Newly-signed running back Ryan Grant said his familiarity with the zone-blocking scheme the Redskins run, the talent that Robert Griffin III boasts and Mike Shanahan’s coaching track record made him want to join the Redskins.
The Redskins extended Grant an offer late in the day Tuesday, and the former Green Bay Packer left Chicago, where he had worked out for the Bears, and flew to the D.C. area where he signed a contract with Washington.
“I think that RGIII, No. 1, is super-talented. I think that he opens things up for an offense. He makes things exciting,” Grant said in the Redskins’ locker room Wednesday morning. “Coach Shanahan, his track record speaks for itself. I like what they’re doing offensively, and what they’re trying to do. I think this team has a lot of promise.”
The Redskins were in need of a running back because backup Evan Royster is nursing a strained patella tendon and Roy Helu Jr.’s season is over because of a left foot injury.
A six-year veteran, Grant is coming off a season in which he started 14 of 15 games for Green Bay, rushing for 559 yards and two touchdowns on 134 carries. Grant played in only one game during the 2010 season because of knee and ankle injuries.
Grant said his representative had been talking to the Redskins “on and off for a while.” The 6-foot-1, 222-pounder said it was hard to watch the first three weeks of the NFL season from the couch, but said he stayed ready and expects to be able to knock off the rust quickly.
“It was a little weird, because I wasn’t used to it. I’m used to playing ball right now,” Grant said. “But I made sure I was in shape, doing what I could. I had opportunities. I was just looking for the right situation, and it worked out.”
Grant’s best two seasons were in 2008 and 2009, when he had back-to-back 1,200-yard campaigns for the Packers. During that time, Green Bay ran a zone-blocking scheme similar to the one that Washington uses, Grant said.
“I understand the zone scheme. It’s one cut and downhill. If you’re a slasher, I think you’ll work well,” Grant said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to come and help out.”