Beyond the Stats - Vol. 51
By Jeff Haseley
June 15th, 2010

As we approach Training Camp throughout the league, we can begin to formulate projections and predict which players will emerge in the 2010 season. There are countless factors that each of us put together like a puzzle when determining how to rank players for the upcoming year. Which players took a step forward in 2009 that might lead to better numbers in 2010? Which situations are ripe for a break out? What teams have made changes that will result in player X performing better than expected? Here's a look at some stats from 2009 that might help you make a better decision when it comes choosing which players you should target in 2010.

Let's take a look at RBs in 2009.

It's no secret, that those who get more carries have a greater chance at success. So who are the RBs that were given the most carries? Or better yet, who are the RBs that were given an opportunity to be the team's primary ball carrier? In other words, the most games with the most carries?

  • 67 RBs had at least 14 carries
  • 60 RBs had at least 16 carries
  • 54 RBs had at least 18 carries
  • 46 RBs had at least 20 carries
  • 26 RBs had at least 25 carries
  • Who are the 26 RBs who had at least one game with 25 carries? (see highlighted column in bold in the table below)

    The table below shows all 67 RBs with at least 14 carries in a game. The left side is sorted by most games of 25+ carries. The right side is sorted by team.

    RB Carries In a Game
    RB Carries In a Game (By Team)
    Running Back
    Team
    14
    16
    18
    20
    25
    Running Back
    Team
    14
    16
    18
    20
    25
    Johnson, C
    TEN
    15
    14
    11
    10
    7
    Hightower, T
    ARI
    3
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Benson, C
    CIN
    12
    11
    8
    7
    6
    Wells, C
    ARI
    6
    3
    0
    0
    0
    Peterson, A
    MIN
    13
    11
    11
    8
    5
    Snelling, J
    ATL
    5
    4
    3
    2
    2
    Jones, T
    NYJ
    14
    12
    12
    11
    4
    Turner, M
    ATL
    7
    6
    6
    4
    1
    Jones-Drew, M
    JAC
    12
    11
    10
    8
    4
    McGahee, W
    BAL
    2
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Harrison, J
    CLE
    5
    5
    4
    4
    4
    Rice, R
    BAL
    10
    7
    6
    4
    1
    Jackson, S
    STL
    15
    15
    12
    11
    3
    Jackson, F
    BUF
    8
    4
    4
    3
    2
    Gore, F
    SF
    9
    8
    5
    5
    3
    Lynch, M
    BUF
    3
    3
    1
    0
    0
    Stewart, J
    CAR
    6
    6
    3
    3
    3
    Stewart, J
    CAR
    6
    6
    3
    3
    3
    Grant, R
    GB
    11
    11
    9
    7
    2
    Williams, D
    CAR
    9
    8
    5
    3
    1
    Forte, M
    CHI
    10
    8
    7
    7
    2
    Forte, M
    CHI
    10
    8
    7
    7
    2
    Williams, R
    MIA
    8
    8
    7
    4
    2
    Benson, C
    CIN
    12
    11
    8
    7
    6
    Charles, J
    KC
    8
    7
    6
    4
    2
    Scott, B
    CIN
    2
    2
    2
    1
    0
    Jackson, F
    BUF
    8
    4
    4
    3
    2
    Harrison, J
    CLE
    5
    5
    4
    4
    4
    Snelling, J
    ATL
    5
    4
    3
    2
    2
    Jennings, C
    CLE
    1
    1
    1
    1
    0
    Mendenhall, R
    PIT
    10
    9
    6
    6
    1
    Lewis, J
    CLE
    5
    3
    2
    2
    1
    Rice, R
    BAL
    10
    7
    6
    4
    1
    Barber, M
    DAL
    12
    4
    2
    1
    0
    Williams, D
    CAR
    9
    8
    5
    3
    1
    Choice, T
    DAL
    2
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Jacobs, B
    NYG
    8
    7
    4
    4
    1
    Jones, F
    DAL
    2
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Turner, M
    ATL
    7
    6
    6
    4
    1
    Buckhalter, C
    DEN
    2
    1
    1
    1
    0
    Portis, C
    WAS
    6
    4
    3
    1
    1
    Moreno, K
    DEN
    11
    9
    8
    4
    0
    Bell, M
    NO
    6
    5
    1
    1
    1
    Morris, M
    DET
    4
    3
    1
    0
    0
    Lewis, J
    CLE
    5
    3
    2
    2
    1
    Smith, K
    DET
    10
    8
    5
    3
    0
    Coffee, G
    SF
    2
    2
    2
    2
    1
    Grant, R
    GB
    11
    11
    9
    7
    2
    Betts, L
    WAS
    2
    1
    1
    1
    1
    Foster, A
    HOU
    2
    2
    2
    1
    0
    Parker, W
    PIT
    2
    1
    1
    1
    1
    Moats, R
    HOU
    3
    2
    1
    1
    0
    Barber, M
    DAL
    12
    4
    2
    1
    0
    Slaton, S
    HOU
    4
    4
    3
    1
    0
    Moreno, K
    DEN
    11
    9
    8
    4
    0
    Addai, J
    IND
    10
