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#1 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 12:52:49 PM(UTC)
Packers' top runner returns to practice[img_r]http://cmsimg.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=U0&Date=20080824&Category=PKR01&ArtNo=80824039&Ref=AR&Profile=1058&MaxW=318&Border=0[/img_r]
Without Ryan Grant, the Green Bay Packers running game through three preseason games hasnt been the disaster it was last year at this time.

But despite the growth of Brandon Jackson in his second year, he isnt the runner Grant was the second half of last season.

Grant was back on the practice field on Sunday afternoon, recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the first three preseason games. He'll make his 2008 debut in Thursday night's exhibition finale against the Tennessee Titans. He also missed the first week of training camp while his contract negotiations were finished, then strained his hamstring his second day back on the practice field.

Grants return should give juice to a run game thats been pedestrian the last two games.

Id think so, said John Schneider, a Packers director-football operations. He added juice to the run game last year when he came here.

Jackson started all three preseason games in Grants place and is the teams No. 2 back because of improved decisiveness and strength in his play. But in the last two games, against San Francisco and Denver, he ran for only 29 yards on 11 carries (a 2.6-yard average).

The Packers didnt run the ball frequently those 11 carries came in just more than four quarters of play, or a little more than a full game and the starting offensive line deserves its share of the responsibility for those poor results.

But the Packers agreed this summer to negotiate a long-term deal with Grant for a reason because he gives them a something no one else on the roster can. After rushing for 929 yards in the final 10 games last season, he finally agreed to a four-year contract earlier this month that will pay him $20 million, plus up to another $10 million in escalators depending on his performance.

Grant, 25, was worth the significant investment because hes a physical, 226-pound runner in his prime and is good for the Packers zone-run scheme, which requires patience in reading blocks and decisiveness when a lane opens.

Hes a good fit for the zone scheme because hes such a strong one-cut guy, Schneider said. Hes an aggressive one-cut runner and he has excellent vision and he runs the ball hard. Hes a bigger man, too.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday he wants to see Grant get through the week of practice before determining how much hell play against Tennessee. The best guess is Grant will play as long as the Packers No. 1 offense is on the field, which probably will be only a couple of series.

The biggest issue is getting Grant as sharp as possible for the opener against Minnesota. Many teams give their top back only a few carries in the preseason to keep them from accumulating hits. San Diego doesnt play its top back, LaDainian Tomlinson, at all in the preseason. However, Grant also has missed extensive practice time because of the injury, so McCarthy probably will want him to get several carries against the Titans.

Im a professional No. 1, so I expect to be very sharp, Grant said after Sundays practice. The coaches know mentally Im preparing. I prepared last week like I was playing in the game. Im going through the same type of quizzes, watching film. Im still going over the game plan, Im still going over the scheme Denver played, and now Ill do the same thing with Tennessee regardless of how much I end up playing. Im going to prepare like Im playing the whole game.

Grant said his injury wasnt severe he characterized it as a hamstring strain rather than a pull, which causes a player to limp off the field but the Packers were concerned enough to sideline him for 2 weeks.

I have opened up, I felt good, Grant said.

Grant also betrayed no frustration that his contract wasnt finished before the start of camp missing that first week of practices might have left him more susceptible to injury when he signed.

His unusual career circumstances hes entering his fourth year out of college but has only one accrued season in the NFL made his negotiations potentially difficult.

But his contract was hardly a blockbuster, and theres reason to think the sides could have reached terms on a similar deal just before the start of camp if General Manager Ted Thompson had pushed negotiations.

Its all hindsight, Grant said. Thats over with. My mind is so far from there.
#2 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 1:04:46 PM(UTC)

I can't wait to see him play in regular season. I think we should not play him too much Thursday, put him in for one series or so. Also, let Jackson finish off the half (if that), then get the other guys in. I want our top 2 RBs rested for week 1.
#3 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 2:34:21 PM(UTC)
It should say ...

"I expect to be running over Sharper."

Must be a typo.
#4 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 2:43:41 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
It should say ...

"I expect to be running over Sharper."

Must be a typo.

#5 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 3:04:20 PM(UTC)
Grant has a lot of pent up power and speed building inside of him. He will unleash the thunder upon the Vikings. Mark my words. You can say that he won't be ready for the game. I say no no no to that!

The game is not ready for Ryan Grant!
#6 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 3:13:41 PM(UTC)
I want to see him in the last preseason game, just to get him at least a few carries, and get used to the feeling of getting hit again. I want him fresh for game #1, but also used to the "game feel" before that.
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