The Packers were considered by many, including those of us here at Pro Football Weekly, to be the favorite to win the Super Bowl. But their championship hopes took a big hit on Tuesday when they placed starting RB Ryan Grant on injured reserve.
Grant suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter of the season opener against the Eagles on Sunday. On Monday, head coach Mike McCarthy said Grant would just miss Week Two, but on Tuesday it was revealed that the injury was a significant one and will cost Grant his 2010 season.
Grant started every game in 2009 and ran for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns in the Packers' pass-happy offense. He also had 25 catches for 197 yards out of the backfield.
"When you lose a running back of Ryan's caliber, it's a big loss. But this is something we have to deal with and move forward from as a team. We have confidence that our other players will step up and meet the challenge of these losses," said Packers GM Ted Thompson.
The Packers also placed DE Justin Harrell on I.R. Harrell tore the ACL in his left knee late in the season opener.
To replace the two injured players, the Packers signed DE Jarius Wynn and RB Dmitri Nance on Tuesday.
Wynn, a sixth-round pick by the Pack in 2009, played in 11 games as a rookie and was released when the rosters were trimmed to 53 on Sept. 4. Nance, a rookie out of Arizona State, was previously with the Falcons' practice squad.
The way we see it
While the Packers are a pass-first team, losing their starting running back in the first half of the first game is a big blow. The Grant injury leaves RB Brandon Jackson and FB John Kuhn as the players to handle the bulk of the carries. Jackson, a second-round pick in 2007, has three career starts. He had 63 yards on 18 carries in replacing Grant on Sunday. Kuhn, a five-year veteran, had one rushing TD against the Eagles.
In the Pro Football Weekly 2010 Draft Preview, Nolan Nawrocki wrote Nance "has a fullback-type build and shakes but does not bake and does not run hard enough for a power back to warrant more than camp interest." It is surprising that the Packers' first move to add depth to the backfield is to get a guy with a fullback-type build, but they may not be done making moves at the RB spot.