Ryan Grant On The Bucs’ Radar?April 22nd, 2012
Greg Schiano wants to run the ball. He’s drooling over his offensive line. Goodness, the way Schaino talks about running the ball, one might think he wants to take the NFL back to the 1970s.
Joe guesses that as a young lad Schiano was mesmerized by Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris dominating the NFL in 1972 and 1973, enroute to back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Want a mind-blowing stat? Bob Griese was a Pro Bowl quarterback with that ’73 team despite completing less than nine passes per game. Nine!
The point is with a high-priced, high-powered Buccaneers offensive line, and a coach in love with the handoff, the Bucs obviously need to add to their stable of running backs. Moisses Madu, Robert Hughes and LeGarrette Blount are nowhere near enough.
Joe expects the Bucs to draft a running back in Round 2 or Round 3 later this week, but they still need a veteran back to round out the stable.
Free agent Ryan Grant is a name that intrigues Joe, and one that seemingly would pique the interest of Schiano and rockstar general manager Mark Dominik. Grant, 29, is a high character guy, a former captain at Notre Dame, who came on strong in Green Bay in second half of last season and revived his career.
The Journal-Sentinel out of Milwaukee yesterday claimed the Packers want Grant back but money is likely an issue, along with promising young backs on Green Bay’s roster.
Last year, Grant started out slowly upon his return from ankle surgery, but late in the year he looked much more like the 1,000-yard rusher he had been for the Packers in 2008 and ’09.
In his last five games, he carried 50 times for 276 yards and two touchdowns, averaging a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. He also caught eight passes for 179 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown on a screen pass.
Grant is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team.
The Patriots may have brought in three backs at one time with the idea of signing the one who was willing to take the cheapest deal. Grant accepted a $1 million cut in pay last year but still earned $4.25 million salary and probably isn’t prepared to sign a minimum-wage deal.
Joe can’t speak for Grant’s pass blocking, but he’s surely a guy that can do some explosive stuff on third down and run hard between the tackles, plus he comes from a classy club and has playoff experience.
The Bucs shouldn’t look for a way around scoring a veteran running back. Maybe it’s not Grant, but they do need one.