Deep breath Packers fans.
Yes, losing Ryan Grant for the season is a blow. But say it with me – The Packers will be fine.
They will not be trading for Steve Slaton or Marshawn Lynch. Or DeAngelo Williams. Or Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson. Stop with all the silly trade scenarios.
Do I think losing Grant is of no consequence whatsoever? Of course not. You don’t lose 1,200 yards worth of production and not blink an eye. But you also don’t panic, especially when you have plenty of talent elsewhere to pick up the slack. McCarthy will lean on the strengths he has elsewhere on the roster. And yes, it’s almost as simple as “He’ll just throw the ball more.”
But Brandon Jackson will be asked to run the way he did this past Sunday, with power and purpose. John Kuhn will continue to ram it down the other team’s throat on the fullback dive and newly signed Dimitri Nance will no doubt enter into the equation at some point as well.
Another thing to remember is how the Packers offensive line looked so shaky in pass protection at the beginning of the game this past week. And how it got better as the game went on. That wasn’t just because McCarthy started going to the ground game and Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher played better. No, a big part of it was because Brandon Jackson was in there on first and second down. He is just light years better than Grant in pass protection. And on a team that passes this much that is a huge positive.
Going back to the year 2000, look at who has won the Super Bowl and tell me which of those teams relied on their running game to get there. The Ravens and the 2006 Steelers. Maybe the Giants. Yes, you need the running game for balance – but that’s it. And sometimes, you don’t even need that. The 2009 Steelers and Cardinals were the two worst running teams in the league. It just has to be there to take some pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and the rest of McCarthy’s high-flying offense. It has to be there to do what it did against the Eagles – put on the snow tires and churn out some clock when the team is winning in the 4th quarter.
This team is way too talented and versatile for this to be the stroke that keeps them from contending for a Super Bowl.