out there, coach Gash would throw me the ball. It was just something to do."

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