    7
    4
    3
    0
    Smith, K
    DET
    10
    8
    5
    3
    0
    Brown, D
    IND
    2
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Addai, J
    IND
    10
    7
    4
    3
    0
    Jones-Drew, M
    JAC
    12
    11
    10
    8
    4
    Tomlinson, L
    SD
    9
    9
    7
    5
    0
    Charles, J
    KC
    8
    7
    6
    4
    2
    Johnson, L
    KC
    7
    7
    6
    4
    0
    Johnson, L
    KC
    7
    7
    6
    4
    0
    Jones, J
    SEA
    7
    4
    3
    1
    0
    Brown, R
    MIA
    6
    5
    4
    3
    0
    Williams, C
    TB
    7
    6
    2
    1
    0
    Williams, R
    MIA
    8
    8
    7
    4
    2
    Maroney, L
    NE
    6
    5
    4
    4
    0
    Peterson, A
    MIN
    13
    11
    11
    8
    5
    Brown, R
    MIA
    6
    5
    4
    3
    0
    Maroney, L
    NE
    6
    5
    4
    4
    0
    Wells, C
    ARI
    6
    3
    0
    0
    0
    Morris, S
    NE
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    McCoy, L
    PHI
    4
    3
    2
    2
    0
    Taylor, F
    NE
    1
    1
    1
    1
    0
    Slaton, S
    HOU
    4
    4
    3
    1
    0
    Bell, M
    NO
    6
    5
    1
    1
    1
    Morris, M
    DET
    4
    3
    1
    0
    0
    Thomas, P
    NO
    4
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Thomas, P
    NO
    4
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Bradshaw, A
    NYG
    3
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Fargas, J
    OAK
    3
    2
    2
    1
    0
    Jacobs, B
    NYG
    8
    7
    4
    4
    1
    Forsett, J
    SEA
    3
    2
    1
    1
    0
    Greene, S
    NYJ
    2
    2
    1
    0
    0
    Moats, R
    HOU
    3
    2
    1
    1
    0
    Jones, T
    NYJ
    14
    12
    12
    11
    4
    Lynch, M
    BUF
    3
    3
    1
    0
    0
    Washington, L
    NYJ
    3
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Bradshaw, A
    NYG
    3
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Bush, M
    OAK
    2
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Hightower, T
    ARI
    3
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Fargas, J
    OAK
    3
    2
    2
    1
    0
    Washington, L
    NYJ
    3
    0
    0
    0
    0
    McFadden, D
    OAK
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Foster, A
    HOU
    2
    2
    2
    1
    0
    McCoy, L
    PHI
    4
    3
    2
    2
    0
    Scott, B
    CIN
    2
    2
    2
    1
    0
    Weaver, L
    PHI
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Buckhalter, C
    DEN
    2
    1
    1
    1
    0
    Mendenhall, R
    PIT
    10
    9
    6
    6
    1
    Greene, S
    NYJ
    2
    2
    1
    0
    0
    Parker, W
    PIT
    2
    1
    1
    1
    1
    Bush, M
    OAK
    2
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Sproles, D
    SD
    1
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Choice, T
    DAL
    2
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Tomlinson, L
    SD
    9
    9
    7
    5
    0
    McGahee, W
    BAL
    2
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Forsett, J
    SEA
    3
    2
    1
    1
    0
    Brown, D
    IND
    2
    0
    0
    0
    0
    James, E
    SEA
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Jones, F
    DAL
    2
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Jones, J
    SEA
    7
    4
    3
    1
    0
    Jennings, C
    CLE
    1
    1
    1
    1
    0
    Coffee, G
    SF
    2
    2
    2
    2
    1
    Taylor, F
    NE
    1
    1
    1
    1
    0
    Gore, F
    SF
    9
    8
    5
    5
    3
    Sproles, D
    SD
    1
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Jackson, S
    STL
    15
    15
    12
    11
    3
    Ward, D
    TB
    1
    1
    1
    0
    0
    Ward, D
    TB
    1
    1
    1
    0
    0
    James, E
    SEA
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Williams, C
    TB
    7
    6
    2
    1
    0
    McFadden, D
    OAK
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Johnson, C
    TEN
    15
    14
    11
    10
    7
    Morris, S
    NE
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Betts, L
    WAS
    2
    1
    1
    1
    1
    Weaver, L
    PHI
    1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    Cartwright, R
    WAS
    1
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Cartwright, R
    WAS
    1
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Ganther, Q
    WAS
    1
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Ganther, Q
    WAS
    1
    0
    0
    0
    0
    Portis, C
    WAS
    6
    4
    3
    1
    1

