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Tag:Ryan Grant
Posted on: September 30, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Ryan Grant out for Packers Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

In theory, the Packers shouldn't have any real trouble dispatching the Broncos on Sunday -- if you ask our experts, the only real consideration is if they'll win by more than two touchdowns -- but there are at least a couple of warning flags for Green Bay.

For starters, Nick Collins is out for the rest of the season, meaning Charlie Peprah is manning one safety position. There's also the fact that Ryan Grant's out for the game against Denver with a bruised kidney.

The Packers listed Grant as one of five players (Bryan Bulaga, Collins, Frank Zombo, Mike Neal are the others) who are already ruled out for Sunday.

Grant's absence shouldn't be that much of a problem, considering the Packers have been their most effective this season when they let Aaron Rodgers sling the ball around. Plus, they did OK last year without the running back.

And James Starks is available, and if the Packers get up, could see a pretty substantial workload for Green Bay.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 5:09 pm
 

7-Point Preview: Packers vs. Saints

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's patented 7-Point Preview will get you prepped for some of the biggest games of the 2011 NFL season. Don't forget to check out our podcast preview below and Subscribe to the Pick-Six Podcast on iTunes.


1. Green Bay Packers (0-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-0)
The NFL is back. (!) And what a way to kick things off, huh? The last two Super Bowl winners square off at one of the sport's greatest venues, Lambeau Field, in primetime on a Thursday following a turmoil-filled lockout that eventually led to one of the craziest offseasons and most anticipated regular seasons in recent NFL history.

It's also the first time that two Super Bowl MVPs -- Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers -- will face off against each other on the NFL's opening weekend since 1993 -- when Troy Aikman and Mark Rypien, of the Cowboys and Redskins, respectively -- went head-to-head.

And presumably the first time that Kid Rock has been within 100 yards of whoever the people are that form Maroon 5. Of course, these bands apparently impressed Packers wideout Greg Jennings, who referred to this game as a "mini-Super Bowl." Mr. Rodgers would like to disagree, sir.

"It's a similar feel to a big game, a playoff game," Rodgers said. "I don't want to say the Super Bowl. There's a big atmosphere outside the stadium. But the only thing that matters is taking care of business on the field."

Winners of Super Bowl XLV last season, the Packers have pretty good historical odds on their side in terms of this opening game. The previous 45 Super Bowl winners are 37-7-1 in their season opener the following year, and 10-0 in the last decade when it comes to showing up early and often the next year.

But then again, the last ten Super Bowl winners probably weren't chugging beer cheese in the offseason, and everyone knows how nasty a hangover that creates.

Of course, that's all the past. We're talking about the future now, and both these teams should be wearing shades. Thanks to the roster-building skils of Ted Thompson, the Packers are arguably the biggest favorite to win the Super Bowl again in 2011 and, honestly, look like team with dynasty stamped all over it.

The Saints had a "down" year in 2010, but are clearly motivated by their embarrassing wild-card loss to Seattle last year and certainly have the personnel and the talent to get back to February.

2. What the Nerds and Degenerate Gamblers Say:
Well, Vegas unsurprisingly has this game as a high-scoring affair, as the over/under is set at 47.5. That's the highest point total of the entire first weekend, which is interesting because it just occurred to me that the lockout will probably cause suppressed over/unders to start the season. And 47.5 is unsurprising because the lockout has people so jacked for football that their willing to throw piles of money on touchdowns.

The Packers are a (relatively) heavy favorite at -4.5. None of our NFL experts picks went towards New Orleans straight-up, and only Clark Judge and I selected the Saints against the spread. I don't want to say that Clark and I came out firing last year and you should bet on the Saints, but Clark and I came out firing last year. You should bet on the Saints.

Unfortunately, there are no stats on-hand to say "hey, the Packers and Saints can really throw the ball well" just quite yet. At least not for this season anyway. But, it's quite interesting that the Saints and Packers are very close in Football Outsiders' projections for the 2011 season. Green Bay's defensive DVOA is nearly elite (like, almost top-six) and a very stout good offense (like, almost top-10).

