Sydney Speaks! What's the hurry?'s Harry Sydney hasn't seen enough from Ryan Grant to warrant a lucrative contract extension.

We are all aware of how important the running game will have to be this year, aren't we?

Am I a fan of Ryan Grant? You bet I am. But then again, with everything we have seen from him, have we seen enough to warrant a big-time contract?

These are the questions general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy have to be asking as they consider signing Grant to a long-term deal. The big questions are, what's he really worth and how good can he be?

Before you answer those questions, you have to look at what he brings to the table. So, as I see it, here are is strengths:

1. He runs hard downhill with great forward lean, which allows him to deliver blows instead of receiving them all the time.

2. He has learned how to be more patient, which has allowed him to be an excellent cutback runner.

3. He runs hard every play.

These are all valuable skills necessary to be a good running back in the league, but unfortunately, I haven't seen anything that has made him an exceptional running back. Believe me, this isn't a knock on him, but I need to see him do it one more year before I would be willing to give him the keys to the house.

I need to see him have another year like he had last year, but even better, because during the playoff loss to the Giants, he ran like he was scared to fumble. There wasn't the explosion. He wasn't breaking tackles. He was just another guy.

That brings me to some of his weaknesses, if you call them that.

He doesn't make enough people miss at the point of attack. Please understand there is a difference between making people miss and people missing him. Unfortunately, if you don't make enough people miss tackles, it eventually takes it's toll on the body, and that's why the average age for the decline of a running back usually happens around that 30-year-old mark.

At this level, the great backs have the ability to make people miss in the open field and they do it in small spaces, and I'm not sure Grant has that ability.

Beyond that, I'd want to make sure it was about his ability and had nothing to do with who was handing him the ball, because you have to believe the presence of Brett Favre had something to do with his success, don't you? Because of the year Favre was having, a defensive coordinator might have been in a bind wondering where to concentrate his efforts.

Grant's agent, Alan Herman, and the Packers have been talking, but Grant won't sign the $370,000 tender for a second-year pro, and I understand that, because they are looking for a huge payday.

Thompson has a history of building from within — or as some would say, taking care of his own — so one would have to believe Grant is in a good position for the big deal, but I would ask Thompson "WHAT'S THE HURRY"?!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

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