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Why so little concern at RB?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Crazy Patriot Guy, Jan 21, 2011.

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  1. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Rookie

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    I think BJGE and Woodhead were fantastic for us last season and will be important parts of this team going forward. However, I see us being one injury away from being totally screwed at the position. We need someone better than Taylor and Morris. (though I wouldn't mind having Morris back for STs and spot duty)

    Free agency could cure this problem, allowing us to focus on other areas in the draft. If it doesn't though, I don't have a problem with us using a 1st or 2nd on the position. Again, BJGE and Woodhead did great but I don't think it's a position that can't be upgraded.
  2. skinnydog

    skinnydog Rookie

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    I think because the needs seem to be greater along the O-line and D-line. That and you can pick up a RB later in the draft or as a free agent.
  3. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Because "solid but unspectacular" is what we need, and is what lasts until the end of the draft.
  4. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's a deep, though not top heavy, year at RB. We could get a Bilal or Ridley type in the mid rounds. Draft a guy like that and sign a midling free agent and there's no issue.
  5. Snarf

    Snarf Rookie

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    I really think that BJGE has the potential to turn into a real playmaker over the next couple of years.

    Yes, we do need better backups.
  6. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    To me it's more or less a combination of the four previous responses.

    1. - Higher priority to the bigger needs at OLB, DE and OL

    2. - Upgrade the OL and the running game improves

    3. - Because they are the focus of the entire defense once they get the ball in their hands and are being simultaneously hit by multiple larger players, the career of a starting running back is usually shorter than that of any other position in the NFL. Combine that with the success many running backs selected later in the draft have had, and it probably makes more sense to use the early picks on another position.


    It's not that the Pats don't need to revamp and upgrade the position - any or all of Taylor, Morris and Faulk may not return - it's just that to me it is the not as high a priority as other positions. My best guess is that the Pats will have at least three new faces in training camp at the position: a veteran free agent, a draftee and an undrafted free agent.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  7. Froob

    Froob Rookie

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    What I'd love to see is this going into opening day.
    Benjarvus Green-Ellis
    Danny Woodhead
    Ricky Williams
    John Kuhn
    3rd-4th round draft pick
    MAYBE Sammy Morris(good special teamer)
  8. chicowalker

    chicowalker Rookie

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    Is kuhn a FA?
  9. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Rookie

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    I really think this team would benifit enormously from a back that teams have to gameplan for both offensively and defensively.

    I think we have enough amo to really solve this need.

    I think we need to bring back Light and Mankin and upgrade at the RG or center and fill RB everything else we do this offseason should be geared to OLB and DL.
  10. Froob

    Froob Rookie

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    I believe so, I doubt the packers let him get away though.
  11. BillBelichickFan79

    BillBelichickFan79 Rookie

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    Stevan Ridley is a nice looking guy in the middle to late rounds like someone else said.

    I want to see us get a Mike Tolbert style type of guy. Nice compact frame and extremely powerful. Almost built like a FB but runs like a RB and can catch if needed. I love the way Mike Tolbert runs and plays.

    The guy who reminds me of a more trim/fit Tolbert is Allen Bradford from USC. That's the guy I want at RB. Exceptional value.
  12. RayClay

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    Having a running back who could be spectacular would have been nice against the Jets.
  13. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    His name is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. They just didn't use him.
  14. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    You need a dictionary.
  15. Titanium Coate Hanger

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    Generally speaking, IMHO, in the NFL era of free agency and the salary cap, along with the use of metrics spurred by "Moneyball" theory ( work done by Billy Beane, Sandy Alderson, Tony LaRussa, Bill James, etc), the NFL RB position has been severely devalued.

    What do stats/trends tell us about most RBs in the NFL?

    1) At the age of 30, their production goes downhill on the average. Not just a slow decline but a sharp painful drop.

    2) Given X number of snaps, the RB simply stops being as effective given the combination of age/wear and tear. Consider this is a position where the player has taken a pounding probably since he was 12 years old on the football field. You only have so many snaps in you as a running back

    There are outliers like Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis, but those are not very common players. You could argue Thomas Jones might be one who also tends to buck the trend a bit.

