Continuing our series on the comparative position strength on the Jaguars roster, today we take a look at the running backs. How does Maurice Jones-Drew stack up to the competition? Will there be better running backs in the opposition? We will take into account running back tandems if the spell back is used frequently or the team will place and emphasis on the duo during the seasonLet’s get to the list to find out:
- Arian Foster/Ben Tate, Houston Texans: The Houston duo put up some big numbers in 2011 (over 2,000 yards combined) and will look to replicate that success in 2012. The duo is tough to stop and flows better than most 1-2 punches in the NFL.
Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills: Fred Jackson is the real power behind the Bills running game, but Spiller is expected to have a big year. Both running backs averaged over five yards per attempt last year and have a good chance of repeating 1,500+ yards on the ground in 2012.
- Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jones-Drew is the reigning rushing title champion and looks to do it again in 2012….if he ends his holdout. Jones-Drew pounded away last year for 30 more attempts than anyone else, but it paid off for the Jaguars. With the return of a proper spell back for MJD and a better passing game, he could do a lot more damage per attempt in 2012.
- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Peterson was injured last year after logging 970 yards in 12 games. It was his firs season not running for 1,200 or more yards. He will come back with a vengeance and cement himself as a dominant runner once again in 2012.
- Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: CJ2K needs to get back to 2,000 yards per season. He has the talent to do it, but his holdout and subsequent lackluster year is not laying a foundation for future success.
- Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: With the departure of Michael Bush to Chicago, McFadden becomes the man in Oakland. He runs hard and will be the focus of an offense that doesn’t want turnover-prone Carson Palmer throwing too many times.
- Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: The Bears are worried about a Matt Forte holdout, but in Matt Forte they have a player who is something special. Forte has skills catching the ball as well as running and makes the Bears offense more versatile whenever he is on the field.
- Shonn Greene, New York Jets: Greene is a good runner and is the Jets workhorse when called upon. With the addition of Tim Tebow and more gimmick plays, Greene may find that he will be used a little less and a little bit differently in 2012.
- Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins: Reggie Bush finally lived up to his potential in 2011 with the Dolphins. He’ll have to do it again in 2012 – though there will be more responsibility put on him with the front office placing an emphasis on rookie Ryan Tannehill and free agent David Garrard at quarterback.
- Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals: Taking over after the departure of Cedric Benson, the ex-Patriot looks to emulate his success in Cincinnati. It will be a tough task with a less high tempo passing game and no real depth behind him.
- James Starks, Green Bay Packers: James Starks gets the spotlight after Ryan Grant leaves. Starks is a strong runner who complements the Packers passing attack well. But there is very little emphasis put on the running game in Green Bay.
Donald Brown, Indianpolis Colts: The Colts finally got Brown to look like a first round draft pick in 2011. Can he do it again with Andrew Luck leading the offense?
- Jahvid Best/Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions: Both of the Lions runners are gifted (So is Mikel LeShoure who is not on this list) but they have not been stellar. The Lions need Kevin Smith to return to his former glory and they need Best to look more like he did in 2010 rather than 2011.
- Stevan Ridley/Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots: While Woodhead and Ridley are on the bottom of this list, knowing Bill Belichick they will probably end up amassing huge chunks of yards on a run for the Super Bowl. Woodhead is a fan favorite but is on the field mostly because he is a receiving target as well.
Check out our other roster strength analysis: QB
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims
Tags: Adrian Peterson Arian Foster Ben Tate Benjarvus Green-Ellis Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller Cedric Benson Chicago Bears Chris Johnson Cincinnati Bengals Danny Wodhead Darren McFadden Detroit Lions Donald Brown Fred Jackson Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianpolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Jahvid Best James Starks Kevin Smith Matt Forte Maurice Jones-drew Miami Dolphins Michael Bush Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New York Jets Oakland Raiders Reggie Bush Shonn Greene Stevan Ridley Tennessee Titans Tim Tebow