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The End Zone - Week 9


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The End Zone

Hello and welcome to another edition of everyone’s favourite NFL newsletter, The End Zone. And before anyone asks, I had the name before Kevin Cadle and Sky! This week I will be looking at the Running Back position, along with the usual game feature, results round up and preview of next week. Jets Talkin’ also makes a welcome return to The End Zone this week, but let’s kick things off with the Position Profile.


The Position Profile

The running back is a player who basically runs the ball on a play. There are two types of running back, the Fullback and the Halfback/Tailback. The backs line up behind the quarterback on most plays, and actually lining up either side of the QB when in the Shotgun formation.


The Fullback actually only carries the ball on rare occasions, with their primary duty being to lead the halfback on a play and attempt to block potential tacklers. When the fullback does get the call it’s usually for short bursts up the middle rather than a lengthy run that you may see from a halfback. As I mentioned the fullback is used sparingly, and will not line up for every play, as most teams now use an extra wide receiver or tight end on plays. There was a time in previous years when the fullback would have just as many carries as the halfback, with them both being used fairly often, however the reliance on the halfback and the need for increased passing options has filtered them out.

The Halfback/Tailback is the primary running back on the team, and the position is viewed as one of the more glamorous on the field. The halfback will get all the credit on a successful play that he makes, whereas receivers share the credit with the QB. He is responsible for carrying the ball on the majority of the running plays, and he can also be used as a receiver on short passing plays, sometimes even lining up as an additional wide receiver rather than a back. However on the occasions where neither of those two objectives are being served, the primary function for a running back is to aid the offensive linemen in blocking in an attempt to protect the quarterback.


There is a lot of variation in the type of player at the running back position, with a primary example being the size difference between many backs. At one end of the spectrum you have the lighter, agile running backs known as “speed backs”. These are guys like Warwick Dunn who, at 5ft 8in and 185lb, is relatively small for a football player. Dunn and other “speed backs” rely on their speed and agility to evade defenders and gain yards. At the other end you have the guys known as “power backs”, the guys who rely on their strength and size to power through opposing defences. One of the best examples of a power back is “The Bus” Jerome Bettis, who at almost 260lb can demolish defences with sheer brute force and determination. Of course it’s not just about running. You may recall that I earlier mentioned about running backs lining up as receivers on some plays, well having a versatile back who can catch passes effectively has become commonplace recently in the NFL. The best example of a running back who is also a successful receiver is LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers, and his 2003 season stats highlight his talents. Over that season Tomlinson rushed for 1,645 yards and also caught 100 passes for 725 yards, giving him 2,370 yards in total from the line of scrimmage. He also became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in a single season.


Hopefully the previous rambling has helped you the reader understand that little bit more about the position of running back as part of the NFL team, and as you can tell there is a little bit more to it than just running!


Week 9 round up

We got things under way on Sunday with the Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) pulling off a 27-23 victory over the Oakland Raiders (3-5), followed by the Jaguars (5-3) grabbing a 21-14 victory over the struggling Texans (1-7) and the Browns (3-5) scoring a 20-14 victory over the Titans. The Bengals (7-2) continued to dominate games as they earned a 21-9 victory over the Ravens (2-6), whilst the Jake Delhomme-led Panthers (6-2) managed a 34-14 win over the Buccaneers (5-3). The New York Jets (2-6) returned from their bye week to lose 31-26 to the San Diego Chargers (5-4), Minnesota (3-5) earned their third win of the season as they beat Detroit (3-5) 27-14, and the Falcons (6-2) returned from their week off to earn a 17-10 victory over the Dolphins (3-5). The New York Giants (6-2) added another win to their record with a 24-6 demolition of the San Francisco 49ers (2-6), Seattle (6-2) added more misery to Arizona’s (2-6) season with a 33-19 victory, whilst Chicago (5-3) overturned New Orleans (2-7) by 20 points to 17. Green Bay (1-7) continued their poor season as they fell 20-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2), and to round the day’s action off the Washington Redskins (5-3) pulled off a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-4). On Monday Night in what some called their first real game of the season the Indianapolis Colts (8-0) preserved their 100% record with a 40-21 pounding of the New England Patriots (4-4).


