CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 13: Brandon Saine #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs for a gain as Brian Schaefering #91 of the Cleveland Browns prepares for the tackle during the third quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 13, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
With Green Bay Packers rookie RB Alex Green unable to play on Saturday night after injuring his thigh last week in practice, Ryan Grant, James Starks, and undrafted rookie (and former Buckeye) Brandon Saine did a majority of the work. Dimitri Nance also played, but he didn't make much of an impression and I'm focused on the other three backs.
While I wasn't surprised to see that T.J. Lang and Derek Sherrod rotated at left guard with the first team offense, I was surprised to see that Grant was pulled in favor of Starks for their second possession. I haven't read anything to indicate it's a true competition, Grant will start ahead of Starks barring an injury, but that substitution made it appear like there was a competition to be had. Unfortunately for Starks, his night was cut short by an ankle injury, but he made one good run for nine yards before leaving. Grant also had a couple good runs, and I'd be hard pressed to say either one was clearly the better back. They both looked good in a limited opportunity.
But it was my first look at Saine, and he did surprise me. He had a couple of strong runs, his offensive line wasn't making it easy for him, as he carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards. He also showed good hands and caught all three passes thrown his way. Former Packer, and new Brown, RB Brandon Jackson was on the other side of the field, and Saine looked just as good as Jackson. I don't know if Saine can really become a solid 3rd down back, but he showed some potential.
Unfortunately if Saine continues to improve, I don't how he'd make onto the practice squad. Tyrell Sutton had a strong preseason in 2009, and he didn't make it past waivers. There isn't room for Saine on the active roster.