Add punch to running game
As discussed recently on PackerReport.com, there’s a possibility that running back Ryan Grant holds out of training camp if not granted a new contract for his out-of-nowhere, 956-yard, eight-touchdown season.
He deserves a new deal.
Not the career-defining, $40 million variety. But Grant should receive a fresh three-year deal. He’s the perfect fit for the Packers’ zone blocking scheme. The $370,000 tender he is classified for is a joke.
Still, Grant isn’t the ends-all to the Packers’ rushing game re-haul from a year ago. Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn were each given the same opportunity as Grant and crashed, while Vernand Morency is a serviceable third-down back. To cater to Rodgers’ strengths, the Packers must draft a big back in the early rounds. The offense needs someone who can carry the ball 5-10 times a game, but not necessarily a one-cut back that fits into the ZBS. When the New York Giants consistently beat blockers to the spot in the NFC title game last season, it was a painful sign that the offense lacks a monster back to deviate from Grant’s cutting style.
If Illinois’ Rashard Mendenhall somehow slips through the cracks of Dallas, Chicago and Tennessee, the Packers must take him (even though such a case is more unlikely than Eliot Spitzer becoming governor of New York again). At 5-foot-10, 225 pounds, Mendenhall is the perfect pounding presence to Grant’s big play ability.
Arkansas’ Felix Jones or Oregon’s Jonathan Stewart would also be tough to pass up. Keep an eye on the 235-pound Stewart. Teams will no doubt be frightened by his toe injury, but he insists that his recovery schedule is 3-4 months, just in time for training camp. A modern-day Curtis Martin, Stewart would be steal at No. 30.
It’s not uncommon for playoff teams – already equipped with starting backs – to scavenge for a back at the bottom of the first round.
St. Louis took Steven Jackson in 2004 at the 24th overall pick, with Marshall Faulk on the roster. Indianapolis uncovered a gem in Joseph Addai two years at the 30th selection, where Green Bay picks this year.
Such a pick would tie up a lot of money in one position – assuming Grant is given a new deal – but it’d be worth it for Rodgers’ sake. With so much talent around him, it’d be almost impossible to fail.
Say ‘No’ to Losman
Ted Thompson may be on the verge of making his worst move as the Green Bay Packers’ general manager.
Rumors of the Packers seeking a trade for J.P. Losman have gained steam lately. Green Bay picked up an extra fourth-round compensatory pick, and possess three of the first 60 picks in the NFL draft, so the ammo for such a trade exists. And after Quinn Gray signed with Houston and Gus Frerotte went to Minnesota, the free agent pool is drying out ... teasing with a disastrous possibility: J.P. Losman on a Green Bay Packers’ roster.
The Bills are seeking a third-rounder for Losman, who was beaten out by Trent Edwards in Buffalo. This asking price will most likely be lowered, considering that Green Bay is the only team in dire-strait need of a backup quarterback.
Losman is unworthy of a No. 2 quarterback job in the NFL. Check that, he's unworthy of a NFL roster spot.
With the Bills he was given every opportunity to be Jim Kelly and looked every bit like Rob Johnson. He went 10-21 as Buffalo’s starter, and was beaten out by a journeyman (Kelly Holcomb) and a third-round rookie (Trent Edwards). No patience in the pocket. No command of the offense in crunch time. And no hope for improvement. Losman’s deficiencies are unbreakable. You can’t correct the fundamentals of a fifth-year veteran. They’re engrained.
More than a lack of talent, Losman’s presence in the locker room would be a lingering distraction. He’d constantly be the elephant in the room. The backup peering over Rodgers’ shoulder, waiting for a slip-up. In Buffalo, Losman has rubbed many fans the wrong way with his attitude, whether it’s pouting alone on the bench during Edwards’ first start or clamoring that he hasn’t been given a shot.
Well, he has - 31 starts to be exact. And he’s been nothing but a jittery, unstable turnover waiting to happen. It’d be the worst use of a third-round pick this side of B.J. Sander.
The Packers must find a veteran quarterback who realizes and accepts his role as backup/mentor. Not a competitor. Considering Rodgers’ injury history, the Packers must choose wisely. Gray or Frerotte would have been ideal choices. Holcomb may be the calm, quiet veteran the team needs. Eleven years of experience at a very cheap price sure beats four years of failure for a draft pick.
Keep an eye on 82
He didn’t even pause for a second to contemplate.
Ruvell Martin is Aaron Rodgers’ favorite receiver. The Packers re-signed Martin to a one-year, $445,000 tender last week. Martin was used sparingly last season, stuck behind arguably the best wide receiver trio in the league. He caught 16 passes for 242 yards and four touchdowns.
But a comfort level can never be underestimated.
And there’s an indefinable trust between Rodgers and Martin. For the past three seasons, both have made practice their game day – stuck behind veterans. Chemistry grew. When asked who his go-to receiver is during practice, Rodgers instantly names Martin. And Martin reiterated the same, with similar conviction.
The Packers may plan to utilize Martin more next year as the third-down blanket for Rodgers.