The Packers should trade for Steve Slaton

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Like many of my free agent/draft/trade scenarios – this will never happen. The team obviously likes Ryan Grant as the starter and Mike McCarthy recently went on and on about Brandon Jackson eventually saying he believes Jackson could easily be THE featured back. If anyone is wondering why Brandon Jackson has not lost his spot as the #2 RB, it’s not just because there haven’t been many good players brought in to compete with him (besides Tyrell Sutton), but it’s also because the head coach is squarely in his corner. I don’t think Brandon Jackson is bad, I’m not saying that. But I am saying that neither he nor Grant are as good as our coaching staff/GM seem to believe they are and that our RB group should be improved.

I tend to agree with those who say Ryan Grant is a very solid back, but that he’s not special. He plays hard, he has a great attitude and many people are actually just off when it comes to assessing his productivity – he has top 10 RB stats as a starter. But he’s not special and we could use the contributions of a special player at RB. That’s why I wrote earlier about Marshawn Lynch (whom I still believe has the potential at least to be special) and now about Steve Slaton. Both of these guys can make plays that Ryan Grant simply can’t make.

A couple years ago, I wrote a post encouraging the Packers to look at Slaton in the draft because he had slipped significantly in all the pre-draft hype for no reason whatsoever. A year after I wrote that post and a year after Slaton went crazy his rookie year, Brother Steve temporarily backed off of his comments re my crack use by writing a rare post acknowledging my Slaton-will-be-good call. The guy was fantastic with all of his dynamic skills on display: juking, running, catching, scoring TDs. He was special.

Last year, however, he wasn’t as good. He had some fumbling issues and then a major neck injury. His yards-per-carry stat also was down significantly from 2008. One factor few seem to acknowledge though about the 2009 Texans is that they became a pass-happy team and consequently the O-Line’s focus shifted to pass-blocking – not so much run-blocking. And, after just a couple fumbles, Slaton was thrown in Gary Kubiak’s doghouse – reducing his per-game touches and his overall chances to contribute.

Steve Slaton would be a great fit with the Packers right now. His neck is fine, several accounts I’ve read recently have indicated that he’s been looking like his old self this summer, he has a unique talent for scoring TDs and he is no longer THE guy in Houston. (He has been relegated to 3rd down duty – Arian Foster is their starter now…Slaton’s price tag may not actually be THAT high.) But one other reason I would want him on the team is that he could pose a threat to Ryan Grant. Ryan Grant did have a period of time a couple years ago when he actually was special. When he first started back in the middle of 2007. His stats were out of control (when projected for the whole year, he would have been the #2 back in the NFL). Remember how hard he ran and how many long runs he broke off? He was playing for something – for a job. Since then, he got a huge raise and he hasn’t been challenged for his starting spot. I can’t help but wonder if this has given him less incentive to reach that higher level of play that he may still be capable of achieving. Steve Slaton, if he plays like himself, could not only challenge Grant for the starting job (perhaps pushing Grant to play better in the process), but he could also be a tremendous back-up/3rd down back to have if Grant remains the starter.

Having the RB duo of Ryan Grant and Steve Slaton would be quite nice and I’d say it’s at least worth it to look into what it might take to acquire Slaton.

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7 Responses to “The Packers should trade for Steve Slaton”

  1. mike Says:

