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Keeping The Running Back Committee

John Clayton has an article about the failure of the running back committee last season, and the rise of RB Ryan Grant. Grant is clearly the best back on the roster, but in hindsight it isn't a surprise he got a chance to start. Here's what Mike McCarthy told Clayton:

"First of all, Ryan is the big, physical back that I like," McCarthy said. "I've worked with backs like Deuce McAllister, Ricky Williams, Marcus Allen and Dorsey Levens, so I've had a lot of success with that body type. He can finish the back side of the run because he's up over 220 pounds. He fits our style."

He's lucky that it has worked out in Green Bay, and that his best running back is a big back. In 2005, McCarthy was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco and for most of that year made the surprising decision nearly every week to start RB Kevan Barlow in favor of RB Frank Gore. It was obvious Barlow was inferior, but at 6'1" Barlow was the tall back that McCarthy favored. Gore is only 5'9" and more similar in stature to backup RB Brandon Jackson. Although Jackson started the opening game of the 2007 season for the Packers, even if he had not gotten injured, McCarthy would have probably given Grant a chance at some point to start last season.

Despite his ability, Jackson is still a promising young player, and the Packers shouldn't ignore the other backs on their roster. Aaron Schatz looked at it a couple of seasons ago, and some committees outperform many NFL star running backs. They should be looking ahead at what roles they expect their backs to fill so Grant is not used exclusively and does not come anywhere near the Curse of 370.