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In this year’s playoffs, we have seen several teams incorporate more youthful and energizing running backs to jump-start their offenses.
Bernard Pierce (Ravens), Jacquizz Rodgers (Falcons) and LaMichael James (49ers) have received a lot of run in the postseason. In the case of Rodgers and James, we could be witnessing a changing of the guards.
All aforementioned running backs have looked good thus far and appear headed to getting an increased amount of touches in 2013.
In three games while spelling Ray Rice, Pierce has rushed for 169 yards on 28 carries. While he was not effective in the Broncos’ contest, Pierce has made his presence felt in the offense this postseason. While Rice is the unquestioned lead dog in Baltimore, Pierce is due for more carries in 2013. Pierce is a must-own handcuff for Rice owners.
It’s only a matter of time before Rodgers phases out incumbent Michael Turner in Atlanta. Although Rodgers did not overwhelm in his two playoff games (20 carries for 96 yards), he showed great burst out of the backfield, and his versatility will not be overlooked next year.
Taking nothing away from Frank Gore, who has had a fabulous playoff run, but with him getting up there in age, the 49ers will at some point give more carries to James. James has looked good in Gore’s stead, rushing for 55 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in the playoffs.
You have to take into consideration the return of Kendall Hunter as well. The days of Gore being the 49ers’ workhorse seem numbered.