According to reports from NFL.com, the Washington Redskins are adding veteran free-agent running back Ryan Grant.
A former 1,000-yard rusher for the Green Bay Packers, Grant gives Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III another weapon to rely on and an experienced option in the backfield. The 29-year-old put together back-to-back 1200-yard rushing seasons for the Packers in 2008 and 2009.
He was denied the chance to take part part in Green Bay's march to the Super Bowl in 2010, due to a knee injury which robbed him of 15 games. Grant returned to the fold last season and tallied 559 yards on 134 carries, for a respectable 4.2 yards per carry average.
He is a versatile runner who can pound a defense between the tackles and also possesses a knack for the big play. In 2011, Grant scored on a 47-yard touchdown run and an 80-yard reception. He will provide experienced cover behind rookie Alfred Morris.
The 2012 sixth-round pick has been very impressive during the first three weeks of the season. Morris has found the end zone on three occasions and has been running with good initial quickness and power.
He seems like a natural fit for Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan's zone-running scheme, which has turned plenty of unheralded backs into stars. That has to exicte Grant who should be looking to revive his career after failing to re-establish himself as the main man in the Packers' backfield.
The six-year pro also makes quick decisions at the line and is still nifty enough to be a success in Shanahan's one-cut system. Grant should also be excited about the prospect of playing with Griffin.
The second-overall pick has revitalised the Redskins' offense thanks to his innate ability to consistently maufacture big plays. Griffin's biggest threat has been his penchant for making plays on the run and it's no coincedence that Washington's running game ranks second in the NFL, since Griffin took the reins.
Grant is likely to play a contributory role and should expect to see action with second-year players Roy Helu jr. and Evan Royster seemingly always struggling to overcome niggling injuries. Shanahan also likes to feature multiple running backs and is renowned for rotating week-to-week.
One area where he offers a definite upgrade over Morris is pass-protection. Having worked alongside quarterbacks like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, Grant has developed into a competent blocker, while Morris has endured some struggles shielding Griffin from blitzers.
It's soemwhat surprising that the Redskins didn't opt for a free agent like Steve Slaton, who has more experience in a zone-based scheme. However, Grant gives them a dynamic and versatile veteran who can be a steady influence for young playmakers like Griffin and Morris.