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Bad news for Marshawn Lynch owners

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#9: Will There Be A Featured Running Back?

 

by Chris Brown, Lead Journalist Last Updated: 7/13/2007 12:11 PM ET

 

Back in mid-March Buffalobills.com asked Bills head coach Dick Jauron about which way he was leaning in terms of his approach to the running game. Would there be a featured back or would Buffalo's ground attack be running back by committee in 2007?

Jauron, at the time, was favoring a group effort.

 

"We think it's in everybody's best interest that we do have more than one back that carries the load," said Jauron back in March. "If you do that and you have that kind of depth, you can rotate them, you can keep them fresh and they don't get as beat up. You can go with a guy that is a little bit hotter on a given day and sometimes it's a different guy. There's no reason why it shouldn't work that way, because every day is not your best day."

 

At the time Anthony Thomas , Fred Jackson and Shaud Williams were the only running backs on the roster. A little over a month later Buffalo added a pair of running backs in the draft selecting Marshawn Lynch with their top pick (12) and Dwayne Wright in the fourth round. Free agent Josh Scobey was also added to the mix.

 

Fast forward to the close of minicamp after Jauron and his staff have had an opportunity to see the new additions up close and personal. Has Jauron's approach to Buffalo's running game changed?

 

"It hasn't," said Jauron. "It's just more competition. I still would like, if we have the option, to run the ball by committee. Clearly inside that group the players will decide. They make all the decisions because we make judgments, but they make the plays. They'll win their carries by performance. We'd like to have two or three guys that perform well enough that you'll rotate them and keep them healthy. It will figure itself out."

 

Jauron has a history of spreading around carries, even when 1 RB on his team is head & shoulders better than everyone else. He also believes in very elementary run blocking schemes and very little in the way of misdirection.

 

If you are a Marshawn Lynch owner, this is the last thing you want to hear, but it could be a fact of life that Lynch, even if he does as expected and wins the #1 RB spot in BUF, could have a low ceiling because of a lack of opportunity.

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Wow, that sucks, as he basically said everything that a fantasy owner doesn't want to hear. Lynch just fell off my board because someone will draft him way before he should be drafted/ before I'd consider drafting him. RBBCs are the devil!!! :D

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Jauron has a history of spreading around carries, even when 1 RB on his team is head & shoulders better than everyone else. He also believes in very elementary run blocking schemes and very little in the way of misdirection.

 

If you are a Marshawn Lynch owner, this is the last thing you want to hear, but it could be a fact of life that Lynch, even if he does as expected and wins the #1 RB spot in BUF, could have a low ceiling because of a lack of opportunity.

 

Not calling you out, but what teams/players did he have in a committee? In Chicago he had A Thomas as a primary back, in Detroit, he had (not sure who was here), and in Buffalo he has had McGahee.

 

 

ETA - While the Bills have in fact added some depth to the RBs, I still think Lynch will handle the majority of the carries. Sure he might not be the every down back we all want, but he will still be a decent contributor.

Edited by peepinmofo

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This doesnt concern me in the least. If Lynch is rolling, he will get the rock. And considering this offense will need its best players on the field every down, Lynch will have opportunities. I think every NFl coach would like to lesson the load on his star RB, to avoid injury or fatigue. But in the heat of the moment, the best guy will be in there.

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Not that this is good news for Lynch owner, but it is difficult to put too much into this at the time and I would expect the best runner to get the majority of carries as the season goes on. What is Jauron supposed to say in mid-March and minicamps? One of the reasons that Lynch has stayed on my radar is his relatively late draft position and the fact that (as peepinmofo said) Jauron seemed to favor a single back approach in the past, not vice versa.

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Not calling you out, but what teams/players did he have in a committee? In Chicago he had A Thomas as a primary back, in Detroit, he had (not sure who was here), and in Buffalo he has had McGahee.

 

:D

 

I don't mind being called out.

 

'99 Bears

 

Curtis Enis 297 carries for 916 yds & 3 TDs

James Allen 32 carries for 119 yds & 0 TDs

 

'00 Bears

 

James Allen 290 carries for 1190 yds & 2 TDs

Curtis Enis 36 carries for 86 yds & 1 TD

 

'01 Bears

 

Anthony Thomas 278 carries for 1190 yds & 7 TDs

James Allen 135 carries for 469 yds & 1 TD

 

'02 Bears

 

Anthony Thomas 214 carries for 721 yds & 6 TDs

Leon Johnson 104 carries for 329 yds & 1 TD

 

'03 Bears

 

Anthony Thomas 244 carries for 1024 yds & 6 TDs

Brock Forsey/Adrian Peterson/Stanley Pritchett 93 carries for 354 yds & 4 TDs

 

'06 Bills

 

Willis McGahee 259 carries for 990 & 6 TDs

Anthony Thomas 107 carries for 378 yds & 2 TDs

 

You don't see any featured RB hitting 300 carries under Jauron, and after his first 2 years his featured RB never exceeded 280 carries. This is despite 1 RB being a standout compared to the other RBs on the roster. Also note the dearth of rushing TDs by any one RB on the roster.

 

Jauron is death to the rushing game of a team. Watch his blocking schemes in his offenses - they are the same thing you'll se at high school J.V. games and not much if at all more.

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This doesnt concern me in the least.

 

Don't say you weren't warned. And don't discount Wright as a RB capable of stealing carries, especially under a coach like Jauron.

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'06 Bills

 

Willis McGahee 259 carries for 990 & 6 TDs

Anthony Thomas 107 carries for 378 yds & 2 TDs

 

 

Not sure about the other years, but this is a classic case of damn lies and statistics. 67 of Thomas's 107 carries last year came in weeks 8-10 when McGahee was out. Take that out of the equation and it was Mcgahee with 85%+ of the running workload and Thomas with 15%- (just between those two).

