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Grant vs. Jackson

Ryan Grant has amassed 186 yards of rushing in 2008, but it has taken 55 attempts over the course of four games. Brandon Jackson, while never having the opportunity to take a first down handoff, has revved up for 93 yards in only 18 carries. That’s an average of 3.4 yard for Grant, opposed to 5.2 for Jackson. Grant, however, is capable of the 57 yard run, while Jackson has been limited to 19.

I admit that the raw numbers don’t always tell the story. However, here’s one that is very interesting, to say the least. In the red zone, Grant has carried 9 times for 15 yards, while Jackson found 19 yards in only one carry. That’s a critical part of scoring, because the pass can be very deadly in the red zone, where defenders clog the routes very easily.

However, we need to consider the receiving splits, as well, and Jackson comes away a clear winner here, with seven catches for 57 yards to Grant’s two for a loss of four yards. Is passing to the RB important? I see it as a critical part of the type game that works well for Rodgers – short, quick West Coast style passing. This works well because defenses are not giving the passing game any credibility at this point, which means they attack the quarterback very effectively. If he can force defenses to protect against passes – even short passes – it will take some of the pressure off the offensive line and hopefully save #12 from some bruising.

Jackson is slightly faster than Grant – 10.6 vs. 10.7 in the 100 meter. They both weigh in within ten pounds of 220, but Grant is 3 inches taller. Both were track stars in high school, which contributes to their excellent running ability. Neither has a significant physical advantage on the other.

It’s obvious that Mike McCarthy is using the two men differently, and that’s to be expected. I really like both of these guys, and I believe that, as a team, they can become a potent running game. Getting the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands quickly – repeatedly – is going to be key to forcing defenses to respect the run and the pass.

However, the conclusion I draw is that Brandon Jackson is due to see more time on the field, especially in red zone situations. As well, he looks like more of a first down threat. Perhaps some competition could spur Ryan Grant to give us the beautiful performances of the late 2007 season.

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One Response to “Grant vs. Jackson”

  1. James Crute says:

    I think the thing to keep in mind with Grant is that he is a rhythm runner. He did not play in the preseason and is not quite in rhythm at this point. Case in point the fourth and short play where instead of taking advantage of the wide open cutback lane, he ran right into the pile. This is the type of play he really took advantage of last year, and I believe he will this year after he gets into the flow of things. Also the return of Scott Wells can only help things out. I like Jackson but I think of the two he is more of a complementary back rather than a down after down grinder. I definately agree that the two of them will be an excellent tandem.

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