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#1 Posted : Saturday, November 1, 2008 7:53:46 PM(UTC)
[img_r]http://cmsimg.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=U0&Date=20081031&Category=PKR01&ArtNo=811010392&Ref=AR&Profile=1058&MaxW=318&Border=0[/img_r]The Green Bay Packers had the time over last week's bye to try and figure out what's the difference between Ryan Grant in 2007 and Ryan Grant this year.

Is it mainly his hamstring injury early in training camp that proved far more serious than it originally appeared?

Has the offensive line's play slipped?

Or, is Grant not as good as his numbers last season suggest, and did he benefit from defenses slanting their calls to stop Brett Favre in 2007?

The Packers hope the major factor is Grant's hamstring injury, which sidelined him for almost all of training camp and limited his ability to practice early in the season after he returned.

"I think he's a talented back," said Edgar Bennett, the Packers' running backs coach. "Some of his greatest attributes are his vision, he's a very aggressive runner, he's physical, he's explosive. Not making any excuses whatsoever, but when you're describing a guy like that and he's hampered by an injury, it plays a role."

Last year, Grant rushed for 929 yards after becoming the primary halfback in the final 10 regular-season games and averaged 5.1 yards a carry for the season. This year he's averaging 3.4 yards a carry and ranks No. 17 in the NFL in rushing (464 yards) after seven games.

The Packers' actions at least up to this week suggest they think his injury is the main reason for his lower production. Even though Grant's rushing average has been low (3.0 yards) the last two games, the Packers keep giving him the ball and have used backup halfback Brandon Jackson almost strictly on passing downs. Grant had 64 carries against Seattle and Indianapolis combined the past two games, whereas Jackson had no carries.

This week, Grant will try to get back on track against a big, physical Tennessee Titans defensive line led by probably the most dominating defensive tackle in the NFL this season, Albert Haynesworth (6-foot-6, 320). Tennessee, which has allowed the fewest points in the NFL, ranks No. 10 in the league in rushing yards allowed and No. 9 in yards allowed per carry. Its strength along the defensive line will be a difficult matchup for a Packers offensive line that lacks power at left tackle (Chad Clifton), left guard (Daryn Colledge) and center (Scott Wells).

"I'm of the opinion last year, and some guys disagree, that the (offensive) line improved dramatically between Brandon Jackson getting headaches (early in the season) and Ryan Grant gashing people (starting in Week 7)," said Joe Philbin, the Packers' offensive coordinator. "That's one man's opinion. I don't know that it's fair to say Ryan's a different guy right now. I think he'll be catching his stride now, he has more carries under his belt, he's seeing things a little better. We're certainly expecting some big things from him."

Nelson questionable
[ul]The Packers might not be able to unveil their five-receiver set against Tennessee after all.

Last year the five-receiver set was an effective change-of-pace in their offensive game plans, but this season they haven't had five receivers healthy enough to suit up on game day through seven games. Now, even with James Jones' return from a knee injury this week, they still might not after rookie Jordy Nelson injured his ankle in practice Thursday.

Nelson didn't practice Friday, and coach Mike McCarthy listed him as questionable (50 percent chance of playing) on the Packers' injury report. McCarthy said Nelson will test his ankle Sunday before the game to determine whether he can play.[/ul]

Harris, Bigby ready
[ul]Cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby aren't on the Packers' injury report after a full week's practice and are expected back in the starting lineup Sunday after prolonged absences.

Harris missed the last four games because of a ruptured spleen, and Bigby missed the last five because of a pulled hamstring. Harris will play full time at cornerback, whereas Bigby probably will share time with Aaron Rouse at the safety position opposite Nick Collins.

"Aaron has done a very good job with his productivity when he has played," McCarthy said.[/ul]

Harrell no decision
[ul]The Packers will have to decide today whether defensive tackle Justin Harrell will play Sunday against Tennessee.

Harrell is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and the Packers will have to move him to the 53-man roster if they want to play him against the Titans. He's returning from a herniated disc in his lower back that sidelined him almost all offseason until he was eligible by PUP rules to begin practicing 2 weeks ago.

For Harrell to play Sunday, the Packers have to activate him and cut another player, but the NFL does not conduct official business on Sundays, so they'll have to decide today.

With defensive ends Mike Montgomery (ankle) and Jason Hunter (hamstring) healthy enough to play this week, it's not a given the Packers will activate Harrell, though they would like to begin working him into their defensive-tackle rotation as soon as possible so he can contribute more later in the season.

"Special teams will probably be the driving force of the decisions when it comes between who is up and down," McCarthy said.[/ul]

[ul]Quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't throw in team drills Friday, as has been the standard practice since he sprained his shoulder Oct. 5. The Packers limit his throwing on Fridays so his shoulder is less irritated on game day.[/ul]

Obviously, we know the answer to Harrell, but I felt a few comments were worth keeping the segment and posting it.

Joe Philbin's comments kind of make me think he feels Brandon Jackson could have equalled the same results as Grant in the later half of the season.
#2 Posted : Saturday, November 1, 2008 9:36:42 PM(UTC)
Grant really does need to get back on track.. 3.4 yards a carry is terrible compared to last year. If he doesnt have at least a decent game against the titans i think its time to try something else
#3 Posted : Saturday, November 1, 2008 11:52:20 PM(UTC)
wtf nelson questionable?
#4 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 12:12:13 AM(UTC)
he got hurt in practice.
#5 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 10:51:14 AM(UTC)
I hope and pray that I have been wrong about Grant. I hope he is not a practice squad pick-up, one hit wonder, who the Packers should not have re-upped.... But...

If Grant does NOT have a good game against this Titan Defence, I think Grant will get a mulligan this week from the coaching staff.
#6 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 1:21:43 PM(UTC)
Jackson is a poor mans Westbrook, I think we should try and use the both of them a bit more rather than strictly Grant. Grant is better at running the ball, but Jackson makes some very good cuts and is always a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield.
#7 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 1:43:12 PM(UTC)
I think Grant deserves to have the whole season as a basis for evaluation, not just the Titans game.
I do fear that he is not the running back that his new contract defines.
So far it doesn't look good but there are alot of factors involved in his lack of production.
As Packers fans we have to all hope that the running game comes together down the stretch.
#8 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 1:45:47 PM(UTC)
If Grant doesnt show he can run hard and keep legs going ( like he did last year) someone needs to stick a football up him sideways

We NEED a solid running game..

And hows this for a quote about Harrell and if he would be activated

"Special teams will probably be the driving force of the decisions when it comes between who is up and down," McCarthy said.

#9 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 2:06:02 PM(UTC)
I don't know if I agree with the "power" issue with Wells. Rock said at Fan Fest two years ago that Wells was possibly the most powerful guy on the team.
#10 Posted : Sunday, November 2, 2008 2:12:34 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
If Grant doesnt show he can run hard and keep legs going ( like he did last year) someone needs to stick a football up him sideways

We NEED a solid running game..

And hows this for a quote about Harrell and if he would be activated

"Special teams will probably be the driving force of the decisions when it comes between who is up and down," McCarthy said.

To me, that quote addresses why KGB was the one to get cut for Harrell's return. They couldn't lose an special teamers, and they wanted Harrell back, so a non-special-teamer got the axe.
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