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Thread: NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity

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    Senior Member Array title="polamalubeast has a reputation beyond repute">

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    NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity

    The true value of the NFL running back has been one of the most debated topics this off-season. Holdouts from superstars Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and Melvin Gordon, initiated since last year, are evidence that top running backs in the league believe that they are being undervalued by NFL teams' front offices and potentially by coaching staffs. Those same players have been heavily utilized in the passing game of their teams' offenses as well as the run game.

    So... who is right?
    Is the running back position being undervalued in the modern game by teams based on the role that was formally given to players at that position (to carry the ball), or is there more to it? And how might that impact the Steelers moving forward?

    The key may lay in how Pittsburgh, and other NFL teams, use their running backs outside of the offensive backfield

    The short answer is the role of running backs in driving wins likely is undervalued, but there is a catch. The impact of modern NFL running backs on team and offensive success is mostly an outcome of the receiving production they create, not run production. The days of utilizing running backs singularly to gain yards, and touchdowns, on the ground are likely over. Note that the top three teams at the end of last year also had the highest percentage of passing targets to running backs in the NFL, namely the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Los Angeles Rams. The team that most frequently targeted their running backs (31% of all passing targets), the Patriots, also happened to win that game at the start of February every year. What's that called again? Oh, that's right, the Super Bowl.

    Need more convincing? Then consider that running backs with the three highest DYAR in 2018 (defensive adjusted yards above replacement) for receiving yards (with a minimum of 25 passes), a stat that calculates running back receiving yards compared to yards from replacements while adjusting for the quality of the defense, were Kareem Hunt (198, Kansas City Chiefs), Alvin Kamara (197, Saints), and James White (194, Patriots). Again, we see three of the final four teams in last years playoffs represented.

    The importance of receiving productivity from running backs makes sense given the increasingly pass-heavy NFL. A reliable passing game to running backs that provide high-percentage receptions can offset over-zealous blitzing and spreads out defensive coverage - which provides more space and favorable matchups for other targets like wideouts, tight ends, and slot receivers.

    How does this affect the Steelers?
    Well, the good news is Pittsburgh's James Conner was a respectable ninth place in DYAR for individual backs in that same category (minimum of 25 passes) during the 2018-2019 NFL season. The bad news? The Steelers targeted their running backs the fourth-fewest times in the league last season in a period where four of the bottom five teams missed last year's playoffs. Conner's DYAR was 112. Jaylen Samuels' DYAR was 79 (ranked 14th).

    The Houston Texans were the one outlier, and they lost in the first round of the playoffs.

    ......



    Regardless of the options available versus what is chosen by Pittsburgh and other NFL teams, in the end, receiving productivity of running backs alongside a healthy mix of running out of the backfield may be the key offensive X factor for the foreseeable future.

    In my humble opinion, productivity out of the backfield should substantially improve the Steelers' 2019 offense. Apparently, given recent comments by Roethlisberger and Fichtner, the Steelers agree. A highly successful effort to involve the Steelers running backs in the passing game would mean Steelers fans should get ready to watch a merry, long season and a deep playoff run in 2019-20.

    read more

    https://www.steelcityunderground.com...eceiving-2019/

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    Senior Member Array title="Mojouw has a reputation beyond repute"> Mojouw's Avatar

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    Re: NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity

    Nuh uh! Run the ball more. Lose less game. Everyone knows this! FOOTBALL!!!

    Actually, this is a really cool article -- thanks for posting it. The approach the 2019 offense takes will be interesting to see. I suspect that it will need to be divided into thirds.

    1. Establishing non-Juju options during the first several games where teams simply plan on taking Juju away and making other guys beat them.
    2. Getting Juju more involved as teams shift to covering whoever emerges alongside Juju as a viable offensive threat.
    3. Deploying the offense in its final form where Juju and several other players are relatively equally featured forcing defenses to make a series of bad decisions.

    So I think it will start slow, pick up a bit, but really get rolling later in the year. Of course then it gets cold and who knows...

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    Re: NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojouw View Post
    Nuh uh! Run the ball more. Lose less game. Everyone knows this! FOOTBALL!!!

    Actually, this is a really cool article -- thanks for posting it. The approach the 2019 offense takes will be interesting to see. I suspect that it will need to be divided into thirds.

    1. Establishing non-Juju options during the first several games where teams simply plan on taking Juju away and making other guys beat them.
    2. Getting Juju more involved as teams shift to covering whoever emerges alongside Juju as a viable offensive threat.
    3. Deploying the offense in its final form where Juju and several other players are relatively equally featured forcing defenses to make a series of bad decisions.

    So I think it will start slow, pick up a bit, but really get rolling later in the year. Of course then it gets cold and who knows...
    I think your point 1 is what will happen early in the season especially if it's the strategy of the opponents

    We must not forget Vance McDonald in our passing game too.

    I think we have a lot of talent and potential around JuJu for weapons and I think this group could be deep, but they'll need to prove that on the field when it's going to count ... I think it'll happen but they need to prove that.

    Even Ben said with Chris Simms that He Has To Spread The Ball Around

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/be...e-ball-around/



    The steelers are not stupid, they know that it is likely that the opponents will pay a lot of attention at JuJu and I saw on a article the other time that the steelers prepare JuJu on any possible scenario, so I think that the steelers are going to be ready for that.Just need the other weapons to step up

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    Inconsiderate S.O.B. Array title="steelreserve has a reputation beyond repute"> steelreserve's Avatar

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    Re: NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity

    This was a very interesting take, much better than the standard "running back X is better/worse than running back Y, and all running backs are basically the same and stats are everything."

    To expound upon that one step further, I don't think it's just about how often we target the RB in the offensive scheme. It has a lot to do with the kind of RB also.

    Like - a back who is either elusive or breaks a lot of tackles seems to make a good receiver, because most of the passes are short ones, which the RB can then turn into basically a running play without any linemen.

    Bell was good at this because he could make people miss and/or run them over; he could make plays in space one-on-one. Same for RBs like Roger Craig or Ladainian Tomlinson. A guy like Parker was horrible at it because he could not neither fake people out nor break tackles. Conner is somewhere in between. Samuels, like Mewelde Moore, is probably great at both of those things, but not a strong enough runner to be on the field every down without telegraphing our intentions.

    Anyway, I think there is a personnel hit that we took by going from Bell to Conner there. BUT, many of those yards and receptions are similar to what you can get out of the TE or slot WR position too, so really for Bell's $14.5 million, you were actuay gaining an extra hundred yards or two, and shifting 500 yards and 40-50 receptions from someone else to Bell.
    An empty victory is a victory nonetheless.

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    Re: NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity

    Another reason to continue to pass often even on first down and 10...The holding penalties on the running play...


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    Re: NFL, Steelers Running Back Valuation Shifting with Uptick in Receiving vs Rushing Productivity


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