With not one, but two posts dedicated to my obvious failings in the running back evaluation department, Steve makes the case that the offensive line is completely to blame for the struggles in the run game and uses McCarthy quotes regarding Grant and his decision making from his press conference to back him up. Along the way, I am accused of calling Grant a bust (which I never did) and we are all challenged to check out the DVR of the game and notate each run where Grant made a bad decision, a prospect I’m sure Mrs. PackerAaron would be more than thrilled with. (The poor dear falls asleep to DVR’d Packer games every night as it is…see Andrew In Atlanta? She wasn’t kidding when she said you have no idea what a good sport she is…)
Steve, bless him, misses the point of my post. Grant was being heralded as an elite back this offseason, someone the Packer offense could not possibly do without. Steve and Andy were leaders in the Packer Blogosphere championing this line of thought, telling us how essential it was that the Packers pay for this once in a lifetime talent – all based off of 10 games.
Well, six games into 2008, I think we can safely say the offense would be just fine without Ryan Grant.
Is the offensive line a problem? Yes, and I conceded as much in my original post. But special backs make bad offensive lines look good, and good offensive lines look great. An elite back, a franchise-pay-the-guy-at-all-costs back will do things that other running backs can’t do, regardless of the offensive line put in front of them, or indeed, the team around them. If anything, I think we can safely say that anyone could do what Grant is doing so far this season. Hell, Brandon Jackson has been doing much more with the same crappy offensive line. Among other things, Jackson is doing a much better job of making people miss once he gets to the second level. The few times Grant has found himself one on one with a safety, he’s given a useless stutter step and then proceeded to fall down.
Again, as I wrote in my original post, maybe the best is yet to come and maybe as the weather turns and the offensive line starts to gain more and more cohesion from time spent together, we’ll see the running lanes start to open up and Grant hit said lanes with the burst we all witnessed last season. But through the first six games of this year, we have learned that Ryan Grant is a slightly above average running back – not great, not horrible, but serviceable. And definitely not the indispensable piece of the offensive puzzle he was portrayed as on certain WordPress blogs…