    3) Most players in the NFL, including the RB position, are not all purpose players with vast skill sets. Many do some things well and other things not so well. The advent of a QB driven league ( no longer in the massive QB talent drought of 20 years ago), the third down/COP back has become a quasi starter position.

    4) Valuation of the salary cap broken down position makes the TE position one where a market inefficiency still exists. TEs don't get paid nearly as well as the elite WRs but offer the versatility of size, mismatches, blocking and pass catching ability, if you use a combo of TEs or find the right one. Along with the phasing out of the FB position ( partially due to fewer teams using the West Coast Offense than previously), the TE is simply more valuable on the field than the 2nd RB or the FB.

    5) General trends show the strength of the running game is often determined by the play of your offensive line. A great line can make an average back productive. A great back, rare as they are, are requirements for your running game to succeed despite the O line if that O line is weak ( the early Tomlinson years in SD) The former situation is more easily achieved that the latter.

    6) Elite and very productive backs have been found in the lower rounds of the NFL draft and sometimes even undrafted. This is not true for positions like QB, LT, CB and DL, where the elite players are often isolated in the first round of the draft and the only means to acquire them.

    RBBC ( running back by committee) using cheaper players and multiple specialists ( goal line back, 3rd down COP back, two down grinder, etc) is a byproduct of multiple trends in the NFL in the last 20 years.

    It's essentially, barring a few exceptions like Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson, a disposable position. Law Firm and Woody were acquired, no offense to them as I like both players, from the scrap heap. And to replace them wouldn't be too difficult IMHO if push came to shove. Using RBBC allows you to pay the position less ( less stats to produce or split across multiple backs), not lock yourself into a long term contract situation, try to achieve max value from a player before his 2nd contract if you draft him, guard from injury, force defenses to game plan for multiple players, limit wear and injury risk, increase longevity by reducing total snaps taken, and allow you to focus your assets/draft choices elsewhere.

    When the Colts had to give up something, they gave up Edge James, they'd rather pay their QB and WRs and their O line, which they did. And it was probably the right move.

    Max value for a franchise is to draft a RB in the lower rounds, like the 4th, hope he breaks out, and ride him into the ground before his 2nd contract or before he clearly outplays his first contract by a large margin. ( Part of the sad reason Maroney was held onto so long, he was still cheap on his first contract. Only in this case it was mediocre production for mediocre cost) Then let some other team overpay him and take the brunt of the decline as all those snaps and the approaching age of 30 kicks in. This is how the Patriots and Steelers and Eagle survive. Targeting market inefficiencies before a player hits his 2nd contract.

    IMHO, unless you are getting Terrell Davis 2.0, most backs aren't worth a first round pick ( risk of a bust/value structure against the salary cap) when you consider all your other needs and demand for other high value positions. IMHO, Belichick uses castoffs and retreads at the position because he can. With an elite O line, most average NFL talented backs can give you a solid performance.

    Focus on your O line and make it strong and NFL RB simply becomes a low value position. Same reason kickers are so disposable in both the real NFL and Fantasy Football, most are interchangeable.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  16. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Benny's runs against the Jets were beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way. The problem was that there were only 9 of them.
  17. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    Beat me to it. Having running backs is a cute idea. Using them is another story entirely. So litter the lineup with rookies and fullbacks and whatever. If you don't commit to getting tougher up front and or commit to making the run game a part of your gameplan. This team will continue to lose in critical situations.

    Week 2 we were rolling along against the Jest, running the ball and mixing it up. Second half Revis is out and the brain trust feels we should fish or cut bait without Revis on the field. 5 rushing attempts and no points later, loss.
  18. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The team will look to upgrade the RB position. And that will, hopefully, consist of replacing BJGE as the RB1 as well as bringing in a body to compete at the back of the roster.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  19. RayClay

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    We mixed the run and pass perfectly in our first two drives, then made errors on the gold line. If you look at the Cavalier in your driveway and see a Ferrari, good for you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  20. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    BJGE is not the problem. Depth will be added due to the age of some of his surrounding cast. BJGE can be the feature back in this offense. This offense revolves around Brady and BJGE provides you the ability to get tough yards and more importantly a lack of negative plays and ball security. More importantly they need to adress the OL's abilty to be run focused. As of right now with the personnel at the line is predicated on scheming protection for the passing game not running the ball.
  21. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BJGE had a nice season, but the majority of his production wasnt 'outcome dictating' production. He had 623 of his 1008 yards in the last 8 games, averaging 4.6 and this was while we threw to take big leads, sprinkled in some runs then ran with a lead. 343 of them were in the 4 of the final 5 games where we blew out the opponent.

