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ICB's Training Camp Competition Previews: RB

 
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Who will rush for the most yards this season?
Laurence Maroney
31%
 31%  [ 7 ]
Fred Taylor
59%
 59%  [ 13 ]
Sammy Morris
4%
 4%  [ 1 ]
Kevin Faulk
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
BenJarvus Green-Ellis
4%
 4%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 22

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icecoldbruschi


Joined: 28 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: ICB's Training Camp Competition Previews: RB Reply with quote

RB: Laurence Maroney vs. Fred Taylor vs. Sammy Morris vs. Kevin Faulk vs. BenJarvus Green-Ellis

In the second portion of this series, we will look deeper into the running back position. The trend in the NFL has gone away from the workhorse-type backs and has shifted over to the committee approach. Luckily for the Patriots, there are five backs that are all capable of starting in this league. Unfortunately for them, it looks as if one of them might be the odd man out.

Last season, the Patriots ranked sixth in the league in rushing (142 yards/game). This was due in large part to Josh McDaniels’ willingness to pound the ball as well as great depth, as we lacked a superstar at the position. Four players rushed for over 250 yards, but surprisingly, this was without Laurence Maroney, who was injured early in the season. This was important last year as Matt Cassel needed to be helped along and we could not have asked him to carry as much of the load. It will be as equally important this year as well, with the return of Tom Brady from ACL surgery. Most anticipate that Brady will be slowly worked in at the beginning of the season, so the running game will be key in balancing the offense.



Laurence Maroney is the x-factor in this year’s offense. Since being selected 23rd overall out of the University of Minnesota in 2006, he has been a disappointment. People can blame it on injuries or lack of opportunity. But the truth is that if you were to tell anyone here when he was drafted that he would yet to have a 1,000 yard season going into his fourth year as a professional, 100% of fans would say that is unacceptable. However, Maroney has a chance this year to make up for his disappointing past. He is currently #1 on the depth chart and with Brady coming back from his injury; he will get every opportunity to show his stuff. Word is that he is primed for a breakout season and has worked hard in the off-season, so hopefully this will translate to more success on the field. Of course, there is always the chance that he ends up the way of another 2006 draftee if this does not work out.
Odds of Starting: 37%



Fred Taylor was brought in from Jacksonville this off-season during free agency and has the potential to add a new element to the offense. Taylor brings leadership and toughness to a unit that has seemingly lacked in this category since Corey Dillon retired. Taylor was the face of the Jaguars, a certain future Hall of Famer, but he struggled last season behind the porous offensive line the Jags fielded due to injuries. Taylor only rushed for 556 yards last season, only his fourth season in his heralded 11-year career in which he did not hit the 1,000 yard mark. He is the model of consistency, even despite his injury problems. Taylor looks to be one of those classic Patriot off-season additions. One of those guys who has a strong desire to win and adds another positive influence in the locker room. In addition to helping us achieve our goals, I anticipate Taylor being very helpful to both Maroney and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, as they look to progress their careers.
Odds of Starting: 30%



As many of you all well know, I am a big fan of Sammy Morris. If he had stayed healthy for each of the past two seasons, he would have been a 1,000 yard back. It will definitely be hard to gain those numbers this year, no doubt, but I really do think it is possible. Morris is a hard runner with a nose for the end zone and he has also displayed a knack for carrying the load when need be. I have even seen some people state that he can play FB for us potentially. We will have to wait and see on that one, but Morris looks to be a definite part of our plans this season.
Odds of Starting: 30%



Kevin Faulk has replaced Troy Brown’s longtime role as “Mr. Reliable.” Whenever we need a big play, it’s often Faulk who comes through. He will never start this season, but he will play just as big of a role as all the other guys. Faulk is crucial on third down passes as well as a great runner on draw plays, as he averaged over 6 yards a carry last season. Faulk is in no danger to be cut, although it does beg the question as to who could potentially fill his big shoes.
Odds of Starting: 2%



BenJarvus Green-Ellis is an intriguing prospect. An undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss last season, the rookie came through big time when his number was called after several key injuries. The “Lawfirm” had good games against both Denver and Indianapolis, but really showed his stuff against the Buffalo Bills. In the November 9th matchup, Green-Ellis accounted for 105 yards on the ground, and extended his streak to four straight games with a TD. BJGE will be 24 when the season starts, leading some to proclaim that he is the “future” of the running back position in Foxboro. While his age would certainly help him, it would not help us win now, which is what we are trying to do. When Morris and Lamont Jordan returned from injuries late in the season, it relegated Green-Ellis to the bench, as he received zero carries in the final four games. I certainly hope that our “future” running back is one that averages more than 3.7 yards a carry. Even though Green-Ellis looks like the #5 guy right now, anything could still happen. A great preseason could go a long way in securing a roster spot.
Odds of Starting: 1%

