Ryan Grant: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card
1) Introduction: After back-to-back 1,200-yard rushing seasons, Grant came into the 2010 season as the Packers’ unquestioned No. 1 running back. Just halfway into the first game in Philadelphia, all that changed. An ankle injury cost him the entire season â€” although Grant said he could have came back in the postseason had he not been placed on IR â€” and he’s fought for playing time ever since.
Ryan Brett Grant
Weight:Â 222 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season: There was talk in camp that Grant could potentially be a cap cut, but he re-structured his deal to lower his base salary and cap number. From there, Grant was all but guaranteed a spot on the final roster. Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it clear early on that no back was going to get 25 carries a game, instead opting for a more modern style of two backs that split the workload. Grant and James Starks were the backs who figured into that equation.
4) Playerâ€™s highlights/low-lights: It looked early on in the season that Starks was going to force the Packers into giving him the majority of the carries. Grant looked slow and washed up. In Week 3 in Chicago, Grant got himself right back into the swing of things with a performance Â (17 carries, 92 yards) that finally looked more like the Grant of old. A lost fumble in Atlanta then started an 8-game string of 30 rushing yards or less from Grant. Once the injury bug hit Starks, Grant started showing signs of life â€” including an 88-yard output against the Raiders. Over the last five games, Grant averaged almost five yards a carry and scored three touchdowns.
5) Playerâ€™s contribution to the overall team success: Save for one Sunday in Chicago, Grant contributed very little early on and the Packers would have been none for the worse had they let Grant go in camp. Then injuries starting hitting the Packers’ backfield. Alex Green went down with a season-ending knee injury, and ankle and knee problems either kept Starks on the sidelines or made him ineffective. The Packers would have been without a viable option at running back had Grant not been retained.
6) Playerâ€™s contributions in the playoffs: Grant had 50 yards on 11 touches against the Giants, but it was his fourth quarter fumble that essentially put the nail in the Packers’ coffin. The Giants scored one played later to go up 17 with under seven minutes left. The fumble was shocking for a player that has been so conscientious about ball security, and to put one on the ground in such an important situation was inexcusable. The Packers will be taking a long look at that mental lapse when they decide whether or not to bring him back for 2012.
Season Report Card:
(C+)Â Level of expectations met during the season
(C)Â Contributions to teamâ€™s overall success.
(D+)Â Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C-â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2