Wednesday, April 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

With passing trend, is Peterson last great back?

Adrian Peterson, Chris Conte

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2013, file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, left, tries to break a tackle from Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Minneapolis. Long before quarterbacks took center stage, the NFL was a running backs league. From Red Grange to Jim Brown to O.J. Simpson to Walter Payton to Emmitt Smith, the workhorse back has been a symbol of toughness and perseverance. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File)

By
From page B1 | August 17, 2014 |

MANKATO, Minn. — Jim Brown spinning his way through the line and breaking loose in the secondary with a burst of speed.

Walter Payton lowering a stiff arm and tearing away from the tackler with those long, almost-straight-leg strides.

Barry Sanders slithering around in the backfield and finding a seam to dart through.

Those are the enduring images of grit, perseverance and even elegance on which the NFL’s multibillion-dollar empire was first built.

These days the workhorses have become a fading breed. Quarterbacks are the unquestioned stars of the modern game.

“We’re not getting the ball 30 times or 20-something times a game. Sometimes I get the ball 10 times and the rest of it is catches,” Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles said. “It’s just the way they use me now. The game has changed.”

Adrian Peterson nearly broke Eric Dickerson’s NFL single-season rushing record in 2012 on his way to winning the league’s MVP award for Minnesota. At this rate, though, Peterson could be the last running back to get one. Even he, with that relentless nature and throwback style, has acknowledged an acceptance of the shift in this role.

“I’m trying to win a championship, so if that’s taking less of a pounding and being more productive in the pass game, I’m all in for it,” Peterson said.

At age 29, Peterson is perhaps the NFL’s last great workhorse running back.

Maybe someone a year or two younger like Charles or Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch or Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy will pass Peterson on the all-time list and defy the trend with a productive career into his mid-30s. But there are many signs that won’t happen:

— For the second straight draft, no running backs were selected in the first round, an absence not seen since 1963. Over the last five years, a total of seven running backs were first-round picks. From 2000-2004, there were 15. From 1985-1989, there were 25.

— Last year, only McCoy and Lynch ran the ball 300 or more times. In 2003, 13 players did that.

— Only nine teams in the league last season had one player take 60 percent or more of their rushing attempts, down from 14 in 2003 and 14 in 1998. Nine teams also had two players with 30 percent or more carries last year, up from five in 2003.

— Last season’s leader in team rushing attempt percentage was Chicago’s Matt Forte with 72 percent, and he’s not close to appearing on an all-time list. According to STATS research, the most recent player in the top 20 was Edgerrin James with 81 percent for Arizona in 2007. Even Peterson has never topped 72 percent in his career. James has the most in history, according to STATS, with 89 percent for Indianapolis in 2000.

— Only two of the last 10 Super Bowl champions have featured a 300-carry running back: Lynch last season and Corey Dillon for New England in 2004-05. The New York Giants finished last in the league in rushing in 2011 and still went on to win the title.

So how in the name of Emmitt Smith did the game get to this point?

With players bigger, faster and stronger, the guys running the ball now are simply more prone to getting beat up than their predecessors from the previous generations.

Teams must constantly develop replacements not only for down the road when the featured runner turns 30 but for in-game breaks to keep him fresh. The committee approach can also help prevent the defense from getting too comfortable with one particular style. The evolution of the passing game, with Charles and the Chiefs as an example, has also essentially transformed several running plays per game into short throws.

Thus, teams have a hard time justifying paying running backs as their franchise players. Peterson is the outlier with a salary cap hit this year of more than $14 million. The next-closest running back is McCoy at $9.7 million. The money has been shifting not only toward the quarterbacks, but also the guys paid to protect them or catch their spirals. Even the guys that try to sack quarterbacks and intercept passes are making more than running backs.

The Seahawks were champions with Lynch as a bruising old-school running back, and San Francisco has been one of the league’s best teams lately with a similar approach behind Frank Gore. Those teams also feature quarterbacks with exceptional running ability and the read option as a staple of their playbooks. The way they move the ball is far different than when the Bears used to build their offense around Payton.

Fundamental changes have taken place. The NFL might not ever see another 400-carry running back. But maybe it’s wise.

