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The real missing offensive piece: the modern, three down RB


VrabelJr

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While this team will clearly be better by upgrading the QB and OT positions, much has also been written about an apparent need to spend expensive capital on a #1 WR ala JaMarr Chase or Justin Jefferson. While an elite #1 WR is nice it only makes a couple other players on the field better at most I'm here to tell you about something else my eyes are seeing that can be had for much less capital and far greater impact.

Everyone knows over the last decade the long lived era of the workhorse three down RB has come to an end. Derrick Henry was the last gasp breathe. In fact, our very own team along with Mike Shanahan's teams, pioneered the "Running Back By Committee" approach of rotating a stable of serviceable RBs with overlapping but varying skill sets. This worked to great affect but has some downsides:

- It's hard to acquire the right ones consistently
- All of those RBs need to be healthy
- Defenses can bias towards certain play calls depending on who is out on the field

What I've seen the last couple of seasons is the emergence of what I call the new three down RB. Aside from the usual RB duties like inside and outside runs and blitz pickup, these RBs can run a robust route tree, beyond just wheel routes, and line up all around the formation. And they don't just do that on third down where its most predictable. Defenses need to respect their route running abilities which causes linebackers and safeties to be pulled closer to the line of scrimmage and creates openings. The 49ers are so lethal because they not only have an RB that can run routes (McCaffrey) they also have a WR that can run (Samuel).

It gets even better. Aside from McCaffrey and Etienne the premier ones in the league were drafted far outside the first round which represents an incredible value. You have Alvin Kamara (3rd round), Austin Ekeler (Undrafted), James Cook (2nd round 63rd pick), and Isaiah Pacheco (7th round). Beyond these guys are a second tier like Tony Pollard, Kyren Williams, and Bijan Robinson who was drafted high in the first.

These guys are an offense's best friend and it's incredibly important we get an RB in this mold.
 
They've tried with Ty Montgomery and Pierre Strong. 2 busts.

I like Zeke's pass catching ability, and remember Rham had a great pass catching season last year.

They are overused, they need depth.

But to be a good 3rd down back you have to be able to run it and to block.

Montgomery failed on the latter, Strong on the former.
 
This team has always had a pass catching third down "specialist" RB from Faulk to Pass to Woodhead to Lewis to Vereen to White. I get that they got Montgomery last year, but he was gone almost immediately and there was no real effort to replace him with either Strange or trying to get someone off of waivers, someone else's practice squad, or in trade (don't forget Woodhead was a waiver pick up). I don't get how they thought going into this season with only Montgomery in that role was a smart idea.
 
While this team will clearly be better by upgrading the QB and OT positions, much has also been written about an apparent need to spend expensive capital on a #1 WR ala JaMarr Chase or Justin Jefferson. While an elite #1 WR is nice it only makes a couple other players on the field better at most I'm here to tell you about something else my eyes are seeing that can be had for much less capital and far greater impact.

Everyone knows over the last decade the long lived era of the workhorse three down RB has come to an end. Derrick Henry was the last gasp breathe. In fact, our very own team along with Mike Shanahan's teams, pioneered the "Running Back By Committee" approach of rotating a stable of serviceable RBs with overlapping but varying skill sets. This worked to great affect but has some downsides:

- It's hard to acquire the right ones consistently
- All of those RBs need to be healthy
- Defenses can bias towards certain play calls depending on who is out on the field

What I've seen the last couple of seasons is the emergence of what I call the new three down RB. Aside from the usual RB duties like inside and outside runs and blitz pickup, these RBs can run a robust route tree, beyond just wheel routes, and line up all around the formation. And they don't just do that on third down where its most predictable. Defenses need to respect their route running abilities which causes linebackers and safeties to be pulled closer to the line of scrimmage and creates openings. The 49ers are so lethal because they not only have an RB that can run routes (McCaffrey) they also have a WR that can run (Samuel).

