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Blog Battle! PackerGeek Style...

Steve over at PackerGeeks has taken umbrage with my post on Ryan Grant and my leering look his way in said post. (And yes, Steve, in the name of all that's Holy - as in 'knowing', not 'desirous')

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...

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Andrew in Atlanta's picture

I saw your "game on" post to Steve. Unfortunately, I have to go to a Packer sports bar in Atlanta to see the game so I can't DVR it. It's up to you and Mrs. Nagler to save the day at Cheesehead TV and make everything right with Queen and Country.

keeley2's picture

I'm not writing here to take sides in the great debate over Ryan Grant. I will take issue with a comment you made about special backs making bad offensive lines look good, etc.
I take issue only because I'm a die-hard Packer fan trapped in Minneapolis and I get to see the weekly issues the Vikings have with Adrian Peterson. I'm hoping you will agree that the Vikings offensive line is nothing special and the output of AP has much more to do with the scheme used against the offense versus the running backs ability to make an offensive line look good. Once opposing teams saw that the Vikings only offense would come from the running attack, defenses stacked 8-9 in the box and dared them to pass. I don't care if you are a premier offensive line - you won't consistently run against that formation on the best of days. I see something very similar happening to us - Rodgers is still a bit of an unknown and most teams would prefer to take their chances with Rodgers throwing the ball. Once he consistently proves them wrong, the running game will open up again.
Am I on to something? Or am I on something?

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

I am definitely enjoying the fracas. I think the loser should have to shave his head.

PackerAaron's picture

keeley2 - Have to disagree on the Viking offensive line - they are quite good, much better than what the Packers have - but McCarthy is a much better play designer and playcaller, though he has been curiously unimaginative and horribly predictable at times this season. But nothing compares to the milquetoast offensive designs of one Brad Childress. If the Vikings just had a halfway decent offensive coordinator, you'd see a lot more production out of them. The league spent the offseason watching the last few games of 2007, particularly the Viking-49er game, and saw how to take Peterson out of the game. That's why people were so flabbergasted they didn't upgrade their passing game in the offseason - there's nothing else on offense to take the pressure off Peterson.

As for Rodgers and the running game opening up - like I've said both here and over at PackerGeeks - I hope that's the case.

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