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Ryan Grant Article

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Pack93z, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

    Aug 1, 2005
    Nice little read and I like the kids attitude.. grounded.


    Packers RB not taking success for granted
    By Alex Marvez
    Updated: January 10, 2008, 10:53 PM EST


    Without the right attitude, Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant's journey from obscurity to budding NFL stardom would have ended long ago.
    "My mentality is that if you work hard, things will work out in the end," Grant said on Wednesday. "They might not work out right away or the way you think. But it will work out."

    Even if that means:

    Not getting drafted.

    Not playing in his first two NFL seasons.

    Suffering a potentially fatal arm injury during a freak accident.

    Thinking he survived the New York Giants' preseason cuts in September — only to get traded hours later to the Packers.
    Many of Grant's teammates admit they didn't know anything about him — including his name — upon his arrival in Green Bay. They do now.

    Entering Saturday's second-round home playoff game against Seattle, only San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (947) has tallied more rushing yards than Grant's 929 since Week 8 of the regular season. That's when Grant finally received his big break. After starter DeShawn Wynn suffered a second-quarter shoulder injury against Denver, Grant stepped in and gained 104 yards.

    Now, there's no looking back.

    "I always knew I could perform," Grant said. "For whatever reason, things happen, especially with the draft. It's a crapshoot.

    "One thing I understood is, 'I'm in the league now. Take advantage of it. It doesn't matter how you got in.'"

    Such advice — given by former Giants running back Tiki Barber — proved a big help.

    Overshadowed at Notre Dame by current Dallas Cowboys running back Julius Jones, Grant signed as a college free agent in 2005 with the Giants and spent that year on New York's practice squad. Grant was then placed on injured reserve in 2006 after an off-season mishap.

    Grant has said he was trying to brace himself on a glass table after slipping at a party. The table broke, resulting in severe cuts and the severing of an artery, nerve and tendon in his left arm. Grant could have bled to death if he hadn't quickly sought treatment at a local hospital.

    Grant wouldn't go into detail about such trauma on Wednesday but did say, "I was blessed. Once I was told I was going to be OK, I just moved forward and tried to work as hard as possible."

    After extensive rehabilitation, Grant returned as good as new to the Giants in 2007. He quickly caught the eye of Packers management, which was seeking help at running back. Green Bay initially offered New York the choice of several backup defensive linemen as compensation. The Giants, with four quality backs (Brandon Jacobs, Reuben Droughns, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradhsaw) already, instead opted for a sixth-round draft choice.

    Grant was attractive to Green Bay because of his running style even though he hadn't previously played in an offense with zone-blocking. Packers brass thought Grant could be an effective "one-cut" rusher that quickly read holes, burst back through openings and took advantage of over-aggressive defenses.

    When he slips through, Grant has proven difficult to catch. Grant averaged a run of 20-plus yards once every 17 attempts, which was the NFL's highest regular-season average. Grant also enters the Seahawks game having rushed for a touchdown in six consecutive contests.

    "I don't want to act like I'm some sort of guru because I'm still learning," a laughing Grant said. "But I'm a slasher. I'm always trying to get north-south as fast as possible.

    "In the zone offense, you try to get defenses to run at a certain angle. That might mean me pressing (outside) a little longer and people thinking, 'Oh, he's over-running (the play).' But I'm trying to set up something."

    Grant has five 100-yard rushing performances in the past nine games. Just as significant, Grant has forced opposing defenses to stay honest and not focus solely on stopping Green Bay's passing game.

    Even with the Packers getting off to a 5-1 start, a one-dimensional attack could have caused Green Bay's undoing. But after averaging only 65.7 rushing yards during that span, the Packers have almost doubled that figure to 120.3 yards in their final 10 games.

    "Before Ryan started doing a very good job, teams weren't respecting the run," Packers tight end Donald Lee said. "They knew we were going to pass. Even the play-action wasn't working. If you don't respect the running back, why step up and play the run?


    "Teams respect us now. When we go play-action, you see how linebackers hit it because they think he's getting the ball. It's opened the secondary up for the offense."

    None of this would have happened if Grant hadn't prepared so diligently for this opportunity. A double-major graduate at Notre Dame (sociology and computer science), Grant quickly grasped Green Bay's offensive system and was ready when called upon.

    "When he first came in, he didn't have the mindset, 'I'm coming in to back guys up,'" Packers running backs coach Edgar Bennett said. "His mindset was, 'I'm coming in to be the guy.'

    He showed that with just his preparation alone by taking notes in the meeting room, he practiced with purpose. He finished runs.
    "And when you saw him out on the practice field, He pays attention to detail. He's ready to go out and have that type of success."


    Young said his approach was inspired by a college running backs coach (Desmond Robinson) who stressed, "Put your signature on everything you do."

    "When I first got here, I threw myself right in and did whatever I could to make sure I knew (the offense)," Grant said. "I didn't want to make any excuses. It's my job. I get paid to do this."

    And soon, he should earn a lot more. Grant wasn't paid by the Giants in 2006 because he suffered a non-football injury. He collected a $310,000 base salary this season and is again slated to earn the NFL-minimum ($370,000) in 2008. But the Packers — which hold his exclusive contract rights for next season — are likely to pursue using some of their projected $14.4 million in salary cap room to give Grant a financial bump.

    Grant, though, insists monetary issues are secondary to a more pressing one: Helping the Packers win the Super Bowl.

    "Scoring touchdowns and running for a lot of yards are things you always want to do as a running back," he said. "But I've learned that if you don't win, it really doesn't mean anything. Nobody hears about the guy who ran for 100 yards in the Super Bowl and lost. It doesn't make a difference.

    "I know how I feel when I win. I don't play this game necessarily to go for that yardage. I play to win."
  2. Timmons

    Timmons Cheesehead

    May 8, 2006
    Good find. Thanks for posting. I have been impressed with how quickly he has learned the offense. Recruiting/drafting/signing smart players should be a requirement.

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