    That isnt to belittle his season, but to say that the numbers were nice but they weren't attained by saying here we come to establish the run and open up the pass.

    Frankly, I think we need to be able to do that effectively more than anything else going forward, because we simply cannot win a whole bunch of games creating a pattern telling opponents to stay up all night to come up with the a make or break gameplan to take Brady away, because good teams will do it often enough to F-up our playoff run.

    We need to be able to run it 40 times if teams want to take away Brady, and win, and moreover we need to have defenses know they will die a slow death if they let us run 40 times, making them defend everything and not only Brady.

    I think BJGE had a nice season, and we could go 14-2 again running the same offense and having him gain 1000 as an afterthought, but we will limp into the playoffs, ready to face teams that care only about taking a shot at eliminating Brady.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2011
  22. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BJGE is not the problem. The problem is that BJGE was the team's RB1. BJGE is not what you want as your RB1.
  23. BmoreOrioleJet

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    You guys should take a look at Mikel LeShoure out of Illinois.

    B10 back in the Shonn Greene/Michael Turner mold.
  24. chicowalker

    chicowalker Rookie

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    Having a game-changing RB would be great -- problem is that it's not so easy to figure out who those will be, and when it is clear, they're going to be costly in terms of the pick. With a high pick, if we're equally confident in their respective potential, I'd much rather see the Pats get a dominant O-lineman or pass-rusher -- the O-lineman would help make our backs look that much better and also help keep Brady healthy, while the passrusher would have a huge impact on the defense.

    Other issue with RBs is that they need to be able to pick up the pass rush, catch the ball and not fumble much. Finding those guys isn't so easy, and the first part is often overlooked but critical to a team like the Pats, whose QB is great and therefore more important to the team than ajourneyman elsewhere may be.
  25. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have to agree with this. The fact he gained 1,008 yards is no big deal in a 16-game season. He's steady and gutsy but not a real threat that teams have to game-plan against. This team needs to upgrade at RB1.
  26. VJCPatriot

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    Agreed. BJGE is not part of the problem, but the RB position could use another player in there that can help establish the Pats running game as a staple of the offense rather than a fallback. I'm thinking a guy like LeShoure who looks like he might be Corey Dillon 2.0 could help. The guy is 6' 230 lbs, and has burst to go along with the size.
  27. pherein

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    Love LeShoure and Ingram, doubt either of us have a shot at them. You might consider Noel Devine or Derrick Locke. They both have incredible speed and would fit a Bush type situational RB role.
    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2011_RB

    Theres talk that if P.Thomas does not get a deal this year N.E. is interested in signing him. IF true, a BJGE,thomas,woodhead, and either of the rookies I mentioned above would be a pretty good lineup. Knowing that defenses will get burned by Devine or Locke's speed , if they try to cover them with a LB. Thats, of course, if they can actually catch the sweep or flat pass.

    Noel Devine, West Virginia, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

    Derrick Locke, Kentucky, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  28. andrewgarrr

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    Pierre Thomas is awesome.

    I don't think RB is worth a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round pick.
  29. RayClay

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    We don't necessarily need a hall of fame RB, but having a guy that's real fast, or real powerful in the mix wouldn't hurt.

    Maroney turned out to be a jerk and waste of potential and BJ did a good job. We just turned over a whole lineup in two years while going 14-2. Our development problems are what other teams would dream of having.

    We've got some solid, young, good character RBs. Let the others retire, bring in some new blood and give them the ball. We've got double picks and all our needs are likely addressable through that draft, barring a monster DE since our type might not be available, or at least at our pick.

    Acquire some fast guys, some powerful guys, some talented smurf receivers and give them the ball and let them run around. Pick the best ones to add to our fairly solid foundation.

    Life is good, we are not a wreck.
  30. DarrylS

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    Would prefer a bigger back, that could not only go 1-1 with LB's, but can push the pile and punish tacklers as well as an asset as a blocker...

    BJGE has become one of my fave's, ball security is a premium attribute..
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