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Running Back Round Up - Part I

Thank you Lord! We have survived another off-season! Finally, it's time!  Camp is in session, pre-season is right around the corner, and fantasy leagues are being built! THANK you HELLALUJAH...can I get a AMEN!

As we count down to kick off I have a few questions, concerns & comments!  Consider my next few posts my ???soap box.'  First issue up, Edgerrin James!  How much longer will he be homeless?  Are there REALLY 32 RB's who are better than James?!  As we found out last week, James darn sure doesn't think so!

In this 2 part blog post I'll examine each team's top RB (listed in no particular order.)  We've heard EJ now let's hear what the stats have to say.

Before we start, let's look at EJ's stats.  Last season EJ failed to bring the business. Yes he was benched in favor of rookie RB Tim Hightower but EJ only produced a disappointing 514 yards rushing and 3TD'S (the league average was 315 yards rushing, since when is EJ near average?!) And it kills me to say, (darnit it hurts) but when my Cards needed EJ the most (Super Bowl) he went MIA, despite all the pre-game hype he received.  However, EJ is still a potential future hall of famer...he's a 4 time pro bowl selection (on second thought, we need bullets)

  • 2 time First Team All Pro Selection
  • 1 time Second Team All Pro Selection
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • Twice lead the NFL in rushing (1999, 2000)
  • Holds the Colts rushing yardage record
  • Holds the Colts rushing touchdown record
  • After ten seasons EJ has 2,982 carries, 12, 121 yards rushing and 80 TD's

EJ's a bad motha-shut- yo-mouth! But that was then, this is now...

1. Minnesota: Adrian Peterson (3/21/1985) -Peterson isTHE playmaker despite having a case of the sticky fingers (receiving skills are nada!)  As for his rushing game, shoot, get outta here...he's unmatched. 363 carries, 1,760 rushing yards and 10 TD's.  ** Adrian rushed for the most yards last year - LEAGUE AVERAGE = 315 Yards**

2.  Atlanta: Michael Turner (2/13/1982) - From backing up in San Diego to racking up in Atlanta...376 carries, 1,699 yards, and 17 TD's.  **Isn't he one of the only RB's to successfully go from being one team's backup to another team's starter? He had a lot of naysaysers (where ya'll at now?)**

3.  Jacksonville: Maurice Jones Drew (3/23/1985) - Fred Taylor's out Jones Drew is in! Time to shine! Despite playing second fiddle, Jones Drew racked up 824 yards, 197 carries &12 TDs...watch out now!  **Throughout his career Jones Drew hasn't carried the ball more than 200 times in a season so he still has a lot of wear on tear left on those knees and ankles.**

4.  Carolina: DeAngelo Williams (4/25/1983) & Jonathan Stewart (3/21/1987) - This is a great tandem so we have to mention both guys.  Stewart is liable to explode in his sophomore season.  But right now it's Williams' show.  Last season he carried the ball 273 times, rushed 1,515 yards and scored 18 TD's. This duo will wreak havoc in a backfield near you.

5. Tennessee: Chris Johnson (9/23/1985) & LenDale White (12/20/1984) - Like Carolina, Tennessee has an awesome duo.  Johnson is a freak of nature; the sophomore back out of ECU is a speed demon (he officially ran a faster 40 than DRC!)  As a rook he registered 10 TD's, 1, 228 rushing yards in 251 carries while White registered 773 yards rushing in 220 carries. **White is unstoppable at the goal line.**

6.  Redskins: Clinton Portis (9/1/1981) - I want u to remember this...Portis allowed Washington to have the 8th best rushing attack.  342 carries, 1,487 yards rushing and 9 TD's.  Stop sleeping; Clinton is still a top back (underappreciated much?!) 

7.  San Diego: LanDianian Tomlinson (June 23, 1979) -LT is the 7th best RB in the game (still outperforming these young boys.)  So, the hype over his age/decline is a bit much. At worse he went from abnormally great to abnormally good.  LT's not done yet...292 carries, 1,110 yards rushing and 11 TD's **PLEASE, let's hold back on handing Sproles the reigns**

8. San Francisco: Frank Gore (5/14/1983) - Gore is an every down back, he's a fighter.  Last season he became the first 49ner to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.  If Gore can stay healthy and 3rd rounder Glenn Coffee becomes the complimentary back he was drafted to be then Gore will return to his 2006 form. Remember the game against Seattle @ Seattle in '06?! Smith and Gore were unstoppable!

9.  Chicago: Matt Forte (12/10/1985) -Matt Forte is one of the best offensive players in the league...period!  This season, with the addition of Jay Cutler, we may have a monster on our hands.  Not only can Forte run the ball (1,238 rushing yards) but he's a decent receiver, actually he's Chi-towns best receiver. **lead the Bears in receiving last season, posting 63 receptions for 477 yards** 

10.  St. Louis: Stephen Jackson (7/22/1983) - 1,042 rushing yards in 253 carries with 7 TD's.  He's young & poised to make a stellar comeback (not that he went anywhere really.)  Ok, I'm a St. Louis hater so I can't stomach this discussion any longer, moving on.

11.  Pittsburgh: Willie Parker (11/11/1980) - Willie P is my people (a Tar Heel & a friend) so I'm team Parker.  The Steelers are being "Steeler-ish" right now. They've yet to resign Willie who is in the last year of his contract. So it looks like Mendenhall is being prepped for a starting role.  BUT, not so fast. Willie Peezy may be coming back from a serious injury and he's knocking on 28 but he's still producing (ergo hold down the hate!) It's irrelevant what the stats say...we're team Parker, best RB in the league! (210 carriesM 791 rushing yards, and 5 TD's.)

12.  Dallas: Marion Barber (6/10/1983) - His nickname is "Marion the Barbarian" enough said! Barber will be splitting carries with sophomore back Felix Jones.  Good Ole Wade refers to them as "featured backs." I suspect Barbarian is putting in extra PT to solidify his top rank. He already pulled a Lendale and shed a few pounds this off-season. (dare I say it, I'm excited about the Cowboys, naaawww let's not go that far!)  Last year Barber had 238 carries, 885 rushing yards, and 7 TD's. ** Barber is said to be the hardest RB to hit and tackle **

13.  Denver: Knowshon Moreno - Moreno should be the next shut'em down rookie aka Adrian Peterson.  While at Georgia he touched the ball 551 times without a single fumble (the same can't be said for Peterson.) While at Georgia, Moreno became the second RB to post back to back 1,000-yards rushing seasons (Hershel Walker was the first.)

14.  New York: Brandon Jacobs (7/6/1982) - Ward is out, Jacobs is in.  Last season Jacobs carried the ball 219 times and recorded 1,089 yards and 15 TD's.  Considering he competed with Ward for carries I think it's safe to say Jacobs is about to BLOW UP!

15.  Philadelphia: Brian Westbrook (9/2/1979) - Westbrook is a prolific RB.  He registered 963 yards in 233 carries.  Despite his age Westbrook (fresh from rehab) enters the season as the starter but power rookie LeSean McCoy will be high on his heels so Westbrook def. has some desire to light the fire (is that corny?!)

16. Houston: Steve Slaton (1/4/1986) - Slaton had a stellar rookie campaign shoring up 1,202 yards in 268 carries and 9TDs.  Slaton's biggest hurdle is his own team...so sad.  But hey he still managed to be a top RB despite playing with an aiiiight quarterback. Let's hope he isn't hit by the sophomore slump.

Well...we're halfway through our trip around the backfield and let me tell ya...It's not looking good for EJ.  I think we've found 16 backs that are better than EJ.  What say you?

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