Since this has unofficially become running backs week at AllGBP.com, I’ll chime in with some thoughts on the one guy who hasn’t been mentioned, Ryan Grant.
This is also the first in what I hope will become a series of “I have a feeling” posts, based on nothing more than what my gut tells me and intended to spur active discussion and debate. So, let’s get started.
Earlier in the week, Matthew Stein asked the question, “Which running back gives the Packers the best chance to win?” That was followed up on Thursday by Adam Czech, who gave us a look at some other players in the mix; the Packers UDFA running backs.
After reading and dissecting both posts, I came to this rather unlikely (for me) conclusion; Ryan Grant could be the guy that gives the Packers the best chance to win.
Those of you who remember some of my past posts on Ryan Grant, (like “Ryan Grant can’t cut it“), can all pick yourself up off of the floor now. But lets remember that several years have passed since that particular post. In the time that has elapsed, I came to accept what Ryan Grant provides (when healthy) to this pass-first Packers offense; dependability and accountability.
While I’ll always be yearning for a more dynamic running back, having a big-time running back like Adrian Peterson, let’s say, would be a waste on this team. It’s apparent to anyone paying attention that the running game is given just token consideration in this offense.
What the Packers mostly want from a #1 running back is to not fumble when given the ball and to be able to occasionally block when you’re still in the game on a passing play. Grant has had 6 fumbles in 924 career carries, Peterson 22 in 1400 carries. Grant fits for the Packers.
Mike McCarthy is very comfortable with Ryan Grant as his running back. So is Ted Thompson, but Thompson knows how to play this game. He did it last year with James Jones. He feigned disinterest and let Jones test free agency, all the time knowing there wouldn’t be much of a market for Jones, and that he would come back to the Packers on their terms.
The Grant situation feels too similar to be coincidence to me. I think the Packers are playing the same game and it seems to be playing out the same way. Just as Jones turned down an uninspiring offer from the Vikings last year, Grant recently cancelled a trip to Detroit, unhappy with their lowball offer.
So for now, Ryan Grants sits at home without a team. Back in March, the Packers expressed their interest in keeping Grant. Grant has many times professed his preference for staying with the Packers, and would be sure to give them a hometown discount, just as he agreed to a contract restructuring last year.
Grant, of course, is doing the smart thing by testing the free agent waters and the Packers have said, “go ahead and see what’s out there for you.” At age 29, this could be Grant’s last chance at a better-than-mediocre contract.
As Ted Thompson probably presumed, however, no one is seriously knocking on Grant’s door. Grant’s agent Alan Herman will surely approach the Packers soon (if he hasn’t already) to see if they are still interested in bringing Grant back.
Ted Thompson will surely listen. He knows first-hand how easy it is for running backs to get hurt, as Grant, James Starks and Alex Green have all missed significant time due to injuries the last two seasons.
Even if Grant proves to be no more than a reserve, he’s cheap insurance for the Packers, a concept Ted Thompson embraces (see the recent Dan Muir and Erik Walden signings).
So, that’s my “feeling.” My gut tells me (I’m assuming it’s not the sushi) that Ryan Grant will back be in training camp with the Packers this season. What happens from there, we’ll have to wait and see…
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.