When the Green Bay Packers lost running back Ryan Grant to an ankle injury, there were more than a few questions and suggestions focused on who the team could trade for.
Thus far, the Packers have remained true to form by sticking with backup Brandon Jackson and grabbing some nobody off the Atlanta Falcons practice squad to take Grant’s roster spot, once he went on injured reserve.
But the Buffalo Bills are coming to town this weekend and it’s convenient for the local media to drum up a new round of hope the Packers might trade for a running back — namely, the Bills Marshawn Lynch.
In their defense, what are these guys supposed to write about? Brian Brohm’s homecoming? How the Packers are going to annihilate the Bills? What an awesome coach Chan Gailey is?
No, there isn’t much going on in Buffalo these days football-wise. In fact, the Bills may well be the worst team in the NFL this season. So, we get stories about the remote possibility the Packers could trade for Lynch, who is third on the Bills’ depth chart behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Let me tell you this: this trade isn’t going to happen. It isn’t Ted Thompson’s MO, but let’s pretend the Packers have a normal general manager for a second and indulge in the mindless speculation.
Lynch is a talented back. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons, averaging at least four yards per carry both years.
Last year Lynch was suspended three games for violating the NFL conduct policy and ended up starting only six games, as Fred Jackson took over the primary ball-toting duties. Coming into this season, the Bills found themselves with two starting-caliber running backs, so what did they do? They went out and spent their first-round draft pick on Spiller, of course.
Anyway, let’s get back to the mindless speculation.
It all started when someone asked quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Lynch’s college teammate, his opinion about the Packers making a play for the running back.
“He’s a great player,” Rodgers said. “Any character issues that a team might see, in a situation like that, and you’ve seen that with different players across the league, when you give a change of scenery, and a guy like that who might feel like he has something to prove, and surround him with two guys, (linebacker Desmond) Bishop and myself who played with him (at California), that can only help him feel comfortable and see a lot of production.”
It should be noted that members of the media are the only to ask Rodgers about Lynch. No one in the organization has asked Rodgers anything, other than to throw some touchdowns on Sunday.
However, this got the national media’s attention, and I will admit, trading for Lynch does make sense, as Michael Silver pointed out.
Trading for Lynch, a versatile and physical running back ideal for head coach Mike McCarthy’s version of the West Coast offense, makes sense in so many ways. He’s a skilled inside runner who hits the hole quickly and specializes in gaining yards after contact. He has pass-catching skills and is exceptional in the red zone, where he has been known to enter “Beast Mode.”
The thing Silver ignores in this magical world where general managers do things that make sense, is he’s talking about two general managers who usually make no sense. Buffalo GM Buddy Nix shares the same philosophy as Thompson when it comes to making personnel moves. That being, see the obvious move and then do the exact opposite just to keep everyone off balance.
The Bills are so good this year and have no other holes to fill on their totally awesome team that Nix has decided he’s going to keep all three of his running backs. The Bills were reportedly offered a third-round pick and a player before the draft for Lynch and refused the offer.
That’s baffling. A third-round pick and a player is extremely generous for a third-string anything.
In fact, knowing how he values draft picks, I’d be surprised if Thompson would make that deal if Nix came to him and dangled Lynch for the same price.
Regardless, it appears to be a moot point. Jason La Canfora says the Bills are telling interested parties Lynch is not available.
Gailey, the Bills coach, seemed to echo that sentiment.
“Opinions vary as to whether there are too many or not,” said Gailey. ”Obviously in preseason we didn’t have too many. I know Green Bay wishes they had one more than they had. Everybody has got opinions about what’s right and we feel like having the three we have right now is a very good situation for us. We have to continue to get better with each one of them and see how their roles play out as the year goes on. This is a situation in the NFL where you can’t have too many good running backs sometimes.”
So, give me one Ted Thompson, add a Buddy Nix and sprinkle in a little Chan Gailey and you’ve got yourself a delicious, piping hot bowl of nothing.