    Really? I mean come on man. All the talk about Slaton taking over for Grant in the #1 spot is ridiculous! I happen to think that Slaton is still going to be good in the NFL, but to say that we should aquire him and that he could out do Grant is way too far! If my memory serves me right Grant has only fumbled the ball 2 maybe 3 times over the last two yrs. Slaton on the other hand has fumbled like 30….. But really that is beside the point. Grant’s only real weakness is that he has had trouble breaking tackles (something that drives me NUTS) over the last couple seasons. He has been VERY durable and has been a VERY important (if overlooked) part of the Packer’s Team Dynamics. He knows the offense and has great ability to run the offense and come through when his number is called. Could he be better? Sure he could, AROD could be better………that’s a mute arguement. Slaton on the other hand has had only one good season and then one horrible season. His ability might put him in position to challange a guy like Brandon Jackson for the number two spot, but NEVER a guy like Grant’s…… We know Slaton can catch the ball and has some speed, and even though I’m not sure what I think of Jackson overall yet, all that does is put him in the same postion as Jackson. They both have potential….. They both have a TON to prove in order to be a featured back in the NFL…..I wouldn’t be so quick to give up on BJax for Slaton either. In my opinion, if it aint broke, dont fix it, and if Jackson can make a contribution to the offense and special teams this yr and make strides as a RB, then that’s all we need! If anything, we should have brought in Brian Westbrook as a 3rd down guy to mentor Jackson and teach him while Grant does his thing!

  2. DaveK Says:

    Can’t disagree with you on any of what you wrote. I think a quality 3rd down back with some speed would improve this offense and could push Grant or replace Grant if needed.

    Love this play though last December. Perfectly blocked and nice burst from Grant:

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d814ebe5d/Ryan-Grant-TD

  3. Aaron Nagler Says:

    Read this for why they won’t be trading him: http://www.houstontexans.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=6285

    And read this for why I don’t want him anywhere near the Packers: http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/08/18/texans-running-back-steve-slaton-continues-to-struggle-with-fumb/

  4. DaveK Says:

    Just saw a report on NFL network about the offensive line woes of the Cowboys.

    RT – The ancient Colombo just had a knee scope and is expected to be out all pre-season. They hope to have him back by week one. Alex Barron, a mediocre player from the Rams is expected to fill in for him until Colombo is healthy.

    RG – set with Leonard Davis.

    C – good starter Andre Gurode. But, they don’t have another true center on the roster. Their back-up centers are both guards. One of those guards, Kyle Kosier, is injured and the other is replacing Kosier at RG.

    LG – Kyle Kosier just sprained his MCL and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Kosier’s replacement Montrae Holland isn’t exactly getting great reviews from the fans or media. Reading about him he appears to be a less then adequate replacement at G or C.

    LT – Flozell Adams was injured last year and is no longer with the team. They are moving Doug Free from RT to LT this year.

    So, they have a new LT, a LG missing at least 3 games with a bad back-up, and ancient RT who might make it back for the season opener. No depth at Center. In other words, this is a team that could use some depth on the offensive line. Enter Jason Spitz or Daryn Colledge. Spitz could play all three interior spots for them. Colledge would be an upgrade over Holland at LG.

    The Cowboys are deep at OLB. Their two starters are set in Ware and Spencer. From what I read they have four pretty good OLB’s fighting for the two back-up spots. They might be willing to deal their 3rd best OLB (Victor Butler or Brandon Williams) for Colledge or Spitz.

    http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblogs/nfl/2010/08/depth-at-linebacker-has-philli.html

  5. mark Says:

    i have to admit – i didnt read your whole letter- too long -sorry- but i know of slaton from WV and im not into him- the Pack need a bigger DOMINATE runner kind of like Jim Brown -(yeah i know not possible -but thats the ideal- ironically a Brown) -not sure how to get one – i think luck- or in a trade – or draft next year- i stand by my statement last year that Grant is from notre dame! (boo)

  6. Daybreak Doppler: Save 598, Badger Training Camp & Favre’s Biggest Fan « PocketDoppler.com - A Wisconsin Sports Blog Says:

    [...] Packer Geeks is advocating a trade for Steve Slaton. [...]

  7. Nick Says:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/trainingcamp10/news/story?id=5476849

    Looks like Percy Harvin is having more trouble with Migraines. Even as a Packer fan, I couldn’t help but like watching him play. I’d hate to see someone go out like that.

    that being said, Steve Slaton would be a good changeup back from Grant and Jackson – but I really worry about his fumbling. He fumbled again in his last preseason game and the last thing we need is someone derailing the offense. Especially if the D doesnt pull through.

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