    What stands out?

    Looking at the table above, Chris Johnson led all RBs with 7 games of 25+ carries in 2009, but look who was 2nd. Cedric Benson. In fact, Benson had only 8 games of 18 carries or more, but six of those games, he had 25 rushes. In other words, if he reached 18 carries, he could go the distance. This suggests that Benson is someone with good stamina, who won't fade at the end of games.

    Another glance shows Steven Jackson had 11 games of 20 carries or more, but only three games of 25+ carries. This suggests either Jackson got tired after reaching 20 carries or the Rams abandoned their running game late in games. The latter seems more logical. Thomas Jones also displayed similar results.

    Ray Rice managed to rank 4th among all RBs in 2009, despite having just one game of 25+ carries. This suggests RBs don't have to be workhorse backs (from a rushing standpoint) to have success. Rice was able to secure a Top 5 rank due to his high receiving numbers (78 recs, 702 yards, 1 TD.

    Fourteen RBs had at least 10 games of 14 carries

  • 15 Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson
  • 14 Thomas Jones
  • 13 Adrian Peterson
  • 12 Cedric Benson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Marion Barber
  • 11 Ryan Grant, Knowshon Moreno
  • 10 Matt Forte, Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Rice, Kevin Smith, Joseph Addai
  • Seven RBs had at least 10 games of 16 carries

  • 15 Steven Jackson
  • 14 Chris Johnson
  • 12 Thomas Jones
  • 11 Adrian Peterson, Cedric Benson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Grant
  • Five RBs had at least 10 games of 18 carries

  • 12 Steven Jackson, Thomas Jones
  • 11 Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson
  • 10 Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Three RBs had at least 10 games of 20 carries

  • 11 Steven Jackson, Thomas Jones
  • 10 Chris Johnson
  • Looking at the stats - Sorted by team

