Packers: Ryan Grant May Be Lost in Transition Sometime This Offseason

For a player who hails from Suffern, NY., Green Bay's Ryan Grant isn't accustom to the outspoken and pushy ways of his fellow Big Apple friends.  Like the thousands of billboards in Time's Square, Grant simply blends into the crowd.

Maybe that's why he is considered one of the most underrated backs in the NFL.

When it comes to locker room meetings, Grant isn't the first guy to stand up and declare Lambeau Field as Sparta, followed by a triumphant march from beneath the stadium.  Instead, Grant knows his place on the team, one that is two steps forward of a rookie status and one step behind maintaining leadership on the Packers depth chart.

After one missed season, though, all of that could be erased in the blink of an eye.

It's hard to say what Grant's hobbies are exactly.  Something along the lines of origami seems too far-fetched for a man of Grant's background.  Yet studying the music of Mozart's piano concerto's is much too high brow for a player often regarded as Ahman Green the second.

I guess we'll throw Grant into the mix of video game lovers and car enthusiasts until we find out.  Fire up your Sega Chad Ochocinco.

But if there's one thing we can hold Grant too, it is his hobby of hard work.  Grant was interviewed by NFL Network three years ago.  In front of his loving family.  Straight after sustaining his third 100 yard performance following a Thanksgiving game against Detroit.

Grant casually plomped down onto an extended arm rest of his parents couch.  Where he wasn't too much of a macho man to fill us in on who the real No.25 is.

"Pretty basic, I'm just a hard worker.  A downhill type of runner who does whatever it takes to contribute" said Grant with a toothy smile on his face and a stern but serious silence from his adoring folks.

That response gave us all a pretty firm answer.  Grant means business.

Now, that same outlook has flip-flopped over the past six months.  Grant resembles a man whose job rests on the ever predictable Ted Thompson, after going down in Week 1 with an ankle injury against the Philadelphia Eagles

Mind you, replacement James Starks hasn't been much help.  Especially in the postseason.

If Green Bay hadn't won the Super Bowl on Sunday, we may not even be having this discussion.  Should the Steelers have won, most people would have blamed a Green Bay loss on injury depletion.  Simply by writing it off as "I guess everything finally caught up to them".

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.  The Packers won their fourth ring.  And they did it in style, not just in the air, but on the ground as well.  Starks ran for 52 yards against a threatening Dick LeBeau 3-4 scheme.  The Steelers linebackers were basically silent on the day.  So was Troy Polamalu.

However, all of this tells only half the story. 

The constant criticism that Grant receives time and time again isn't directed toward his attitude, his performance or even his demeanor.  No, the negative aspect of Grant's game is consistency.  As it lacks big time, although it is quietly starting to take shape.

Grant rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2009 -- earning him the third spot in rush yards in the NFC.  Inside that season, though, Grant had seven games without a score.  Leaving Aaron Rodgers to make the most of a crater filled offensive line.  He also got by with a little help from friend Greg Jennings.

If Grant doesn't wish to go the way of Brandon Jacobs in his former team, the New York Giants, he best work hard this offseason.

The chances of Grant wandering off to another team?

They aren't as slim as you think.  Money has become a big issue in this picture, even though the Packers Pro Shop is rolling in green right now.  Grant's $30 million (plus) contract could be sliced sometime in the near future.  Or worse, totally passed on due to the emergence of Starks.

Sweaty times await Grant's palms in the coming months.

If Grant really wanted to, he could take partial ownership of Green Bay (without buying shares in the team either).  Lambeau Field is officially Rodgers' playground for years to come.  But with the Packers history showing more depth at quarterback than running back, Grant could go down with Green, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor if he played his cards right.

Holding your breath isn't a wise decision just yet.

For a runner that is considered one of the top of in the tier, a lot is expected in 2011.  A stronger team presence is needed.  Along with a much more balanced performance that doesn't force the Packers to rely on Rodgers' arm.  Despite the fact that it just won a fourth ring for Titletown.

Grant is expected to receive serious contract bonuses during the offseason.  These are all seven digit figures.  Whether or not they are worthy is up for serious debate.

I won't forget how Grant seriously helped Favre to lead the Packers to the NFC Championship Game in 2007, heck, it was a brilliant year for all involved.  But a lot has changed since then, and with a year off, Grant is beginning to full behind the Pack.  Literally.

Packer fans still love him.  From a financial standpoint?  Not so much.

Mike McCarthy isn't focused on this issue right now, but it wouldn't hurt to consider the prospect of a two-headed run attack in the future.  The New Orleans Saints left teams reeling behind this combination two years ago, and now that the Packers are defending champs, say hello to a serious offensive threat.

It isn't tah-tah for Grant.  In all reality he should remain in green and gold.  Still, the Packers aren't the New York Jets.  They don't have excessive amounts of money to blow, and they don't necessarily need two or three great running backs on the roster.

Sooner or later, don't be surprised to see someone make way.

Grant told reporters last week, "I could play on Sunday".  His ankle is close to 100%.  So I ask you, why didn't he?  It could have potentially saved this sticky situation.

 

Follow Ryan Cook on   Twitter.

Ryan Cook is an Australian writer for Acme Packing Company. He is also a guest writer for PackerChatters.  Like/Hate his work?  Just want to shoot the breeze?  Send him an email: ryan.cook392@gmail.com.

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