A very interesting and informative article charting the disappearing bell cow in the NFL and team usage of a single RB.
WHAT OFFENSES ARE COOL WITH FEATURING ONE SINGLE BACK?
The following table denotes what percentage of a team’s games featured them giving any running back 60%, 75% or 90%-plus of the offense’s snaps. Example: The Arizona Cardinals played a running back (usually James Conner) on 90% of their offense’s snaps in an NFL-high 29% of their games this season.
Only the Cardinals, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed any sort of consistent willingness to hand their starting back a near-every-down role. The Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings were also generally willing to feature one single back more weeks than not, but that still leaves the majority of the league in full-on committee mode.
The 2022 findings reflect what I found when looking at each specific play-caller prior to the season: You definitely don’t need more than two hands to count the number of teams willing to give their running back a true workhorse role in the modern NFL.
Think of the workhorse running back like a Quaalude: Probably a lot of fun but ultimately irresponsible and rare in the year 2023.
Had to LOL at Ian’s comparing the workhorse RB to a Quaalude…