Like a little cut that becomes infected, the real effects of the loss of Ryan Grant may not show up right away. Even without Grant the Packers will be favored to win their next three games and probably will rely on the arm of Aaron Rodgers more than the legs of Brandon Jackson, which is wrong.
While we have seen a new and improved Jackson this year his track record of getting hurt does not bode well for the Packers come November and December. I can see a 2005-type fiasco looming with no Samkon Gado to bail us out this time. The boys on Sportsline said no big deal, just put the ball in Rodgers’ hand 10-15 more times per game. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Why don’t we just hold up a sign showing the play we are running too. Becoming completely one-dimensional is not the answer.
Granted, the Packers are not a running team but the 1250 yards-a-year you get from Grant is just enough to keep the defenses honest, and late in the year in Green Bay you need to be able to run the ball and the clock. Besides, the last thing I want to do is expose Rodgers to injury 15 more times a game.
I have to believe the Packers are looking at all options including maybe trading a tight end for help. I wouldn’t look for anything to happen right away though, crunch time isn’t quite here yet, unless Jackson goes down this week, which really wouldn’t surprise me. The most games he’s been able to stay healthy for in a season is 13. He missed five games last year because of injury.
I know it was the first game of the year and the Packers will have time to plan for the loss, but it without a doubt throws a wrench into the Packers’ Super Bowl plans. Instead of a solid veteran running back you have an unknown commodity that could be gone in a week. Laurence Maroney may have been an option but who knows if the Patriots even contacted the Packers, plus he has been hurt all preseason so the young guy they did pick up might be a better option in the short term.
You can lose a receiver much easier than you can your starting running back, at least you have other receivers and in the Packers’ case their third receiver is probably starting quality anyway, running back is a different story. Now the whole game plan has to change around the new running back’s style. The offensive line has to adjust to Jackson as well. Thankfully the Bills, Bears and Lions aren’t world beaters so the Packers might be able to work it out. I’ll take 2-1 over that stretch, which probably means we lose at Chicago.
I’m not in panic mode, but to be honest, I’m close, I think Grant means that much to the Packers. He is a pro’s pro and consistent as hell. You know what you get from Ryan Grant and it is always good and until next Sunday it was always there. This is going to be a tough one to overcome.