FanPost

NJD28 on the running game

Our running game has admittedly been, one of the worst running games in the NFL for the past two years. There is not a team in the NFL that can run as many times as we do, for as few yards as our favorite team can. Three years removed from the historic 2,006 rushing yard season, and CJ has never been the same running back that has landed him in the conversation for the best players in the game and the offensive line has quickly descended from the staple of NFL excellence to a punch line at the end of a bad joke. So how did we get to this point in our franchise's history? Well, it's time for me to recline in my plastic cafeteria chair and try to channel my inner armchathe past two years.

Let us take the case of the offensive line, almost ir GM in order to identify the problem that has plagued our favorite team for every player with the exception of Harris and Velasco are built for the power running game and to some extent, Michael Roos, David Stewart, and Steve Hutchinson have played primarily in a power running scheme throughout their careers. Velasco is more of a hybrid blocker who can hold his own in the power game as well as the zone game; he is pretty much the quintessential solid veteran backup. Harris on the other hand cannot block in any system known to man or several systems known to monkeys. Michael Roos and David Stewart have played in Jeff Fisher's power run game for the majority of their respective careers while Steve Hutchinson has strictly played in the power running game during his time spent in Seattle and Minnesota.

Now that we have identified our offensive line's strengths, we can now address the running scheme that our favorite team operates under. Chris Palmer has shown throughout his tenor in Tennessee that his offense will be operating under a zone running scheme. Which is fine, if you had the players to match it. Palmer is currently trying to implement a running system that does not fit his present personnel on the offensive line and we have all seen the result of this line of thinking. Why does Palmer want to do this? Some coaches are typically more comfortable calling certain offensive and defensive schemes as opposed to others. This frame of mind is not a comment on which system is superior, more like what scheme does the coordinator or coach is more comfortable running. This is a topic that I feel is not mentioned enough when talking about this running attack.

Now that we have identified the scheme that we run, now we can look at how our running backs perform in different systems. It is abundantly clear that CJ is a running back that is better suited for a power running game, as opposed to a zone running game. CJ has been more comfortable and productive in systems that designate where his hole is supposed to open up, instead of having CJ choose his own hole based upon how well his offensive line blocks. Once again, there is nothing wrong with having that frame of mind as a running back, so long as you have the players to run that specific scheme. Javon Ringer fits what Chris Palmer is looking for in a zone running back. Ringer is a very smart and decisive running back who provides a certain toughness to our running back position that our other running backs just don't bring to the table. Quite contrary to what his frame suggests, Ringer finishes his runs and provides a different and contrasting style to CJ that neither Reynaud or Harper can provide our offense. Reynaud is more of your typical do it all type back, he doesn't excel in a particular aspect of the running back position but he is a solid in all around.

So who is to blame? I believe the front office has failed to recognize what system our offensive coordinator wants to run. The front office has instead elected to provide the coaching staff with some pieces that are extremely talented, but they do not fit anywhere in their scheme. Then the front office expects the coaching staff to teach these pieces an entirely different system then what that player is used to as opposed to bringing a new player who has played in a similar system and only needs to learn the new verbiage and can hit the ground running from day one. It is the responsibility of the Front Office to provide the adequate players that fit the system that the Head Coach wants to run. Not to provide the most talented players in the game without any regards to systematic differences and differences in playing styles. No team has ever been able to win games based on talent alone.

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