Packers RB Eddie Lacy believes he’s ‘more explosive’ this season

Just how much thinner Lacy is this year has been — and probably will continue to be — debated at length. His personal trainer, P90X founder Tony Horton, said Lacy lost 22 pounds. But Lacy himself has regularly declined to talk in specifics about his weight and regular observers of Packers practice can rightfully question whether he’s lost even half of that total.

However, Lacy’s 6.0-yard average on a small sample size from the first preseason game is at least a solid start. By unofficial count, more than half of his 24 rushing yards on Friday came after contact.

“Off to a good start,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said of Lacy. “That was one of the goals going into the game. We wanted to run the football, and I think starting the game that first unit, they did a really nice job of that. Obviously, we were emphasizing the fundamentals, but he did a nice job. Broke tackles, which that’s another thing that we measure our backs — not just our backs, but everyone — by their ability to break tackles.”

Lacy likely won’t get a high volume of work in the preseason, so it won’t be known until he’s in the grind of the regular season whether his production will spike significantly from last year’s 758-yard season. Given that coach Mike McCarthy wants to run the ball more consistently this year, it’s imperative that Lacy comes through.

“You see him finishing runs,” Bennett said Sunday. “Look at practice today, he’s finishing all the way on the other end of the field, getting that conditioning in. We just have to continue down that path being consistent.”

In a wide-ranging interview with GQ, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton told the magazine he doesn’t think he is subjected to extra scrutiny because he is black.

“It’s not racism,” Newton told GQ. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.”

Newton has been critiqued for his playing style and demeanor on and off the field throughout his five seasons in the NFL, and some have pointed to Newton’s race as part of the reason he receives such criticism.

The quarterback, however, dismissed that idea to GQ.

“I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not,” Newton said. “Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”

Before Super Bowl 50, Newton created headlines when he described himself as “an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to.” He later eased off those comments in the run-up to his first Super Bowl appearance, when he became the sixth black quarterback to start the NFL’s title game.