New Orleans doesn't project to having a particularly impressive defense, but their offensive DVOA is elite, ranking in the top-five.

3. Key Matchup to Watch
With that nerdiness in mind, perhaps the best matchup to pick is Aaron Rodgers vs. Greg Williams. Look, Rodgers may not like fancy GQ photospreads, but he's a very talented quarterback who, as Ryan and I mentioned above, has gotten very good at moving quickly through his progressions. Add in his athleticism and unbelievable arm and, yeah, he's very good at football and very difficult to contain.

That's where Williams -- a fiery fella in his own right -- comes in. If you want to beat Rodgers, you have to put him on the ground. And if you want to put Rodgers on the ground, you have to blitz him, unless you can generate enough pass rush from your defensive line to get through Green Bay's offensive front. (Good luck with that.)

"The one thing about Aaron Rodgers that’s most impressive is that he was the best quarterback last year against the blitz and the pressure," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "He gets the ball out of his hand quick, so we've got to find ways to create some things."

Given that defensive end Will Smith is suspended for this game, there's an even bigger onus on Williams to generate pressure on Rodgers from somewhere other than straight-up defensive fronts.

If he can put Rodgers on his butt early, the Saints will be able to scale this thing back from a full-on shoot-out. If not, we could see a lot of Packers players doing their best Michael Jackson impersonations into the end zone.

4. Potentially Relevant YouTube
This is the first time in Thursday night Kickoff Weekend history that the past two defending Super Bowl winners are playing to open up the season and, frankly, I love it. Of course it doesn't really hurt that it's the Saints and Packers, which should provide fireworks on both sides of the ball. To honor their recent success, as well as Freddie Mercury's recent would-have-been birthday, why don't we bring back some Queen to our previews?



5. The Packers will win if ...
Rodgers can stay on his feet. The lasting reminder of Rodgers, for anyone who watched the 2010 playoffs, is that he's untouchable. And his mobility does make it hard to bring him down. But if you'll recall, Rodgers and the Packers looked like they were going to miss the playoffs when the quarterback had to sit out against New England -- a game Green Bay nearly won with Matt Flynn under center -- last year, so it's not unheard of for Rodgers to get knocked around a bit.

If he can stay on his feet and remain untouched during most of Thursday night's game, though, he'll end up finding Jennings, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver and James Jones and Jordy Nelson plenty of times, and probably end up giving Williams a new highlight reel to show his defense.

6. The Saints will win if ...
They can establish the run and keep Green Bay's talented linebackers from attacking too much. It's something that's doable -- the Packers ranked just 24th in the NFL in rush defense in 2010. But despite the stereotype that the Saints are a passing team, they truly found success (and a Super Bowl victory) in 2009 by running the ball extremely well, as they finished sixth in the NFL with 131.6 yards per game on the ground.

That dipped off tremendously last year, which is precisely why they jumped up in the draft to grab Mark Ingram. If he, starter Pierre Thomas and the speedy Darren Sproles can generate a substantial ground attack, the Saints have a very good shot at prevailing.

"There’ll be plenty of touches not only for Pierre, but for Mark and Darren," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "And it’s our job to mix those up and also to let the running back get comfortable and get in a rhythm when he's in the game."

That (those?) comfort zone(s) will be key for a potential Saints win.

7. Prediction: Packers 24, Saints 21

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 11:55 pm
 

Ryan Grant takes pay cut for guaranteed money

Posted by Will Brinson

Ryan Grant missed nearly all of last season because of injury. The Packers, despite losing their starting running back, did OK in the final standings, though.

And, as such, Grant wasn't necessarily guaranteed to end up making the final cut to the 53-man roster. Until he took a pay cut anyway, which, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, happened on August 9.

Basically, Grant was due -- as we've mentioned before -- $1 million in guaranteed money on the 15th day of the league year. He earned that cash, but he also agreed to take a $1 million reduction in his base salary.

Originally Grant stood to make $3.5 million in base salary. He'll now make $2.5 million, but the full sum is guaranteed, saving the Packers $1 million in cap space and saving Grant from being cut while also making a nice salary in 2011.

