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Imagine its not 2000, or 2009.



After watching the Saints last night (but you can choose any number of high powered offensive teams for study), I noticed how impactful a back that can catch the ball out of the backfield (consistently) and make one man miss (consistently) can be in the NFL. It is truly a thing to behold. Swing passes, screens, check-downs (for first downs), big plays where the back is savvy enough to leak out of the backfield toward the sideline and avoid the congestion immediately in front of the pocket. These things are actually possible and incredibly deadly. Its true. Teams where the running game is an extension of the passing game, and a running back is as much a threat to catch the ball as to run it (or more so, in the style of Danny Woodhead or Sproles), they seem really tough to stop. I mean, really. While I understand this is widely considered to be obvious among fans and employees of today's NFL, in some circles, it seems to be altogether ignored (either when attempting to defend teams who employ this tactic or when building an offensive scheme in the draft or through free agency). It's so strange that some teams would ignore this. While it might be possible to make a back who is known for not having good hands catch better by "focusing on it in the offseason," I would argue that time (and money) might be better spent on signing a player (either out of college or from the wire) that is known for such things. It would seem that in some organizations, the days of building a team around a running back (especially a one dimensional back that is either really fast, or really big and strong between the tackles, or that can catch out of the backfield) are all but over. Some teams would rather save some cap room by employing a stable of backs, with each that could do one of these things pretty well for a modest contract, than to mortgage the farm on a single dynamic (expensive) "playmaker," or bruiser. That seems pretty reasonable. Really.

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