“If you’re looking at what’s going on here lately you’d think it’s been devalued a little bit, just from a numbers standpoint and money-wise, too. But you always hear the league’s kind of cyclical,” Vikings fullback Jerome Felton said. “I think if you look at teams that are successful, they do run the football. There’s only so many Tom Bradys. There’s only so many Peyton Mannings. So unless you have one of those guys, it’s important to be able to run.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Records detail shooting victim’s court history

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 31 Comments | Gallery

 
Vallejo youth wins county spelling bee

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
25th annual Rush Ranch Open House on April calendar

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2

Saturday Club schedules Shower of Flowers event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
 
 
Vacaville to break ground for new fire station

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Symphony opportunity, scholarships available

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
City manager begins State of the City talks

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Searchers find 84-year-old missing nearly a day

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Free Healthier Living workshops begin this week

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Music teachers receive program grants

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
 
Group plans Haiti missions fundraisers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Travel presentation ready to roll in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Vallejo woman hit, killed by vehicle

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

Workshops offer information on child support process

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

 
Water park to host first Easter egg hunt, swim

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

Helen Mirren film set for debut

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Frazier to deliver keynote at Solano EDC event

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10

WIB to host regional career fair

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

Fairfield police log: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

Suisun City police log: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

 
Man struck by car, injured

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A14

.

US / World

Papers receive emails from people claiming to be kidnappers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Police: Man, woman found dead after medical office shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Endangered bighorn sheep moved to Yosemite, Sequoia parks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Family: Man dead at Hollywood Hills home is Andrew Getty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Tuskegee Airman Leslie A. Williams dies in California at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

California man attemps Guinness record as oldest pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
3D print technology provides ‘robohand’ to 7-year-old girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Defense rests in 1st phase of Boston Marathon bombing trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
State Department found 4 emails about drones sent by Clinton

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Woman charged with stabbing boyfriend after salsa argument

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US releases military aid to Egypt, cites national security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indiana governor wants changes to religious-objections law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Dress-wearing man killed by NSA police had lengthy record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Exercising critically ill patients may help speed recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Transportation strike shuts down Argentina

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Nigerian troops prevent Boko Haram attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Iran nuke talks extend past deadline

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Relief program paid millions for ‘flawed’ work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Buhari defeats Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
.

Opinion

Rebuild Gaza to avert next war

By Former President Jimmy Carter | From Page: A13

 
Reid’s US Senate legacy: Obstruction

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A13, 20 Comments

State moves up national school spending chart

By Dan Walters | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in history: April 1, 2015

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
Should we sent wedding invitations to relatives we know can’t come?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

Dressing up spring asparagus with an easy brown butter sauce

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
 
.

Entertainment

Olympic champ Gabby Douglas’ family to get reality show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

‘General Hospital’ leads Daytime Emmy nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

 
Randle sets record, leads Stanford past ODU in NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Vanden’s Orme strikes out 16, tosses no-hitter

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep boys golf preview: All 4 city teams are young

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1

Short-handed Miami rallies to beat Temple 60-57 in NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
US gives up another late goal in 1-1 tie at Switzerland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR finds Ryan Newman’s race team for manipulated tires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots owner: Aaron Hernandez told me he was innocent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders release DT Antonio Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tennessee hires former Texas coach Rick Barnes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Thunder star Kevin Durant has bone graft surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey showing off versatility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR driver Kyle Larson released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Barry Zito’s scoreless streak ends; A’s beat Angels 13-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cubs will track noise so Wrigley rehab doesn’t disturb fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lincecum pitches into 6th in Giants’ win over Rockies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP’s Run to the Roses: Mubtaahij No. 8; Dortmund still No. 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Michigan State title would be worth $1 million to Vegas man

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP study projects average MLB salary tops $4M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
University of North Dakota begins campaign to find nickname

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge rules Ernie Banks will is valid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kentucky’s platoon system gives way to traditional rotation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Chris Mullin returns home to coach St. John’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Soccer player at center of search killed crossing LA freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Frozen Four will be old home week for BU coach David Quinn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rio Olympic tickets go on sale despite football uncertainty

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tiger Woods plays practice round at Augusta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Online craft retailer Etsy preps for IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Many trucks being driven beyond designed top speed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Buffet expected to buy dealerships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
San Bruno supports higher fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Google to release their cheapest laptop yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Several charged in Medicaid shoe fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Fast food organizers expand their campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Carlos Penados

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Gordon Davis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7