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NFL: Two backs or not two backs?

Kevan LeeSenior Analyst IMay 26, 2007

In an article Friday on ESPN.com, senior writer Len Pasquarelli wrote about the end of the two-back system in the NFL

Didn't the two-back system just get here?

The story was about Colts RB Joseph Addai carrying the load alone this year.  Also, New England and Chicago got rid of one head of their two-headed running back monsters from a year ago.  However, I hardly think that the switch of three teams to a more conventional feature back is cause for pre-emptive platoon extinction.

Several of the best teams in the league still have two complimentary players in their backfields.  The Chargers (Tomlinson & Turner), the Saints (McAllister & Bush) and the Cowboys (Jones & Barber) are still two-back believers. 

The death of the two-back system is terribly premature.  In today's NFL, teams need two running backs almost as badly as they need two quality quarterbacks.  The prospect of injury, fatigue and even ineffectiveness all crop up during the year, and having more than one option is vital. 

I think the Colts are making a mistake giving the load to Addai alone.  Ditto the Bears with Cedric Benson.  Counting on a proven running back can be risky nowadays, much less pinning your playoff hopes on two unproven and relatively inexperienced workhorses.

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