He'll stand to make more if he can have a successful season -- the Journal-Sentinel reports that Grant will make a $750,000 bonus if he's active for every game in 2011.

Per Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Grant can also earn a $250,000 workout bonus and a $250,000 bonus if he makes the Pro Bowl.

The latter is unlikely to happen, especially with James Starks beefing up the running game. But Starks taking carries away limits the chances of Grant getting injured.

Most importantly though, this contract change severely limits the possibility of the Packers cutting Grant, which means he should be gainfully employed in Green Bay come 2011.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.11.11: Sounds like Favre's retired



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL)
  • We now have two players in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft. Former University of Georgia running back Caleb King joins Terrelle Pryor in a draft that usually takes place in mid-July but because of the lockout could happen sometime in the coming weeks. According to PFT, King received a grade of 4.9 from National Scouting, the same organization that gave Pryor a 5.1 (which translates into a sixth- or seventh-round pick).
  • Deion Sanders, like everybody else on the planet, is tired of talking about the lockout. So instead, he talks about himself. (To be fair, he was asked, and it's regarding his Hall of Fame enshrinement next month.)
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Posted on: April 6, 2011 11:01 am
 

Hot Routes 4.6.11: Mason calls Goodell a joke



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The long-time team photographer for the Chiefs, Hank Young, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the team has misused some of his photos. Young, for the record, no longer works for the Chiefs.
  • Somebody smacked the hell out of the fence in front of Donovan McNabb’s Washington-area home, knocking it down. The driver managed to get away, making it a hit-and-run accident. I feel there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it.
  • A nice little feature on the judge who will oversee that preliminary injunction hearing today – Susan Nelson.
  • Jaguars QB David Garrard knows that, at some point, Jacksonville is going to draft a QB. And he’s cool with that. Said Garrard: "I know I'm the starting quarterback for this team, so I'm going to continue to go out and prepare like that and work my butt off to make sure this team, this city wins a championship."

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Posted on: March 18, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 10:35 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Green Bay Packers

Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups. Also, check out our checkup podcast:


In the postseason, this 10-6 number six seed got white hot and wound up bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home. Aaron Rodgers played the quarterback position as masterfully as anyone in the last five years. In three of Green Bay’s four playoff games, Rodgers threw three touchdowns and posted a passer rating above 110. The offense was aided by the emergence of running back James Starks, who helped lend balance to Mike McCarthy’s de facto spread West Coast system. But with the way Green Bay’s passing game was clicking, a backfield feature Gilbert Brown Frank Winters probably could have sufficed.

It’s easy to play offense when you have a defense that surrendered more than 20 points in only three games all season. Dom Capers was brilliant in concocting a byzantine 3-4 scheme built around the versatility of rover Charles Woodson, pass-rushing prowess of Clay Matthews, athleticism of corners Sam Shields and Tramon Williams and strength of the B.J. Raji-led front line.


Success, depth
NFL Offseason

Backup receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones both had 45-plus catches and 550-plus yards in 2010. Don’t expect that to be the case in 2011. Tight end Jermichael Finley will be healthy and once again manning the slot in three-and four-receiver formations. Finley, the team’s most lethal weapon, will be priority No. 1. (Note: With Nelson and Jones both on the rise, it’s possible that veteran Donald Driver could become the forgotten wideout.)

With Finley being versatile enough to line up anywhere, we’ll likely see more formation shifts from Green Bay before the snap. For a defensive coordinator, that’s a terrifying thought given how shrewd Rogers is already in the presnap phase.


Not to cop out, but there aren’t any. When you lead your conference in injuries, all holes on your roster will be exposed. Unless, of course, you somehow plug them again and again. That’s exactly what the Packers did in 2010. Consequently, this team is now two deep at every position.

Of course, if you want to push the issue, you could argue for:

1. Backup interior lineman
The Packers brass is said to be high on Marshall Newhouse, but the fifth-round pick from a year ago is yet to see the field. Veteran utility backup Jason Spitz is injury prone and not likely to be back.