It gets even better. Aside from McCaffrey and Etienne the premier ones in the league were drafted far outside the first round which represents an incredible value. You have Alvin Kamara (3rd round), Austin Ekeler (Undrafted), James Cook (2nd round 63rd pick), and Isaiah Pacheco (7th round). Beyond these guys are a second tier like Tony Pollard, Kyren Williams, and Bijan Robinson who was drafted high in the first.

These guys are an offense's best friend and it's incredibly important we get an RB in this mold.
I understand his reasoning for doing so, however, making the backs essentially sit for a year is a waste. If a back can give you excellent 2 down ability as rookies, you use them. I would love to get Braelon Allen. He's a 6'2 245 Derrick Henry with 4.40 speed. He could be a gamer as a 2 down guy as a rookie, or at least in relief of Rhamondre. Then get someone with 3rd down ability to possibly be behind Elliott (if he resigns). Blake Corum, if his knee checks out and can be had in the middle rounds (or someone similar), would be a solid 3rd down option.
 
These guys are an offense's best friend and it's incredibly important we get an RB in this mold.
I appreciate the thought you've put into this. But I feel like in this era the QB, OL (in particular LT), WR are still the key pieces.

Without the correct conductor, the offense is going nowhere. We've seen that first hand.

The Wide receivers with today's offense friendly rules are the big impact playmakers that you need to stretch the defense and force them to scheme to stop you.

The era of a Curtis Martin dominating on offense are over. These are the days for the likes of Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, CeeDee Lamb, Stefon Diggs, Devante Adams, etc. to dominate.

The Patriots operated well enough with rush focused RBs and specialist catching RBs like James White but they had an entire offense in those days.

The sad fact is that pretty much all of our offensive talent has gone down the drain on BB's watch. There's no TB12, there's no Gronk, there's no Edelman, the offensive line is sketchy at best, we don't even have a Josh McDaniels to provide a comprehensive direction to the offense.

So a 3-down RB sure, that would be nice to have in theory but it's probably still the lowest on the priority list of things that need fixing on our league LAST ranked offense. And I certainly wouldn't use a 1st round pick on that position, Etienne whom you mentioned was the #25 overall pick.

If I'm drafting, I prioritize QB in Round 1, then OT/WR in the next two rounds with maybe even a trade up. Good RBs can still be found in the 4th round or later. Rhamondre Stevenson was a 4th rounder.
 
This team has always had a pass catching third down "specialist" RB from Faulk to Pass to Woodhead to Lewis to Vereen to White. I get that they got Montgomery last year, but he was gone almost immediately and there was no real effort to replace him with either Strange or trying to get someone off of waivers, someone else's practice squad, or in trade (don't forget Woodhead was a waiver pick up). I don't get how they thought going into this season with only Montgomery in that role was a smart idea.
Before JJ Taylor got snapped up off the practice squad by Caserio, he was handling all the 3rd down duties in camp.

He was in front of Montgomery if my memory serves me correctly.

I wonder if they had him pegged for that spot.
 
The idea that the game has passed BB is pure bunk. Be honest, if Bill had the 07 Pats team this year he'd be killing teams, even if you sub in Cassell for Brady. I even thought that the Patricia/Judge assignments would be ok because I would think a Defensive coach would spend his time breaking down offense, thus making the transition easy for a guy that was lauded as a having a D that helped win a SB. I learned things are different last year. Shame on me. The talk going around about BOB wanting to bring his own people in makes sense when you combine it with Klemm going off the rails. He may have had similar gripes, but was still in line with BOB moving forward.
A meddling owner does damage to his team by speaking. When you put your team in the unenviable position by announcing playoffs or bust, that's meddling. Kraft is a great owner, but when he shut the F up and let the team do it's job, we won. The press from Orchids sent him for a loop, and cost us Antonio Brown because of it. We win it all that year, and I have no doubt that Brady's 8-0 misery comment was directed at Kraft, not BB.
I would like to see what BB could do with a high draft pick and all that $$100 mill. I have a hard time finding someone that's so readily available to us that could fix it in less time.
 
Before JJ Taylor got snapped up off the practice squad by Caserio, he was handling all the 3rd down duties in camp.

