'Committee' to replace running back Ryan Grant
By: By Jim Polzin, The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
GREEN BAY -- When he took over as the Green Bay Packers starting halfback last week, Brandon Jackson assumed a bigger workload would be part of his new job description.
That didn't prove to be the case during the Packers' 34-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, when Jackson had just two carries in the second half and 11 total.
A day later, Packers coach Mike McCarthy used the word "committee" to describe the team's approach to replacing Ryan Grant, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury during the team's Week 1 victory at Philadelphia.
Joining Jackson on that committee are John Kuhn and Dimitri Nance. Kuhn, who moved over from fullback to serve as Jackson's backup, had nine carries for 36 yards -- both career highs -- against Buffalo. Nance had two carries for 6 yards just five days after being signed by the Packers off the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad.
"Well, it's a team game and if he feels that way, that's what we have to roll with," Jackson said Thursday. "I'm pretty confident in John Kuhn that when he touches the ball, he'll get his yards and he'll do what he's supposed to, and when I get the ball I'll do what I'm supposed to. So we're a running back by committee, but I do feel like I can carry the load and run the ball."
Eight of Jackson's 11 carries against the Bills went for 3 yards or less, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. McCarthy said the offensive line's run blocking was "just OK," but Jackson admitted he was a big part of the problem.
"I left a lot of yards out on the field," Jackson said.
Jackson, who finished with just 29 yards and averaged 2.3 yards per carry after gaining 6 yards on his first carry, admitted he was too tentative.
"I was just trying to feel my way through, and you can't do that," said Jackson, a second-round pick in 2007. "You've got to be aggressive, attack the hole and it will come."
Jackson said he was so anxious to make corrections from the Buffalo game that he arrived at Lambeau Field "real early" on Thursday and met with running backs coach Edgar Bennett.
Grant logged 594 carries the past two seasons combined -- an average of 18.6 per game -- and had 20 or more carries 13 times in that span. Jackson is convinced he can be the same type of workhorse, though he realizes he needs to gain the coaching staff's trust for that to happen.
"In this game, you've got to earn it," Jackson said.
It won't be easy this week when the Packers play the Chicago Bears Monday night at Soldier Field. The Bears have allowed just 56 rushing yards on 41 attempts, a 1.4 average, in their first two games.
"I think we'd all like to see someone get real smokin' hot back there, and maybe get (the ball) more than the other guys," Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "But I think that's kind of to be determined. We're still working through it."
-- Copyright (c) 2010, The Wisconsin State Journal/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services