It's a shocking day for all Green Bay fans, as word has gotten in that starting running back Ryan Grant has been lost for the season with ankle and leg injuries. With the Packers already short at running back, Brandon Jackson steps up as the starter, with fullback/halfback John Kuhn as the number two, and the signing of Dmitri Nance off of the Atlanta Falcons practice squad.
Now, the loss of Grant is a big blow to the Packers offense. Grant, who has rushed for over 1,200 yards the past two seasons, has been a vital part of the running game, and has been the big workhorse since his uprising in 2007. Grant has received much Green Bay fan criticism for his pass catching out of the backfield and average pass protection. But now, while Green bay fans will see how much the offense relies on Grant to run the football, there is a beacon of hope: Brandon Jackson.
Yes, Brandon Jackson. The one everyone, including yours truly, counted out early in the preseason, opting for rookie James Starks to take his role as the number two running back, until Starks's injury sidelined him for the preseason and led him to the PUP list. What happens next?
Jackson goes on to have a good preseason and solidify his role as the number two back. Jackson now has the opportunity to redeem himself and prove he is worthy of assuming the starting role, something he hasn't been able to do after he failed to do so in his rookie year. But, worry not Green Bay. Brandon Jackson shall not become a liability to the offense, but an important asset.
Why will Jackson be able to become an offensive asset ? First, he has better pass catching ability than Grant, which is a must in the Packers' offense. He provides solid pass protection, making him able to stay in on third downs and blitzing situations on first and second down.
With these intangibles, Jackson provides more of a threat in the passing game, something the Packers lacked a little more with Grant in the game. In the offense, look for more screen passes to Jackson due to his pass catching and good speed. These are common for a back like Jackson, and they have produced good results in the past. Jackson is also an underrated threat to score in the red zone.
Brandon Jackson has once again been given his chance to shine in a starting role in the offense. Despite his second round status, he wasn't able to fully become a starter, and was given a smaller role as a result once Grant emerged in 2007, his rookie year. For the rest of 2010, Jackson now has the chance to prove his doubters wrong and carry the offense on the ground.
Jackson can't afford to blow the chance he has been given. This has now become more of a make or break year for Brandon Jackson. If he shows he can carry the work as the starter, the Packers still have the potential to reach the playoffs and the Super Bowl. All eyes are now on Brandon Jackson to make it as the starter on a potential Super Bowl team.
Can he lead the Green bay running attack all the way? Yes, he can.