Game Feature

This week the Seattle Seahawks took on the struggling Arizona Cardinals, and whilst Seattle are putting in a fairly decent run, the Cardinals have not been able to put it together offensively on a consistent basis. Could the Cardinals turn things around with a victory here or would the Seahawks condemn them to another defeat?


Arizona got the game under way with quarterback Kurt Warner completing his first four passes for forty yards, leading the team to the Seattle 12. Shipp couldn’t break through the tough red-zone defence of the Seahawks though, forcing the Cardinals to settle for an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 23 yard field goal. Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle offence then took to the field, relying on Shaun Alexander’s 35 rushing yards to get them within scoring range. A false start penalty halted their touchdown drive, forcing them to kick a 26 yard field goal which tied the game with less than a minute remaining in the quarter. Warner’s first pass of the possession was picked off, allowing the Seattle offence to regain the ball as the period ended.


A 19-yard burst from Alexander put Seattle at the Arizona 14, and two plays later he looked to have got them to the 2 yard line. However the Cardinals successfully challenged the play and it was brought back to the 4 yard line. It was merely a delay to the inevitable really though as Hasselbeck immediately found Jurevicius in the end zone for a 4 yard touchdown. The point after gave the Seahawks a 10-3 lead. Arizona looked to rebound quickly, and were led by Warner’s 38 passing yards and Arrington’s 18 rushing yards to get within scoring range. Kurt was then sacked shortly after, halting the drive and forcing a field goal, bringing the Cardinals to within 4. With 6 minutes remaining the Seahawks took possession, but after a couple of incomplete passes were forced to punt. Arizona though were unable to capitalise on the possession, having to punt with just under a minute remaining in the half. Hasselbeck completed a 46-yard pass straight away, and followed that with what looked to be a 13-yard touchdown pass. However again the Cardinals successfully challenged the play and brought the ball back a yard. However a delay was all it caused as Hasselbeck ran in for the score. Arizona had one more possession before the half but failed to make any use of it and went into the break down 17-6.


If you think the game had been a little one sided so far, then the next play would have emphasised it. On the first play of the quarter Shaun Alexander burst out for 88 yards, going all the way into the end zone for a touchdown. Most teams would be out of it at 24-6, but the Cardinals were not giving up as they overcame an offensive holding call to move to the Seattle 32. From there a long 50 yard field goal was hit, giving Arizona a glimmer of hope at 24-9. Their defence also gave them a boost on the next drive as they forced a Seattle three and out, but it was rendered useless as Warner threw another interception on the first play of their next drive. The Seahawks made use of the great field position, and were able to convert a 27-yard field goal. Before the quarter drew to a close Warner found some passing accuracy and moved the Cardinals to the Seattle 6, from where he found Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown, making it 27-16 in the Seahawks favour.


Seattle fell to a three and out as the final period began, and the Cardinals looked to capitalise as Warner connected with Edwards for a 79 yard score. However an illegal blocking penalty was called on Arizona, nullifying the touchdown and limiting them to a field goal. With 12 minutes remaining the Seahawks regained possession, and a good series of running the ball would make it a lot easier to win the game at this stage. Using 6 minutes to move into field goal range from their own 7-yard line, Seattle then had Alexander run through the middle for a 14-yard touchdown. The point after was blocked and the Seahawks led 33-19. Kurt and the Cardinals had no time to waste, but they tried to many times on fourth down and Kurt ended up throwing an interception. Seattle couldn’t move on their possession, giving the Cardinals one last chance to put some points on the board. However the offence faltered again as they allowed Warner to be sacked, from which he fumbled and turned the ball over. A couple of kneels from Hasselbeck ended the game.


An excellent showing from Seattle there, demonstrating good passing and rushing abilities to come away with a 33-19 victory. Arizona cant rely on veteran Kurt Warner as he is getting old, and really the whole team needs a kick up the backside if they are to salvage anything from this season.


Week 10 Preview

To begin the action this weekend Arizona will take on Detroit, Jacksonville will host Baltimore, the Colts will face off against the Texans, and Buffalo will host Kansas City. The New York Giants look to continue their good run as they face the Minnesota Vikings, New England take on division rival Miami, Chicago host San Francisco and Denver face off against Oakland. The New York Jets look to gain only their third victory of the season at Carolina, Atlanta will host the struggling Green Bay Packers, and the St Louis Rams return from their week off to take on the Seattle Seahawks. To finish off the Sunday games we have Washington taking on Tampa Bay and Cleveland facing Pittsburgh. On Monday Night Football the Philadelphia Eagles will host the Dallas Cowboys.