2. Outside linebacker
Snatching someone who can start ahead of Clay Matthews wouldn’t be a bad idea if the right player is available. Because of injuries, Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden all started games at this spot last season. The athletic Jones was the best of the bunch, but even he did not shine as a surefire first-stringer.

3. Defensive rover
Charles Woodson isn’t going to live forever. And the 34-year-old is somewhat injury prone, anyway. Replacing the über-versatile veteran is next to impossible, but if Ted Thompson sees a safety he likes (and Woodson is more of a safety than corner these days), he could give his likely future Hall of Famer an understudy. Jarrett Bush, of course, filled in admirably when Woodson was out during the second half of Super Bowl XLV, but Dom Capers still had to trim his playbook.


Anything short of a Super Bowl repeat would be a failure. Every time a team wins a title, scores of hackneyed pundits squawk about how we could be seeing the beginning of a dynasty. That sentiment actually feels true with these Packers.

Rodgers is in his prime. So is the rest of the offense, which happens to be stacked at all the skill positions. Defensively, Dom Capers is the best in the business when it comes to in-game adjustments and variations of 3-4 blitzes. Capers has all the pieces he had in 2010, which includes four Pro Bowlers plus ascending NT B.J. Raji.

The lockout helps the Packers more than most teams because they’re deep and their core has been together for three years now.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:40 pm
 

Packers have a decision to make on Ryan Grant

Posted by Andy Benoit

There’s an interesting decision to be made in Green Bay soon (or hopefully soon – depends when the 2011 league year actually starts). Ryan Grant is due $5.25 million in 2011. According to Fox Sports’ Adam Caplan, $1 million of that money is a rosteR. Grant (US Presswire)r bonus, due on the 15th day of the new league year.

This is hefty cash for a 28-year-old running back coming off a season-ending ankle injury. Even if Grant is 100 percent healthy (which will likely be the case), the Packers obviously had success without him in 2010. And they appear to be fond of last year’s sixth-round rookie running back James Starks.

“You could see the talent the first day he arrived,” head coach Mike McCarthy said at the scouting combine. “It was a very unusual situation with his medical history coming out of college, not being able to play because he was on PUP (physically-unable-to-perform list). I think everybody got a clean look at what he’s able to do in the playoffs. The opportunity to go through training camp and have a full year of training under his belt, he definitely has big days ahead of him.”

What’s more, the Packers tendered an RFA offer to third down back Brandon Jackson. And fullback John Kuhn has been effective as the short-yardage ballcarrier.

When right, Grant has shown he’s good for 1,200 yards a season. But the reality is he’s probably the most replaceable 1,200-yard back in football. His mechanical downhill style of running is heavily dependent on the run-blocking of the offensive line. Unlike an Adrian Peterson or a Chris Johnson, Grant doesn’t have the lateral agility or quickness to create his own space. That’s why he was undrafted coming out of Notre Dame.

It’s possible, perhaps even probable, that the Packers will keep Grant around. They may want to find out if Starks is actually the real deal. (Remember, it wasn’t long ago that Samkon Gado put up some impressive numbers late in the season for the Packers; what did Gado amount to?). But it’s also possible that Grant could go the way of Nick Barnett, which is to say he loses his starting job to injury.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.16.11: Still #WINNING



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • What do Redskins GM Bruce Allen and Charlie Sheen have in common? WINNING, obviously. As in, “You should know that the current status of the Collective Bargaining Agreement will not disrupt our preparation for the 2011 season or swerve our focus from the Redskins’ objective -- WINNING.” What would have made this even more awesome? If Allen had added the word, “DUH.”
  • A woman has been convicted of killing the pregnant girlfriend of former Bears DB Shaun Gayle. A Lake County, Ill., jury found that Marni Young meticulously planned out an execution of a woman she considered a romantic rival for Gayle. The woman faces a 45-year maximum term. The victim was seven months pregnant with Gayle’s child.
  • Apparently, the Steelers are huge fans of the Pouncey family. As you know, C Maurkice Pouncey established himself as a huge presence for the Pittsburgh offensive line last year, and if Pittsburgh had the choice, it’d take Mike Pouncey in next month’s NFL draft and put him at right guard.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com