It was only a matter of time before the new rules protecting receivers and old rules protecting quarterbacks and the no rules protecting running backs would reshape the face of the NFL.
It's been all the talk today about the 7,000+ yards that were gained through the air this weekend. It's just the natural fallout from the rules that keep defenders from creaming receivers. Why in the world* would anyone bother running a back into a line filled with huge dudes dead set on crushing him when they could spread it out and let the quarterback go to work with an array of weapons.
How many times on Sunday did the running back turn into the outlet receiver? How many times did tight ends make crucial plays? The future of the fantasy game and football in general will be built around slot receivers, tight ends and excellent quarterbacks.
Was I blown away by Reggie Bush? Maybe not, but he's exactly the kind of back that can have a lot of success going forward. Ditto Darren Sproles. Look at LaDanian Tomlinson, one of the most productive runners of all time, he posted passable fantasy numbers playing, for all intents and purposes, a receiver. LDT's rushing yards on Sunday? 16. Receiving yards? 73.
The Old School backs, AP, CJ2K, MJD, Steven Jackson, Rashard Mendenhall and Frank Gore had middling days at best. Of the bruisers only RunDMC, Cedric Benson and Beanie Wells (naturally) got away with running over opponents. LeSean also had a good day rushing, but he also had a receiving TD to pad out the stats.
On the other hand:
Ray Rice - 107 on the ground, 42 in the air plus a receiving TD
Michael Turner - 100, 40 receiving
Matt Forte - 68, 90 receiving w/ a receiving TD
Mike Tolbert - 35, 58 w/ 2 receiving TDs.
Reggie Bush - 38, 56 w/ 2 receiving TDs.
Granted the league I'm basing this on is ppr, but for the most part these guys posted the best running back scores of the day. This could turn out to be an anomaly and I'll look like a dope. But of the 8 games I paid close attention to, only the Raiders bucked the trend successfully. Every other offense seemed to be in some stage of developing this kind of aerial attack.
*Of course not every QB can manage that kind of pace, but I'm guessing in the near future that's what GMs will be looking for.
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