Running Back Microcosm of Challenges Facing Redskins

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Bulldog

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Perhaps nowhere on the roster is a better example of what NOT to do than at the running back position. What this team didn't do for the past 7-8 years at many spots is coming home to roost in 2010 at this position first.

It's been a bizarre year with Ryan Torain being cut at the end of the preseason and then him being brought back and installed as the starting runner by mid-season. One wonders why Torain was released in the first place and why Larry Johnson made the team for 2 weeks and was then unceremoniously cut himself.

I look at the Giants and where they have been drafting under Jerry Reese and see a team that in 2007 was able to put Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward on the field with Ahmad Bradshaw waiting in the wings and Ryan Grant on the practice squad.

And then I look at the Redskins whose backfield from 2004-2009 was Portis, Betts and Cartwright. In SIX YEARS the Redskins couldn't or didn't feel the need to find younger, faster players to challenge the incumbents? Amazing.

In NY and other places like Pittsburgh it seems they draft or sign backs every year to compete.

To Shanahan's credit he resurrected Torain who had been all but forgotten because of his knee injury and did sign Keiland Williams as an undrafted free agent.

But again there was the element of the prior regime characteristics in the signing of Larry Johnson and Willie Parker and all the time wasted in camp and the preseason on guys who couldn't play anymore.

Given all the injuries the team now has, wouldn't that time have been better spent getting Torain, Williams more reps and perhaps going out and finding that third back to come in and develop?

No one doubted that Portis was going to be the primary runner, at least to open the season but no one knew how long he could go.

So, with Johnson and Parker gone, Portis on IR and Torain still out with the hamstring, the Redskins are down to doing what they should have done over the summer, ie sign and work in that third younger back.

James Davis (#6 pick of Cleveland) and Andre Brown (#4 pick of NYG) have been signed and it appears Davis may get some carries sooner rather than later.

Good. We don't know if Torain, Williams, Davis, or Brown is a keeper for the long-term. Davis and Brown may be cut before the end of the season, although Davis did seem to have a number of suitors when he was waived by Cleveland.

But encouraging competition among younger players is what a rebuilding, oops sorry, 'retooling', team is supposed to do.

To bastardize a quote from Winston Churchill: 'The Redskins do what they need to do only after they have exhausted all other options' :)

At least that's the case with the RB position to date.
 

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While I can't argue with your assertion of what happened pre-Shanahan/Allen, I'm not sure there were a lot of other options this last off season, Bulldog.

It isn't like the team had a lot of draft picks and there sure weren't proven FA running backs out there. Shanahan brought in two vets and several really young guys. In the end, he kept a mix and has kept an eye out for possible talent as the season has gone on.

Not sure what else he could have done. This year, at least.
 

Elephant

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While I can't argue with your assertion of what happened pre-Shanahan/Allen, I'm not sure there were a lot of other options this last off season, Bulldog.

It isn't like the team had a lot of draft picks and there sure weren't proven FA running backs out there. Shanahan brought in two vets and several really young guys. In the end, he kept a mix and has kept an eye out for possible talent as the season has gone on.

Not sure what else he could have done. This year, at least.
LT was a far better choice than either Parker or Johnson. I can't say at the time I wasn't opposed to the Johnson pick up and I left the Parker pick up to the fact the coaches knew better than I did, but LT was a far superior choice of the three given any info available during this past off-season.
 

Goaldeje

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LT was a far better choice than either Parker or Johnson. I can't say at the time I wasn't opposed to the Johnson pick up and I left the Parker pick up to the fact the coaches knew better than I did, but LT was a far superior choice of the three given any info available during this past off-season.
Not sure I agree El. Conventional wisdom, IIRC, said that LT was washed up, and the Jets were over eager to give him one last payday. And if you look at his stats over the past three weeks, you will see him start to slip.

Not saying I loved the Johnson/Parker pu-pu platter, just not sure LT was clear cut better than those two.
 

Lanky Livingston

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LT lost a step. For all of Norval's faults as a HC, he could always generate a running game, and RBs thrived in his system. The "he didn't fit in Norv's offense" is a bunk excuse, cooked up by homers sad to see their boy on the decline.

A whole new training regimen w/ Tiki rejuvenated LT this past offseason, but as others have mentioned, his production has certainly seemed to tail off this season.
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Lanky Livingston

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Sounds like a bunk excuse for what? And I was obviously referring to San Diego fans.