He was in front of Montgomery if my memory serves me correctly.

I wonder if they had him pegged for that spot.
Taylor was unemployed entirely for two months. He was released on August 29 and didn’t sign with the Texans’ PS until October 31.
 
I still think it’s the stud go to wr or te that can get you chunk plays and be your cheat code. Lessens the margin for error. Our offense as constructed requires an elite level qb to be able to sustain the 15 play drives itll take to score consistently, otherwise the drives are going to stall due to any little slip up. The secondary pieces are there if bourne and henry are brought back, along with pop and parker/jjss, but you need a consistent playmaker or matchup problem period.
 
Everyone wants a #1 WR. Idc. I want a number 1 target. If you can build a team around a TE and great receiving back, a bunch of solid #2’s would be more than capable of taking over games. JJSS and Parker aren’t 2’s. I’m talking Bourne type of guys. You HAVE to account for them. All the teams with stud WR’s don’t have a great track record of winning meaningful ****. Get me a solid stable any day over a stud wr.
 
The press from Orchids sent him for a loop, and cost us Antonio Brown because of it.
Antonio Brown got Antonio Brown cut. They stood by him until it came out he was doing the same stupid ish after signing here.
 
Saquon Barkley doesn’t have any rings. Just sayin’.
 
Yeah, I am in agreement with the other guys here. Back in the first half of the dynasty, clock killing Corey Dillon was the perfect fit. Now? Much less so. They ran the ball very successfully with Sony Michel. I think you need a good back to get short yardage, in the red area, and to chew clock with a lead, but you don't need that Derrick Henry/Saquon Barkley type to win. You need a true solid #1 pass catcher and other targets to take up the slack when defenses focus on that guy. McCaffery/Samuel/Aiuyuk... Higgins/Chase/Boyd and Mixon. That type of roster.
 
fanboys are forgetting that pre the alleged greatest coach in history, the Patriots had Leroy Thompson, Kevin Turner, Keith Byars, Dave Meggett...a litany of really good pass catching backs...the lack of said weapon was detrimental to the quarterbacks on the club
 
fanboys are forgetting that pre the alleged greatest coach in history, the Patriots had Leroy Thompson, Kevin Turner, Keith Byars, Dave Meggett...a litany of really good pass catching backs...the lack of said weapon was detrimental to the quarterbacks on the club
You realize that Faulk, wood head, vereen and James white are far better than the group you named, right?
 
They've tried with Ty Montgomery and Pierre Strong. 2 busts.

I like Zeke's pass catching ability, and remember Rham had a great pass catching season last year.

They are overused, they need depth.

But to be a good 3rd down back you have to be able to run it and to block.

Montgomery failed on the latter, Strong on the former.
Essentially every NFL team seems have one except us. We used to excel in this area. Slot WR/Scat Back/ 3rd down. I really hope Groh Identifies this and addresses this. Agreed Montgomery was a disappointment.
 
You realize that Faulk, wood head, vereen and James white are far better than the group you named, right?
Agreed. those guys were also able to be matched up with LBs on wheel routes or Strong safeties. Don't forget dion lewis!
 
Yeah, I am in agreement with the other guys here. Back in the first half of the dynasty, clock killing Corey Dillon was the perfect fit. Now? Much less so. They ran the ball very successfully with Sony Michel. I think you need a good back to get short yardage, in the red area, and to chew clock with a lead, but you don't need that Derrick Henry/Saquon Barkley type to win. You need a true solid #1 pass catcher and other targets to take up the slack when defenses focus on that guy. McCaffery/Samuel/Aiuyuk... Higgins/Chase/Boyd and Mixon. That type of roster.
I don't think you and the other guys understand the post. This isn't about the traditional three down workhorse RB. This is about the new, expanded route tree running RBs.
 
Bill: "3rd down back......meh. Fullback......meh. Instead, lets chuck 50/50 balls to washed up FAs and let's hire a couple of terminated coaches with no offensive experience who will cost only a couple grand each to scheme it up. Now someone take Nike for a walk....................................................................Where's Achord?"
 


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