GREEN BAY – If Ryan Grant is going to be the Green Bay Packers’ next Cullen Jenkins – a veteran free agent the team winds up regretting not re-signing – coach Mike McCarthy sure didn’t sound too worried about it Thursday.
Instead, McCarthy spoke confidently about the young group of running backs the Packers will count on this season after opting not to re-sign Grant, who remains on the free-agent market as training camps open.
“I’ll just say this: My two boys, they play fantasy football, and we were talking about players a few weeks back, and I just get the biggest chuckle out of it, because I don’t view player acquisition that way, and I never have,” McCarthy said Thursday during an appearance on Green & Gold Today. “It goes back to developing quarterbacks. Your job as a coach is to take the individual and his strengths and maximize those and develop those things that you perceive as a weakness. And the one thing we perceive as a weakness in the running back group is youth.”
Actually, there are two perceived weaknesses about two of the Packers’ top three backs: Youth, and durability. Starter James Starks has a long injury history, and Alex Green is coming off a torn ACL in his left knee.
Nevertheless, the unit’s youth – second-year back Brandon Saine and undrafted rookies Marc Tyler and Du’ane Bennett round out the group – was the one issue McCarthy spoke of Thursday, and he downplayed it.
“We feel like we have a very good formula of success for developing young players. That’s really the only – I don’t even like to say the word ‘concern,’ because I’m not concerned about it. It’s really the only obstacle that group needs to overcome,” McCarthy said. “There’s a talented group of men there – James Starks, Brandon Saine, Alex Green, Marc Tyler and (Du’ane) Bennett. It’s a group that I feel very confident we’ll develop and we’ll create opportunities to be successful and we’ll walk away with a group ready to play. I like all five of those guys.”
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