  • Interestingly enough - no Arizona RB had a game with 18 carries or more in 2009. That should change in 2010 when the Cardinals are expected to adopt a more run-friendly offense now that Kurt Warner is out of the picture.
  • Looking at the Panthers RB breakdown between DeAngelo Williams vs. Jonathan Stewart. Williams had more games with 18 carries or more (5 vs. 3), but Stewart had more games of 25+ carries (3 vs. 1)
  • Matt Forte was the only Bears RB with 14 carries or more in a game. That should change in 2010 with the addition of Chester Taylor, but it goes to show, how much confidence the Bears had in Forte.
  • Jerome Harrison had 5 games of 14 carries or more. Incidentally, four of those five games he went on to carry the ball 25 times or more. Despite his relatively small frame - 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, he managed to be a workhorse back for the Browns in four of the five games he was featured.
  • Looking at the 2009 Cowboys running game, Marion Barber led the way, reaching 12 games of 14 carries or more. Nobody else had more than two. Felix Jones has a long way to go stamina-wise if he is going to command the ball more in 2010. Barber is the one with the experience in that department.
  • In Green Bay, Ryan Grant reigned supreme. No other Packers RB had at least 14 carries in a game. In Grant's 11 games of 14 carries or more, seven of those stretched into 20+ carries.
  • Similar to Dallas' running game the Colts were led by Joseph Addai. Donald Brown had just two games of 14 carries or more, while Addai managed ten. Injuries played a role in this case, but Addai still is the favorite to be the team's primary carrier.
  • Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew were far and away their team's workhorse back. Both had very similar numbers when it came to carries per game. Both were very strong up to 18 carries, but they each saw a significant drop off after reaching 20 carries and 25+ carries.
  • Miami's RB tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are both capable 20+ carry RBs. The chances of both getting 20 carries in the same game are not too high, but both are definitely capable.
  • Mike Bell was the only Saints RB to reach 20 carries in a game in 2009 and he only did it once. With Bell in Philadelphia now, the 2010 Saints roster doesn't have anyone who had 20+ carries last year.
  • Looking at the Giants running game in 2009, the carries suggest Jacobs was the workhorse back with four games of 20+ carries. Ahmad Bradshaw never had a 16-carry game and he had only 14 carries three times.
  • The Jets carry numbers really interest me. Thomas Jones led the team in carries and it wasn't close. Jones had 14 games of 14 carries or more. The next closest Jets RB had three games of 14 carries (Leon Washington). With Jones now in Kansas City, all eyes turn to second year pro, Shonn Greene. Greene is expected to take over as the team's primary ball carrier. Can we expect similar numbers from him in 2010? How will LaDainian Tomlinson be used? He had nine games of 14+ carries with the Chargers last year. There could be room for both, but Greene should be the big producer.
  • Someone is going to have to step up in Oakland. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush don't have a history of being a workhorse back. Neither had more than two games of 14 carries in 2009.
  • Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall had 10 games of 14 carries or more. In those 10 games, he managed to reach 20 carries six times. It could be better, but that's not a horrible ratio. It shows he is capable of handling the load when asked to.
  • The word out of Tampa Bay is they are looking to run the ball more in 2010. They had just one RB with 20 carries in a game last year (Cadillac Williams) and only three games when a RB reached 18 carries.
  • Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson were clearly the first and only option at RB for their respective teams in 2009. Nothing has occurred to indicate anything different in 2010.
  • Clinton Portis had six games of 14 carries or more for the Redskins in 2009; however he only turned one of them into a 20+ carry game. Conversely, Larry Johnson had seven games of 14 carries with the Chiefs, turning four of them into 20+ carry games. Might Johnson be the more reliable RB for the Redskins in 2010?
  • Fourteen different teams had a RB reach double-digit games with at least 14 carries in 2009 - STL, TEN, NYJ, MIN, CIN, DAL, JAC, DEN, GB, BAL, CHI, DET, IND and PIT. Only NYJ, CHI, DET and potentially DAL could very likely have a different primary ball carrier in 2010. Shonn Greene, Chester Taylor, Jahvid Best and perhaps Felix Jones could all be big producers compared to last year's stats (with the exception of rookie, Best). Don't necessarily count out LaDainian Tomlinson, Matt Forte, The RB2 from DET (Kevin Smith, Maurice Morris, Aaron Brown), as well as Marion Barber.

    RB Receptions

    In the table below, the left side shows RB receptions in a game, sorted by most games with 9+ receptions. The right side is sorted by team.