PS - "tailing off" means his production has declined recently, it doesn't speak to his total-season stats. And 4 of those TDs came in 2 games (the last one being 4 weeks ago against Buffalo, the worst run-D in the league), meaning he's had 1 rushing TD in his 9 other games this season...very un LT-like stat.
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Lanky Livingston

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Back to the OP - Neo has it right; we've got a veritable stable of young (albeit unproven) RBs now, and they didn't cost us a single draft pick. Keiland Williams looks to be a UDFA-steal, and Torain is a beast (if he could stay on the field).
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Lanky Livingston

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Mike, I was referring to "most people in San Diego," who you mentioned in your post and who I assume are Chargers fans. Stop and read before you assume things are a personal attack. Thanks.
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Goaldeje

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Oh good, it's time for the weekly Lanky and Mike show. Thought you guys had forgotten this week.

Whew.

:)
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SkinsOrlando

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Mike, I think thats more the influence of a broken O-line than anything else. When the holes aren't as big and theres not much space to run, gotta have someone who burries their head and just drives forward.
 

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Shannahan had a nice mix of backs in Denver. It did not matter. Whatever he could get his hands on he went with. Mike Anderson, Peyton Hillis, and Rueben Droughns were neither small nor quick. I am listing them because each of them led the team in rushing at least on season.

Other backs were small but not quick: Terrell Davis and Orlandis Gary.

I think the only one that could be considered small and quick was Clinton.
 

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I would have taken LT over the other two for one reason, he has good hands and had some season in SD where he had a lot of catches, he wouldnt be coming here to be the bell cow back but to be in a rotation and even if he was on his last legs he offered more than the other 2.
 

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This probably won't be popular but what the heck, it's what I do. :) As much as we all like Torain, Williams, et al, I doubt any of them are still with the team in two years. Torain maybe as a backup but that's about it.

I've wondered about it for a while but was waiting for CPo's return to confirm it. Torain and Co. are physical, downhill runners. While that's a good thing, what this scheme really requires is a one cut slasher with speed like CPo was back in Denver. The fill-ins we have at RB are good guys and are overachieving in a big way. However with Clinton's return we saw what's being left on the table in the running game. Shanny's system seems to be fully installed and even with a patchwork OL it's productive. All we need now is a back that really fits it.
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This probably won't be popular but what the heck, it's what I do. :) As much as we all like Torain, Williams, et al, I doubt any of them are still with the team in two years. Torain maybe as a backup but that's about it.

I've wondered about it for a while but was waiting for CPo's return to confirm it. Torain and Co. are physical, downhill runners. While that's a good thing, what this scheme really requires is a one cut slasher with speed like CPo was back in Denver. The fill-ins we have at RB are good guys and are overachieving in a big way. However with Clinton's return we saw what's being left on the table in the running game. Shanny's system seems to be fully installed and even with a patchwork OL it's productive. All we need now is a back that really fits it.
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I can't say I disagree with this. I can't wait to see what Davis offers us this weekend.
 

Om

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Was talking about this yesterday with my son ... what I'd like to see at next year's minicamps and training camp is about 8 young, fast, hungry, cutback-type backs fighting it out. All it takes is one to emerge as "the" guy to push Torain, or possibly even become our version of Terrell Davis (what, I can dream).

I also look for some draft maneuvering to bring in a mid-round RB like Shanahan always seemed to do in his previous life.

Bigger even than who ends up starting at RB of course is what the OL looks like next year. Key to the Shan running game has always been more about the hosses than the rider anyway.
 

Yusuf06

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Agreed Ryman, but you've gotta have the numbers going in. Reid has operated from this philosophy in Philthy. It's one of the classic theories of drafting, i.e. draft a bunch of guys at a given position and at least one of them is going to work out. In Reid's case, he stockpiles picks and uses that strategy across the board...with very good results I must admit. :(
 

Goaldeje

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why was williams used so sparingly? when he was in it didnt seem like he was hurt at all.

was that just another power move by shan for some reason i will never get?

Not excusing, bc I wish we would run the ball more, but their run D was ferocious yesterday. I think after a while, they gave up a little too early, bc they weren't getting any results.

Kyle's standing has improved in my eyes, but his refusal to commit to the run drives me nuts. The weather is getting worse, we're in the NFC East, so run the damn ball!
 

riggins44

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Lack of running game or threat of running game hurt us yesterday.

The knock on Torain is he seems injury prone. The others may be okay in time, but we need a legit RB.

Hard to call running game without a good RB. Give Kyle some kudos for trying Banks in wildcat to get some yards.
 

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