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Not sure about the other years, but this is a classic case of damn lies and statistics. 67 of Thomas's 107 carries last year came in weeks 8-10 when McGahee was out. Take that out of the equation and it was Mcgahee with 85%+ of the running workload and Thomas with 15%- (just between those two).

 

That's a very valid observation. That said, McGahee was still limited. BUF was #25 in the league in rushing attempts.

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Jauron is not known for riding the hot hand in rushing, so I concur that RBBC will be the death knell for ROTY chances for Lynch. That said, if he shows he is durable and can be a playmaker, he'll get all the redzone touches which helps his value IMO.

Edited by Ruffian

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Jauron has a history of spreading around carries, even when 1 RB on his team is head & shoulders better than everyone else.

 

You could certainly make the claim that he did this with Kevin Jones in 2005. I'm not sure that he's got some kind of philosophical thing going though. Last year in Buffalo, there was definitely only 1 RB, as Thomas only got carries when McGahee was out.

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You don't see any featured RB hitting 300 carries under Jauron, and after his first 2 years his featured RB never exceeded 280 carries. This is despite 1 RB being a standout compared to the other RBs on the roster.

 

Other than '01 and '05, I'm not sure there are grounds for calling any of these situations RBBC. Injuries were a major factor in the backups getting playing time..

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Other than '01 and '05, I'm not sure there are grounds for calling any of these situations RBBC. Injuries were a major factor in the backups getting playing time..

 

This I agree with. But I also agree that they might not have a dominant running game with the blocking schemes they use. While I am no expert on the matter, I have read this several times on here, and other sites as well. One can hope that the OL will be more controlled by the OL coach Jim McNally. He was supposed to be one of the better OL coaches prior to joining the Bills. I just have yet to see a decent OL in the past several years. They started coming around last year, but they need to take a huge step forward if the running game will be dominant.

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I think he's just being nice in the media to A-train so that he'll continue to give veteran input to the team.Hey was this the Dick the hyped us up on Curtis Enis?

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RBBCs are the devil!!! :D

Just another obstacle to overcome while playing this great game, IMO.

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Dick Jauron has been either a defensive coach or a head coach his entire career. He has never built an offense and he has never called any plays. The offense used this year is the exact same one installed last year by Steve Fairchild. There are two sort of committee backfields - one by pure design and another because there is not the personnel to use as a true primary back. Fairchild had McGahee and A Thomas last year and in games where McGahee was healthy, he had 90% of the runs. When Thomas had four starts, he had 83% of the runs in those games. Where is the committee there? RBBC last year

 

Jauron can say what he wants but if he wants a committee, exactly who is going to be there besides Lynch??? Anthony Thomas? Dwayne Wright?

 

I would be surprised to see a true committe backfield develop in BUF and I think they would be hurting themselves by doing so. Lynch is an outstanding receiver - there is no need for a third down back. There is every reason to believe he is a far better rusher than anyone else on the roster.

 

Jauron has an influence - granted. But I believe he is yapping for the sake of yapping and to take the pressure off of Lynch. Whatever Jauron's history is would be almost immaterial here - Look at the backs he had to use in the past anyway and above all, he is not an offensive mind nor has any experience running an offense.

 

What the stats given previously left out was that Anthony Thomas never started 16 games in his career. Even though it is immaterial, that still doesn't point to RBBC in Jauron's background.

 

2003 Bears - Thomas missed 3 games and was injured in a fourth. He had games with carries of 32,19,21,23,21,31,21 and 22 when he was healthy.

 

2002 Bears - Thomas missed 4 games and was injured during two others. He still had games with carries of 19, 26, 27,23,26 and 21 during an injury marred season.

 

2001 Bears - James Allen had 135 carries because he was the starting back in week one to week five. He had 66 of those carries in the first four games of the year (week 5). He had to take back over in weeks 11 and 12 when Thomas was hurt and he had 25 and 27 carries in those two weeks. In the other weeks? 7,1,1,1,2,0,2,2 and 1 carry. Thomas - the rookie - took over in week six and carried 22,27,31,22,23,15,31,24,25 and 33 times.

 

There is nothing in Jauron's background about RBBC and it is my opinion he is just running his mouth with nothing to back it up with. Not sure if it is to take pressure off of Lynch or what, but Jauron is a defensive guy who was not willingly RBBC when he was a HC. He had crappy backs who could never stay healthy, but he never had a decent runner. Last year - no sign of RBBC with McGahee getting 90% of the carries (one of the highest ratios in the NFL last year).

 

Yeah, the Colts and Bears had committee backfields last year and both teams dumped them after the superbowl. Now I would be (and am) concerned about the quality of the offense and that will affect what happens with the running game, but I would be shocked if Lynch falls below 75% of the RB duties. It would be a waste. There's plenty of coachspeak going on every summer, I think this is more of that.

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Marshawn Lynch: 100 rushing attempts.

 

Anthony Thomas: 5 rushing attempts.

 

-sigh- I wish all RBBC's were like this one!!

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Lynch is money, and I think his numbers will only get better as the year goes on -

 

rolled the dice on him, and he is fitting in nicely as my RB3 behind

 

LT

RBrown

 

not too shabby

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I've got him as my #2 behind LT, and i'm very happy with that.

Especially in a PPR league, he should have great value going forward.

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Yeah, it's looking like I blew this one pretty good. I was never all that high on Lynch at Cal or faced with the Bills situation this season, but he's producing and there's no RBBC in sight.

 

:D

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