    RB Receptions In a Game
    RB Receptions By Team
    Running Back
    Team
    5
    7
    9
    Running Back
    Team
    5
    7
    9
    Johnson, C
    TEN
    3
    2
    2
    Hightower, T
    ARI
    6
    2
    1
    Rice, Ray
    BAL
    9
    4
    1
    Norwood, J
    ATL
    1
    0
    0
    Hightower, T
    ARI
    6
    2
    1
    Rice, Ray
    BAL
    9
    4
    1
    Addai, J
    IND
    5
    2
    1
    Jackson, F
    BUF
    3
    0
    0
    Jackson, S
    STL
    4
    1
    1
    Lynch, M
    BUF
    2
    0
    0
    Hilliard, L
    MIA
    1
    1
    1
    Williams, D
    CAR
    1
    0
    0
    Westbrook, B
    PHI
    1
    1
    1
    Forte, M
    CHI
    5
    1
    0
    Gore, F
    SF
    5
    2
    0
    Leonard, B
    CIN
    1
    0
    0
    Forte, M
    CHI
    5
    1
    0
    Harrison, J
    CLE
    3
    1
    0
    Bush, R
    NO
    4
    1
    0
    Jennings, C
    CLE
    1
    0
    0
    Forsett, J
    SEA
    4
    1
    0
    Choice, T
    DAL
    1
    0
    0
    Slaton, S
    HOU
    4
    1
    0
    Buckhalter, C
    DEN
    2
    0
    0
    Sproles, D
    SD
    4
    1
    0
    Smith, K
    DET
    1
    1
    0
    Thomas, P
    NO
    4
    1
    0
    Morris, M
    DET
    2
    0
    0
    Harrison, J
    CLE
    3
    1
    0
    Jackson, B
    GB
    1
    0
    0
    Taylor, C
    MIN
    3
    1
    0
    Slaton, S
    HOU
    4
    1
    0
    Cartwright, R
    WAS
    2
    1
    0
    Addai, J
    IND
    5
    2
    1
    Charles, J
    KC
    2
    1
    0
    Jones-Drew, M
    JAC
    5
    0
    0
    Smith, K
    DET
    1
    1
    0
    Charles, J
    KC
    2
    1
    0
    Williams, C
    TB
    1
    1
    0
    Savage, D
    KC
    1
    0
    0
    Jones-Drew, M
    JAC
    5
    0
    0
    Hilliard, L
    MIA
    1
    1
    1
    Jackson, F
    BUF
    3
    0
    0
    Williams, R
    MIA
    1
    0
    0
    Jones, J
    SEA
    3
    0
    0
    Taylor, C
    MIN
    3
    1
    0
    Buckhalter, C
    DEN
    2
    0
    0
    Peterson, A
    MIN
    1
    0
    0
    Lynch, M
    BUF
    2
    0
    0
    Faulk, K
    NE
    1
    0
    0
    McCoy, L
    PHI
    2
    0
    0
    Morris, S
    NE
    1
    0
    0
    Morris, M
    DET
    2
    0
    0
    Bush, R
    NO
    4
    1
    0
    Choice, T
    DAL
    1
    0
    0
    Thomas, P
    NO
    4
    1
    0
    Darby, K
    STL
    1
    0
    0
    Russell, G
    OAK
    1
    0
    0
    Faulk, K
    NE
    1
    0
    0
    Westbrook, B
    PHI
    1
    1
    1
    Griffith, J
    SEA
    1
    0
    0
    McCoy, L
    PHI
    2
    0
    0
    Jackson, B
    GB
    1
    0
    0
    Mendenhall, R
    PIT
    1
    0
    0
    Jennings, C
    CLE
    1
    0
    0
    Sproles, D
    SD
    4
    1
    0
    Leonard, B
    CIN
    1
    0
    0
    Forsett, J
    SEA
    4
    1
    0
    Mendenhall, R
    PIT
    1
    0
    0
    Jones, J
    SEA
    3
    0
    0
    Morris, S
    NE
    1
    0
    0
    Griffith, J
    SEA
    1
    0
    0
    Norwood, J
    ATL
    1
    0
    0
    Gore, F
    SF
    5
    2
    0
    Peterson, A
    MIN
    1
    0
    0
    Jackson, S
    STL
    4
    1
    1
    Russell, G
    OAK
    1
    0
    0
    Darby, K
    STL
    1
    0
    0
    Savage, D
    KC
    1
    0
    0
    Williams, C
    TB
    1
    1
    0
    Williams, D
    CAR
    1
    0
    0
    Johnson, C
    TEN
    3
    2
    2
    Williams, R
    MIA
    1
    0
    0
    Cartwright, R
    WAS
    2
    1
    0
  • 42 different RBs had 5 receptions or more in a game in 2009.
  • 20 different RBs had 7 receptions or more in a game in 2009.
  • 7 different RBs had 9 receptions or more in a game in 2009.
  • BUF, CLE, DET, KC, MIA, MIN, NE, NO, PHI, SEA and STL all had two RBs with at least five receptions in a game in 2009.
  • SEA was the only team with three RBs to have at least five receptions in a game.
  • NO was the only team to have two RBs with at least seven receptions in a game.
  • NYJ and NYG - Both teams in the Meadowlands were the only teams that didn't have a RB reach at least five receptions in a game in 2009.
  • A notch below in PPR leagues - Of the 42 RBs who had at least five receptions in a game, several notable RBs stand out as not being included in this list, including Michael Turner, Ryan Grant, Clinton Portis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Bush, Darren McFadden, Laurence Maroney, Knowshon Moreno, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Cedric Benson, Jonathan Stewart and Chris Wells.

    Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com.