Ryan Grant’s season ending ankle injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 1 is a major blow the Packers running game that will have an impact on the offensive game planning. Normally running back is a position that is a type of plug and play if there is one. It is not as difficult to find player to contribute as compared to the quarterback, left tackle, or cornerback position. Teams now hold at least two backs on their rosters to distribute workload. A quick look at Ryan Grant’s statistics tells us he has had two straight 1200 yard seasons. His career yards per carry average is a solid 4.4. Running backs that average at least four yards per carry and generally deemed effective.
The Green Bay Packers will lean on fourth year running back Brandon Jackson to take on the role of the featured back. Jackson is in his fourth year from the University of Nebraska. Green Bay invested a second round pick in 2007 and is widely regarded that he has been a bust. Last season he rushed for only 111 yards and his yards per carry average was 3.0. He has been hampered by various injuries so he has not been durable enough to play or even be an option in 16 games in any season over his career. After the Packers gained only 65 yards on 20 carries in a week 2 win against the Buffalo Bills Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was quoted as saying it was “extremely mediocre.” The Packers drafted Jackson to be their starter in 2007, so they clearly see something in him.
The bottom line is that the Packers needs better production from the running game if they want to make it to the Super Bowl. Defenses will dare the Packers to run and play Nickel packages to force them to do it. Right now the Packers spread the wealth on rushing attempts because they don’t want to overburden anyone. They are splitting carries utilizing full back John Kuhn, who has a career high of only 18 yards rushing in a single season. Clearly he is nothing more than a short yardage filler at the position since he has not produced anything of significance in his career running the football.
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