Packer Notes: Assessing The Injuries To Harrell and Grant

From Mike McCarthy's press conference on the Green Bay Packers key injuries on Sunday:

Justin Harrell suffered an ACL injury. He will be placed on IR. Justin will be lost for the season. And Ryan Grant also had a significant ankle injury. We’re still in the process of gathering all of the information.

It's already been reported that DE Jarius Wynn will be re-signed. He was one of the final cuts at the end of training camp after spending the entire 2009 season on the Packers 53-man roster. I like him better than DE C.J. Wilson, but neither holds his position in the middle like Harrell. With the loss of DE Johnny Jolly and now Harrell, the line is a smaller group and makes the release of DT Anthony Toribio a bit tougher in hindsight. Not a big loss, but a loss nonetheless.

Grant is obviously the bigger news. Grant's tweets seem optimistic, but McCarthy's use of the word "significant" means he's out a while. Obviously RB Brandon Jackson takes over, which isn't a big change since Jackson plays a lot as the 3rd down back anyway. FB John Kuhn now is the backup. I hesitate to say he's the new short yardage runner, or for plays up the middle, because Jackson has run in those situations plenty of times too. Grant's clearly better than Kuhn, but he can run and catch a little and should be able to hold down the position for a little while. The bigger problem is that there's only practice squad RB James Johnson behind those two.

Lori Nickel rattles off a few veteran names, with RB Willie Parker at the top of the list. She also mentions RB Ahman Green, who was fine last season and probably wouldn't be heart broken to leave the Omaha Nighthawks for the NFL. Could any of those veterans take over as a lead back if something were to happen to Jackson?

There are about 20 running backs on practice squads around the NFL. One of them is former Boise State RB Ian Johnson. He's a little small, but he's been in the mix to make the Vikings roster the past two seasons. According to my Football Outsiders 2010 Almanac, Johnson's speed score was 107.2 which is pretty good. He's also a decent receiver with 47 catches over his last two college seasons. Another name is former Broncos RB Ryan Torian. At 6'1" and 218 lbs., he not only shares the same first name as Grant but he's a similar size too. Former Titans 2nd round bust RB Chris Henry is on the Seahawks practice squad, but I can't see the Packers having interest in him.

A trade is a possibility too, depending on who's actually available, but those rarely after happen the season starts. There doesn't appear to be any urgency to sign anyone, but that could obviously change. I think they have to make a move to add a running back for next Sunda, and my preference would be to find someone off another team's practice squad.

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