Even after watching the Packers beat the Seahawks on Sunday, it was very obvious that the team was lacking in the running game. Ryan Grant has been lackluster, to say the least, not even breaking 100 yards when given the ball over 30 times on Sunday.
It got me to thinking, why is this? Why is Ryan Grant having so much difficulty running the ball when he was able to tear up the NFL last season with the same offensive line?
Some people say that he’s still fighting an injury from the beginning of the season, but I don’t think this is the problem. I think Ryan Grant’s problem is that he missed the preseason, holding out for a new contract.
Most people are hard pressed to find an example of a player that performed well after missing all of the preseason. Just look at Chiefs RB Larry Johnson last year.
Grant missed some of the most important time with his offensive line; with the zone-blocking scheme, it requires a great deal of timing. Grant needs to know when and where the cutback lanes are going to be there, and he missed that.
Last season, it seemed that he was able to feel when the line would open those holes and he was ready to hit the opening hard. But this season so far, it looks as if he’s running blindly into the back of his offensive line, hoping that the hole will be there.
There’s much to be said when quarterback Aaron Rodgers has more rushing touchdowns than all of the team combined. Grant is now just getting to the point where most running backs are at the beginning of the regular season, and as such, he’s been playing catch-up to the rest of the league.
But I do believe that there is relief on the way in the form of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have been one of the worst teams this year against the run, and the Packers could use a week against a poor run defense.
The biggest threat on the Colts defensive line is Dwight Freeney, who will have to go up against one of the better offensive tackles in Chad Clifton. Clifton will be able to hold Freeney in check and in such the Packers will do much better running the ball. This is something where Aaron Rodgers could use a little help from the running game.
I expect to see Grant to finally get into the end zone this week and break that 100-yard barrier and never look back.