Yeah, the run game is pathetically bad. Brandon Weeden had managed more rushing yards this year than Chris Johnson has. To say I'm unsatisfied with this is to say that genocide is kind of a bummer. I'm absolutely mental about the entire situation. To see, at one point, one of the generation's great talents at the running back position squander away his final years of expected effectiveness is becoming too much for me to bear. The vitriol he is getting is undoubtedly deserved and he knows it. I'll be a Chris Johnson fan until the day I die, his goofy mannerisms and electric playmaking ability has made a believer out of this guy. With that being said, time to start looking at guys to share the load.
To get this plan rolling, the Titans need to start looking somewhere other than Jamie Harper and Javon Ringer. Neither of those guys are the answer. In fact, I'll take Ryan Grant 10/10 times over either of those two. I know he's not the same runner as he was after his injury, that's why Green Bay chose to go with Starks/Benson/Green over him, but if there's a point in the season that we want the team taking risks, it's early on. Speaking of risks, this is a move for which there basically is none. We're not calling him in to be a feature back, nor are we even calling him in to officially be a part of the team, we just want to see what he's got left in the tank. Assume he gets a deal, at this point you have to consider it'd be something pretty close to the lower end of the spectrum.
Here are the facts: the Tennessee Titans are the worst running team in football and it isn't particularly close. Thus far, I don't see any improvement up front, let it be known that this is definitely not purely a problem of who the back is. We keep asking for a back who can "consistently pick up the 3 or 4 yard gain", well last year Grant averaged 4.2 yards per carry behind a below average offensive line. Yes, I'm aware that the Tennessee offensive line is definitely a step below below average, but the fact remains that Grant picked up average yardage in a less than optimal situation. You can credit Aaron Rodgers and the passing game for opening things up if you like, but I see a guy who may have a shot at out-producing our backfield for peanuts. Look, the Lions, a team who has one back in Kevin Smith who has proven to be at least serviceable and another whom they spent a high draft pick on in Mikel Leshoure, and they're open to the possibility, they brought in both Grant and former Texans castoff Steve Slaton. Now, they're also struggling to move the ball on the ground a little bit, but 19th in the league is a far cry from 32nd.
Look, I'm not saying Ryan Grant, he of 559 yards, two touchdowns, and one ankle surgery, is the answer to our prayers to have a good rushing attack again, I'm saying it's a step in the right direction. If I may borrow another imperfect baseball analogy, look at what the Baltimore Orioles have accomplished this year with a "throw a bunch of crap at the walls and see what sticks" attitude. It may not be repeatable, but in football there's a much larger sense that that doesn't particularly matter, right now this team needs a player who can pick up 3 or 4 on any given carry and who will attack whatever minuscule hole is given to him. Grant is only 29 and two seasons removed from a Pro Bowl year, I seriously don't see the harm in at least working the guy out, even signing him to a small contract. The move wouldn't signify that Grant is a feature player, either, only that the Titans were using some progressive thinking and moving towards the RB stable idea. Things literally can't get worse for the run game right now, there need to be some changes made and this seems like a logical place to start.