My Prediction: I firmly believe that the job is Maroney's to lose. He will be the opening day starter barring injury with Taylor and Morris as the primary backups and will get more than enough carries in this committee. Out of those three, anything can happen from there based on performance this season. I have already said that I believe that Sammy Morris will be the best out of the bunch when all is said and done. Kevin Faulk will do his thing as usual. Green-Ellis will be cut.
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Donut


Joined: 13 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its a good read. i think all will make the roster. i think Benjarvus(god i still love that name) he will improve his hands and blocking technique. he will also have a full yr of working out instead of school. I think he will be a good back and future guy.

This is Maroneys job to lose and he will hold onto it. Its his yr he will break the 1000 yrd mark.
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grewdw


Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 233
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't really disagree with much you've said there. I don't think being at the top of the roster for running backs really matters in New England, out of Sammy Morris, Maroney and Taylor they'll all get their carries each game; as Belichick seems to prefer mixing it up drive for drive. If history is anything at least one of those three guys will get injured anyway, so chances will be plentiful.

Only two points of dissent however. One simply that I don't think Fred Taylor will be a hall of famer. Don't get me wrong I love the guy and hes been underrated his entire career, but 1 pro-bowl as an alternate, never an all-pro? Never won a superbowl. There's a lot against him.

Also I think the Pats are more likely to take 4 TEs on the roster than 5 RBs, although I don't think they'll do either. The key to this season will be pass protection for Brady and BJGE doesn't really bring much to the table in that regard; especially at the expense of a TE look with Watson and Baker bookending the line.

Otherwise good write up, and I agree that it's Maroney's job to lose.
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icecoldbruschi


Joined: 28 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grewdw wrote:
Only two points of dissent however. One simply that I don't think Fred Taylor will be a hall of famer. Don't get me wrong I love the guy and hes been underrated his entire career, but 1 pro-bowl as an alternate, never an all-pro? Never won a superbowl. There's a lot against him.


I don't really care to argue this since I don't really care either way if Taylor gets in the HOF. However, 11,000 rushing yards (which I believe is top 15 all-time) and the Super Bowl he's about to win will go a long way towards his induction I believe. When it comes down to it, writers pay very little attention to Pro Bowls and stuff like that.

grewdw wrote:
Also I think the Pats are more likely to take 4 TEs on the roster than 5 RBs, although I don't think they'll do either. The key to this season will be pass protection for Brady and BJGE doesn't really bring much to the table in that regard; especially at the expense of a TE look with Watson and Baker bookending the line.


I don't think they will carry 4 TE's or 5 RB's either, especially when none of them carry much special teams value. However, I don't feel that pass protection will go against BJGE as much as you think, as none of the RB's, save Kevin Faulk, really excel in that area.

I don't see us in many 2 TE sets this season actually and the only way that we carry 4 TE imo is if Tyson DeVree makes it as a FB, which I don't think he will. 2 TE sets will really hurt Welker's production.
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hollywood14


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job, I cannot disagree with anything. I see Maroney starting, but Taylor gaining the most yards this season.
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Parkourblog


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hollywood14 wrote:
Nice job, I cannot disagree with anything. I see Maroney starting, but Taylor gaining the most yards this season.


Yeh, i agree with this.

I dislike Maroney for some reason :/

I think Taylor will light it up this year...all those years facing 8 and sometimes 9 men boxes all day long and being the main person teams game plan, he will be playing teams in pass defensive formations watching Brady - just wait, good times will be had Smile
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Donut


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grewdw wrote:
Don't get me wrong I love the guy and hes been underrated his entire career, but 1 pro-bowl as an alternate, never an all-pro? .

Jim Kelly went 4 times and he got in. I dont think they will look at probowls since great players get snubbed alot.
Quote:
Nice job, I cannot disagree with anything. I see Maroney starting, but Taylor gaining the most yards this season.

That means we'll have 2 100 yard backs Wink
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ElReyDeLosReyes


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want Fred Taylor rushes for the most yards, I really hope achieves his goal of reaching Jim Brown (so I voted for him). I believe we all here in FF Pat's Forum are hoping Laurence Maroney goes back to the form like when Corey Dillon was here.
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