Jets Talkin’

After an uneventful bye week as expected, let’s get straight into Sunday nights game against the San Diego Chargers. Vinny again started for the guys in Green, but he didn’t have a very good game. The whole thing got off to a bad start as during the first quarter LaDainian Tomlinson managed to register a rushing and a receiving touchdown to give the Chargers a 14-0 lead. Luckily for us on the first play of the second quarter Curtis Martin ran in for a 1 yard touchdown, making him only the 16th player in NFL history to score 100 touchdowns. The hope didn’t last for long though as Tomlinson was able to run in for another touchdown before the half, putting the score at 21-7. Rookie Mike Nugent closed out the second quarter with a 35 yard field goal, then opened the scoring in the third quarter with a 22 yard field goal to reduce the Chargers lead to 8 at 21-13. San Diego was not going to let the game slip away though, as Tomlinson again ran in for a touchdown to extend their lead. Testaverde went down injured during the third quarter, and Herm was forced to bring in Brooks Bollinger at quarterback. What a difference Brooks made, as he went 11 of 20 for 106 yards, leading the Jets to two fourth quarter touchdowns either side of a Chargers field goal to make it a close game. The last time we faced San Diego the game was decided by a last minute score in overtime, and this time around the Jets had a chance to win again, as Brooks led the team forward into scoring range. However on 4th and goal a pass to Justin McCareins was tipped, thus condemning the Jets to a 31-26 loss.


Some injury news now from that agonising loss, tight end Chris Baker broke his ankle during the game and will now be out for the rest of the season. Veteran wide receiver Wayne Chrebet suffered his 9th concussion of his college and pro career, which could end his playing career for good. That many hits are not good for anyone, and for his own safety it may be advisable that he hang up his pads now. Obviously it will be a tough decision for Wayne, as he has been an important part of the Jets franchise for some time now.


Next week we will travel to Carolina to face off against the Panthers, and the big news for this game is that Brooks Bollinger has been named as the starter. Brooks proved that he can handle himself in tough situations as he brought the team back this past Sunday, but it will be a big test this week.


Wrap Up

Indianapolis cannot be stopped at the moment! They dominated the demoralised and battered Patriots on Monday night in what many people called the Colts first real test of the season. That Superbowl place is looking closer and closer, however over in the NFC last years contenders Philadelphia have been encountering a few personnel problems of late. Terrell Owens, without a doubt one of the best receivers in the league, was last week suspended for the rest of the season due to his antics on and off the field. He issued an apology yesterday, but the Eagles are not commenting on the issue at present. Next week will be just as good as we move into the second half of the season. This is the time when things start to really heat up! The pass has been thrown, will catch it next week, in The End Zone?

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TO's a jerk. I'm not surprised that no other team wants him.

Thats where your wrong fella, it seems as though those people over in Oakland love controversey so much (what with Randy Moss there already) that they are actively looking at signing TO if the Eagles cut him from the team, at the moment he is just serving a suspension, but the Raiders will gladly snap him up. He may have an attitude problem, but no matter what he is still a top reciever.

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I was basing that on what Mike Carlson said on Five, so it's his fault :P.


I'd never doubt his talent for a second, but what's the likelyhood of him pulling a stunt like this again? Quite high, I'd expect.


Also just signed up for the Fantasy thing. It'll be interesting to see how I do with my increasing knowledge :P.

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I'd never doubt his talent for a second, but what's the likelyhood of him pulling a stunt like this again? Quite high, I'd expect.

Oh yeah, but thats TO, he is a superb player but has the attitude of a right ****. The Eagles knew that when they signed him, as he hadnt exactly been a choirboy with the Niners. They knew exactly what they were getting so i have no sympathy for them in that respect. To be honest, every team knows exactly what he is like, and that is why Oakland want to sign the guy. They love controversey, and always will.


Owens will cause trouble wherever he goes, but thats the risk teams take when signing the guy.

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