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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Running for Daylight

The 1,000 yard season has always been the benchmark for determining a running backs production. Most NFL fans realize that number was difficult to reach in the old 12 or 14 game seasons. But in a 16 game season, it appears as though there are alot of average backs who reach 1,000 yards. A 62.5 yards per game average will catapult a RB to this old benchmark. That hardly seems special in my eyes. So what should the new benchmark be? How many yards does a RB need to rush for to be consider above average?

I put together a small study of the top 30 backs in each of the last 2 seasons. Here's what I found.

The top 30 statistical backs in 2003 and 2004 have rushed for 68,692 yards on 15,901 carries. That comes out to 4.32 yards per carry and an average of 16.56 carries per game. Multiply those two numbers together and you get 71.5 yards per game, which would be 1,144 rushing yards over the course of the entire 16 game season.

If a RB remains injury free and recieves at least 16 carries per game (which 90% of number one backs do) he should rush for 1,144 yards to be considered average.

Obviously, this is no in depth Bill James type study. There are many other factors that could be plugged in to find out who the best running backs are. My purpose was just to establish a rough idea of what the new benchmark for yards in a season should be. The above numbers are enough for me. I'm setting my new benchmark at 1,150.

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