Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Positional Primer: Running Back

In a rare turn of events, training camp this year will actually feature a meaningful competition at the running back position. Wes Cates showed up here in 2007 and was firmly entrenched as the starter ever since. Hugh Charles showed up in 2008 and was firmly entrenched as our back-up until he was traded to Edmonton. Stuuuuuu Foord showed up in 2008 as well and was firmly entrenched in the token appearance for standing ovation regardless of how many yards were gained/lost guy. That is pretty much all we have known at the RB position for the better part of 4 years. (Which is kind of depressing).

With all 3 of those guys gone, the competition at RB this year is wide open and should be exciting.... well unless we don’t plan to expand our running plays beyond the “1 yard run up the middle for minimal gain”

Who’s In The Mix: Brandon West, Yvenson Bernard, Kory Sheets, Demetrius Crawford, Louis Rankin, DeShawn Wynn

Projected Starter: You would have to assume its Brandon West’s job to lose but he’s far from a sure thing. He needs to prove that he can be effective as an every down as opposed as a situational/part time return guy. He’s shown flashes but will need to show more to win the role.

Thoughts: I’m not really sure why we are wasting a training camp spot on DeShawn Wynn. Maybe somebody misunderstood when we said we need more wins this season. He will be among the list of cuts it’s just a matter of when. You’d have to think that this is Yvenson Bernard’s last chance too. I think we all liked what he showed in Winnipeg a couple years ago backing up Fred Reid but in the time that’s passed both the Bombers and Alouettes have let him walk and he has failed to garner much playing time while here (and when we did finally let him sneak on the field he fumbled). Obviously something is up. I’m actually surprised he managed to survive the massive roster turnover so far.

That leaves West, Sheets, Crawford and Rankin as the serious contenders for the starter’s role. And if any show a knack for kick returning they stand a chance of sticking around as the back-up.

Prophet’s Player To Watch: Demetrius Crawford

Outlook: Fortunately RB is one of those positions where lack of experience isn’t really a liability. Someone should be able to come and make in impact right away. Plus when you consider that over the past 3 years only Hamilton has less rushing yards than us it’s not like we have much to lose. When you factor in the upgrades along the O-line both in terms of players and coaches, the bottom line is we have very good reason to be excited about our running game this year.


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