Anyone who’s watched the Green Bay Packers lately knows they don’t run the ball much, despite having what some would consider two front-line running backs in Ryan Grant and James Starks.
Anyone who looks at the stats and the dynamic that’s unfolding knows this — despite being the starter, Ryan Grant has taken a backseat to James Starks. Case in point, Grant has 69 carries on the season and Starks has 109.
Had rookie Alex Green not been lost for the season, those numbers would probably be slightly lower for both backs, although we suspect they’d be disproportionately lower for Grant.
Now, coach Mike McCarthy is saying he wants to work undrafted rookie Brandon Saine, who was promoted from the practice squad when Green went down, into the offense.
Saine is raw, but fast and apparently tougher than anyone thought coming out of college. Word is, he’s a solid blocker and was quick to pick up the offense. In other words, he’s ideal to fill the role the Packers had in mind for Green — third-down back.
Although he’s more likely to catch passes in that role than get carries, if Saine performs well, there’s no reason to believe he won’t make the occasional appearance on downs other than third. I hate to use the term, but he could be a decent change-of-pace back when compared to the hard-running Starks and the cut-and-go Grant.
If that happens, where do those carries come from?
I’ll tell you where they’re not coming from — James Starks, who’s averaging 4.6 per carry and, if you haven’t noticed, runs motherfuckers over more often than not.
They’re coming from Ryan Grant and his 3.6 yards per carry.
I realize this may be heresy to some people, but the Packers obviously don’t consider Grant a feature back anymore. When you take into account his contract is up after the season, it’s pretty obvious.
We’re seeing the last days of Ryan Grant as a member of the Green Bay Packers.