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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Ryan Grant's lost summer

By Kevin Seifert

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Yes, the Green Bay Packers have focused this summer on transitioning to a new starting quarterback. (We have mentioned that a time or two on this blog). But an important facet of that transition was supposed to be having tailback Ryan Grant established as their every down running back.

The idea was that having a starter with some pedigree -- Grant nearly cracked the 1,000-yard barrier last season even after sitting mostly idle for the first six games -- would take some pressure off quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It would also help align the Packers offense more closely with what coach Mike McCarthy says his core values are: Power running and aggressive defense.

That plan has yet to develop, however. Grant held out the first week of training camp and has sat out the preseason because of a nagging hamstring injury. He missed practice again Thursday and, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, appears unlikely to play Friday at Denver.

McCarthy said Grant is getting close to returning to practice, but his summer already is a bust. There are plenty of established running backs who get minimal work during the preseason, but Grant's situation is a little different. He has done minimal football activities since the end of last season, sitting out offseason practices because of the contract situation and participating in only a handful of training camp practices because of the hamstring.

For those reasons, it's reasonable to start wondering how prepared Grant will be for the grind of a 16-game season. The Packers have depth on their roster -- Brandon Jackson, Vernand Morency and Noah Herron to name a few -- but Grant proved last season he is a step above them. It's a situation definitely worth monitoring as the regular season approaches.

Continuing our morning jog around the NFC North: