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It may be time to dump overused running backs

The Pigskin Pundit
Special to the Post Independent

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

This simple fact of life may come back to haunt some fantasy owners as the season grinds on. Coaches do their best to protect their running backs from unnecessary abuse, but even the most conscientious coaches have their limit, especially if their job may be on the line.

Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt is feeling the pressure of unrealized Super Bowl expectations and may be on the hot seat if the Fish flounder in this season. The same goes for San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer if he fails to make the playoffs.



The common bond shared by both is an offense centered around a franchise running back and the desperate need to win now. Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson is averaging 33 touches (receptions plus rushes) over the last two weeks, while Dolphins RB Ricky Williams is averaging 35 after three contests.

This eventually takes it’s toll, but seems to get lost in the “win today” world of the NFL. Williams and Tomlinson are premier ball carriers, but even these workhorses can wear down if not rested occasionally.



It appears that Wannstedt and Schottenheimer have decided that the easiest path to success goes through the backfield, and worrying about the future is not a top priority.

If you own one of these studs, you may want to consider shopping them around midseason if this trend of overuse continues. It’s difficult to trade away a star, but more painful to hold a guy too long as he slowly wears down like a flashlight left on overnight.

The Quick Slant-Week 5

Expect Terrell Owens (WR-San Francisco) to have a monster game against the Lions as the Niners reward the biggest whiner in the NFL. Even if his QB isn’t speaking to him, he’ll still be asked to call on number 81 all day long. This is the week to start some lesser-known player such as RB Moe Williams and WR Nate Burleson of the Vikes as they take on the stumbling Falcons. QB Byron Leftwich (Jaguars) shows why he’s the future in Jacksonville as they face a speed bump known as the Chargers.

Ask the Pundit

Pundit: I have Priest Holmes (RB-Chiefs) and Drew Bledsoe (QB-Bills) and have been offered Charles Rogers (WR-Lions) and Clinton Portis (RB-Broncos) even up. I think Rogers may turn out to be the real deal but hate losing Holmes. We play 3 wide receivers and my best is Quincy Morgan of Cleveland, so I can sure use Rogers. What do you think?

– Confused in Provo

Confused: It all depends on the remainder of your roster. If Morgan truly is the best WR you have, then losing a little production by going to Portis will easily be offset by adding Rogers. I would avoid this trade if Bledsoe is your main QB, but, if not, go ahead and just hope that your No. 1 QB stays healthy.

– The Pigskin Pundit

Question for the Pundit? Send it to PigskinPundit@Hotmail.com.


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